Instead of knowing little more about our country’s history than what can be found in school books and what other people have said, retirement has provided time to read things for myself. It turns out that those efforts to satisfy personal curiosity have led to an understanding of Thomas Jefferson’s warning:
“A nation that expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of society, expects what never was and never will be”…. By ignorance, of course, he meant the absence of knowledge.
Please allow the offering of an example that has an application to current events.
As most are probably aware, folks with certain spiritual persuasions are often vociferously reminded that public expressions of those beliefs must be constrained in the public square and definitely withheld from the minds of our youth in their public education.
Now let’s suppose that a public official was invited to present an address of a historical nature to the school children of our county, and his speech included these statements:
“Every step by which the people of the British colonies became an independent nation seems to have been aided by an invisible supernatural hand. No people can be bound to acknowledge and love the power of God more than those of the United States.Of all the things which support a successful government, religion and morality are indispensable. We must be very cautious when we are tempted to believe that morality can be maintained without religion. Both reason and experience forbid the expectation that there can be national morality without religious principle.”
If such remarks were delivered to our children, or presented in the classroom, we may rest assured that, by and by, some strong public complaints would be forthcoming. However, should we tamely comply with those objections, there would arise another problem.
We would be confronted with the task of scrubbing from historical records George Washington’s First Inaugural Address and his Farewell Address to the Nation.
(Minor grammatical adjustments have been made to the preceding quotations in order to give the appearance of emanating from the thoughts of an old retired coach.)