by L. J. Martin
Are Sundays good for America and Americans?
In this day of relegating religion to the back burner or worse to no burner at all, it’s appropriate to look back upon what we’re missing. What’s the value of a Sunday in church, or temple, or a synagog or other religion Saturday; in addition to an attempt at cleansing one’s soul?
A Sunday (or other day) gathering of friends and those who somewhat think alike has not been replaced in any form, unless, of course, you consider Friday or Saturday night in the local bar, or your bridge club, or poker party. Most of those gatherings have a less admirable motive, and often as not a less admirable result than Sundays in church.
It’s my belief that carrying grudges is bad for one’s health. That frowning is bad for one’s health. And conversely that renewing friendships almost always results in smiling, and happiness, and certainly better mental health and a resulting improvement in physical health, as most certainly the two are co-dependent. And Sundays in church were such a gathering, a time for extended hands. Even if you had a grudge to settle with another, Sundays in church brought you together with some common interest, and would, more than likely motivate you to extend your hand, and by doing so, settle most grudges. Sundays were a day not only to worship together, but to come together weekly and form a cohesive group. A day, a time, to start anew, for renewal of your identity as a tribe, if you will. I’m only an occasional church goer, but have never had a bad day in church…even when getting chewed for not attending regularly. Sundays were good for one’s health.
Your financial well often resulted from an interaction with those who extended a helping hand, if only in the way of trade with each other during the balance of the week; trade with others whom one trusted as a result of seeing the weekly renewal of belief in doing unto others as one would have others do unto you. Otherwise, honest and moral interaction. Sundays were good for one’s business.
And speaking of morals, we are all a sum of our experiences, and one would assume that experiences in Sunday church might just be more valuable as example setting, particularly for youth, than those in most other social gatherings. Our young people are certainly not getting those examples in that other weekday gathering…in most schools in the country, which have excluded all references to God, church, and consequently to morals. There’s no question in my mind that without a constitutional amendment that any reference to God, including that in the Pledge of Allegiance, will be driven from our schools. Morals, as a result of the teaching of our schools, will flitter away as surely as have penmanship and the three “R’s”. Sundays were certainly good for one’s morals.
So what have we lost as the country moves away from religion, and from those weekly Sunday gatherings, the weekly interaction with friends, and yes, with those who need to renew friendships?
I fear that we’ve lost the cohesiveness of tribe, of interdependence, and eventually of country.
And it’s been compounded by not only our failure to interact religiously, but in areas as basic as language. Language in this country was always a commonality that brought us together. No matter from where one originated, one learned to speak English so one could interact with other Americans, now we’ve allowed that to be undermined by bilingual classrooms and ballots. We allowed another wedge to be driven between us in the guise of so called political correctness. Sundays and all other days are days for interaction, that a common language allows.
We need a constitutional amendment to reaffirm that this is a country of religion, is English speaking, and was founded as such, and that a moment of silent interdenominational prayer at a football game does not destroy the separation of church and state. In many ways, it reaffirms that basic tenant of American government; and just as our forefathers didn’t want a state religion (Anglican), prayer is a commonality of all religions, and a moment of prayer does not insult the state but rather reaffirms us as a people who are as diverse as our religions, including those with no religion. Those with no religion can be silent for 30 seconds upon occasion if for no other reason than to respect the beliefs of others, be it Sunday or Friday night high school football.
I’m thrilled to see a menorah, or a nativity scene, or any other reference to religion in any public venue, including public buildings and public gatherings, and to be told Felice Navadad, so long as the speaker or displayer understands that Merry Christmas is as common to all of us as is Hanukah or whatever one believes, so long as that belief stems from do unto others, and almost all religions do. And be it on Sunday or any day of the week.
And Sundays or any day which involves a gathering for moral reasons is good for America and Americans.
Merry Christmas, and yes, Happy Holidays. And happy and productive Sundays.
L. J. Martin is the author of 28 published works and dozens of articles in national publications. He is the author of the conservative blog http://fromthepeapatch.com, with millons of annual hits. His wife is the author of over 55 works of fiction and is an NYT bestselling, internationally published novelist. The Martin’s live in Montana and winter in California. For more see www.ljmartin.com.