(An open reply to the Huffington Post and Freedom From Religion Foundation)
Tuesday, July 30th 2013, the Huffington Post published an article entitled, “Kentucky School Prayer Petition Links Prayer Ban With AIDS Epidemic.” It caught my attention instantly. Here was yet another media source throwing punches at religious liberty. The article discussed how, “a conservative religious group, (The American Family Association of Kentucky)… recently linked the Supreme Court’s 1962 ban on school prayer to the AIDS crisis, falling SAT scores and the rise of teen pregnancy rates.” Really, the group is not far off in its claim at all. In fact, they are spot on. So what is all the fuss about? Here is an excerpt from the article:
“…a fundamentalist Christian nonprofit that says its mission is to ‘oppose the barriers to the flow of God’s love to all people’ – asked its members to sign a petition last week pushing for the legalization of prayer in local public schools. The petition states that after the removal of prayer from public schools, teen pregnancy and violent crime rates spiked 500 percent, instances of STDs increased 226 percent and SAT scores plummeted for 18 consecutive years. Taken together, the petition said, these conditions “open[ed] the door for the AIDS epidemic and the drug culture.”
The article goes on to quote Rebecca Market, an attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, saying in response to the claims made about the decline in SAT scores and spike in teen pregnancy, “The American Family Association of Kentucky doesn’t cite to any authority backing up these statistics.” [Read the full article here].
After I read the article, then read and reread the statements by Ms. Market, I wanted to respond, not just to her but to all who have read this article. While the group may not cite any ‘authority’ to support its claims, evidence is there. The truth is, the climbs and descents in the stats do start in 1962-1963. I would take it a step further though. These statistics are not only a result of the banning of prayer in school but also a direct outcome of inserting the theory of evolution into textbooks in 1963. So, within this brief period of time, not only did we ban God, but we replaced him with a man-made theory. I know, I know. Where is the proof, right? In a study done by Educational Research Analysts, the numbers show that from 1950-1960 our textbooks only mentioned evolution in 2-3,000 words. In 1961, it increased to 26,918 words and in 1963 rose again to 33,089 words! The move away from God toward a theoretical replacement is obvious. Still wondering if this had any effect on the trending moral decline of our nation?
If you recall, The American Family Association of Kentucky stated that the prayer ban was also a catalyst in the rise of teen pregnancies. Ms. Market would claim that there is no “cite[d] authority” for this claim. What about Department of Health and Human Resources and Statistical Abstracts of the United States, whose study shows since 1963 birth rates have gone up 200%. Read carefully. I said birth rates, I did not say pregnancies. However, in that same study we find pregnancies have gone up, 553%. Oh, I failed to mention, this study included only unwed girls ages 15-19. The 353% difference is troubling, at least to me. This incredible discrepancy between the number of pregnancies and the number of births is a direct consequence of the Supreme Court decision made in Roe v. Wade to allow abortion as the law of the land. The percentage difference is a true testament to the moral decline and heart condition of our nation.
However, pregnancies were not the only spike as a result of sexual activity among teens. A study by The Center for Disease Control and Department of Human Resources, shows that Gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease (STD), went up after 1963 by 385% among girls ages 10-14! Ms. Market can form any opinion she wants, what she cannot form for herself however, are the facts.
What about the claim of an 18 year SAT score decline? From all the data collected concerning this very statement, we can conclude it is also true. The College Entrance Exam Board, shows a clear 18 year decline in SAT scores after 1963. We bottom out then climb then decline again, why? Well it is not because students are getting smarter; the test has to be modified and curved for average. In fact, we could note that even in our recent history we have hit record lows in testing. On September 4, 2011 the Associated Press (AP) reported, “SAT Reading Scores Fall to the Lowest on Record,” citing The College Entrance Exam Board.
The effect of the removal of God from our textbooks and classrooms is evident in the moral decline in our society and culture; it is not hypothetical. The statistics show a drastic shift in our way of life, and if we do not take a stand like The American Family Association of Kentucky has, we may lose our nation entirely. Abraham Lincoln warned, “The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.” We are living proof of that today. Can we fix it? Will we fix? How do we fix it? There is only one way. If this started when we pushed God out, we fix it by putting God back in! God was once the focus of our nation and I am convinced it is for that reason and that reason alone we prospered; and until we get back to that focus we will remain as Israelites wandering in the wilderness.
A special thanks to Dr. Brad Harrub and Focus Press for helping with the statistics and research.