Have you ever heard of McGuffey’s Readers? There was a time when these books were the most popular and widely used textbooks for schools in America. In fact, between 1836 and 1960, at least 120 million copies of McGuffey’s Readers were sold, putting them in a category with the Bible and Webster’s Dictionary in terms of sales. Since 1961, they have continued to sell at an average rate of 30,000 copies a year, but they are no longer found in government school systems.
If you were to read one of McGuffey’s Readers, you might be surprised by the moral and spiritual content of the material. The reason you might be surprised is because you might not be aware that such teaching was ever allowed in government schools. The modern humanist culture and popular media would prefer that we all forget America’s Christian heritage and embrace new pluralism. They would prefer that we forget that the nation was once stronger and safer when Christian morality was taught in government schools. Of course, the prohibition of such teaching is the reason for the demise of McGuffey’s Readers, and it is also a reason for the moral demise of our nation.
Consider an excerpt from McGuffey’s Third Eclectic Reader, which was first published in 1879. This is a list entitled “Things to Remember.” Notice that most principles in this list are taken straight from the Bible.
I offer this to you as a sample of what our nation has lost. Today, teaching from material such as this in government schools is considered to be a violation of the principle of separation of church and state, which is a principle that has been purposefully misinterpreted in an attempt to eliminate God from American culture. By eliminating Christian morality from schools and neglecting to teach it sufficiently in homes and churches, we have in turn promoted the cause of ungodliness throughout our nation. Now we are harvesting the fruit of our folly with a bumper crop of wickedness in the forms of blasphemy, promiscuity, homosexuality, divorce, abortion, pornography, drunkenness, violence, greed, laziness, etc.
It is sad to me that McGuffey’s Readers and the moral teaching that they represent are now relics of our nation’s past. As a nation, we have decided that we no longer want Christian values to be propagated in our culture, and we consider it to be a violation of our liberty to have them taught in our schools. This is sad to me because it means that the nation has turned from God, and without Him, we cannot stand. No matter what modern philosophies may teach us, nothing can nullify this truth of God’s word: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Prov. 14:34). What a sad truth this is for a nation that has rejected righteousness in favor of sin.
Stacey E. Durham
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