As a small-town newspaper reporter who often covers local government and crime stories, it’s not every day that I get to write about something truly uplifting — but Thursday was one of those days.
Around noontime on what was a dark, dreary day weather-wise, people packed into the council chambers of the Mount Airy Municipal Building for a local observance of the National Day of Prayer which proved to be enlightening.
It was good to see community members of all walks of life join together for a program that highlighted the power of prayer – and perhaps more importantly, the critical need for it today in an increasingly decadent society.
Speakers talked about the important role prayer has played in the United States since the country was founded and how prayer has helped it through many crises since. Other activities on Thursday’s program, such as the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the national anthem and “God Bless America,” highlighted the patriotic aspects of this.
But probably the most uplifting part of Thursday’s Day of Prayer event here was the mere fact that citizens are still allowed to gather in such a way at all – given everything that’s been going on in the country recently and the direction it is headed.
What I took away from the occasion was that America is in such a state of decline that we need to get back to prayer and the biblical teachings that are at its foundation if we have any possibility of reversing the situation.
I would have to question the intelligence or integrity of anyone who believes the United States is doing well at this point in its history. One needn’t look far to see the ravages of political corruption, drug abuse, corporate greed, job losses, the decline of the middle class, mental illness and many other ills that people in power don’t seem motivated or equipped to address.
Yet the problem also runs much deeper than that when you consider the moral decay that is accompanying those problems, and likely is at the root of many of them.
Speakers at Thursday’s local event and elsewhere lamented the redefinition of biblical wedlock by the U.S. Supreme Court and its sanction of same-sex marriage. Also cited were ill-conceived attempts at “social justice,” such as the city of Charlotte’s ridiculous restroom law that state officials thankfully overturned in the face of much unfounded criticism by the ever-strident Liberal Mafia.
Those events had happened since the last National Day of Prayer was observed in May 2015, and the local Day of Prayer gathering and others around the nation seemed to be a universal occasion for those on the other side of the issue to be vocal for a change.
“Everybody else is coming out of the closet, we might as well come out, too,” said Tony Evans, a Dallas pastor and broadcaster who spoke at a National Day of Prayer program on Capitol Hill in Washington.
And thank God (truly) that Americans can still exercise their right to free speech and say such things without being drowned out by the Liberal Mafia using its favorite tactic of shouting down the opposition and labeling it as stupid, evil or politically incorrect.
Comments at Thursday’s event in Mount Airy also focused on how what’s happening today is deviating from the principles and freedoms this nation was founded upon in the first place.
This includes the fact that God or any mention of Him has pretty much been banned from public schools. At the same time schools increasingly have become venues for violence and at the very least, places where discipline generally is absent and chaos reigns because teachers are afraid to respond.
And if things go the way they have been, I wonder how long it will be before prayer is outlawed and Christianity condemned by the state as it was in Nazi Germany during the 1930s. Or if we feel the wrath of God that some believe is overdue.
Thursday’s National Day of Prayer service did offer a message of hope along with indictments of our society, with the parable of the Prodigal Son used to illustrate this. Just as he mended his ways and returned to the fold, the country itself can do so by resurrecting its core principles and fighting against “social injustices” that have been victimizing the faith community and defenders of freedom.
And as for prayer itself, I don’t see where it hurts anything at all.
Tom Joyce is a staff writer for The Mount Airy News. He may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.