Knowing Our History

2020  Week of August 10 | Radio Transcript #1372  (originally aired July 22, 2019)

Author George Orwell opined that “[t]he most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

Orwell’s statement should give us serious pause. Are we being effectively destroyed because we have either been denied the truth about our American history or that history has been essentially obliterated by our educational system and our media or both? Are the current generations prepared to pass a brightly lit torch of liberty on to those coming behind them?

America’s history is not all good, grand and glorious. Those seeking to be faithful and truthful in talking about and teaching our history can ill afford to acknowledge that truth. Slavery was an abomination. Our treatment of Native Americans was too often wrong, marked by violence and greed. Assassinations of presidents and other high-profile leaders, riots, and political graft and corruption in high places are vivid reminders that America hasn’t always gotten it right, has not always reflected good morality and ethics in our national life.

However, our negatives are not the sum total of our history. Today, too many want us to believe the ugly parts of our national history consummately define us. Revisionist historians have no qualms about misrepresenting, omitting or fabricating aspects of our history. Unfortunately, revisionist history is pretty much what every secular school history text contains today.

Thus, we have at least one generation, and I would maintain more than one, that does not know the truth about our national history—and that puts us in a position of potentially being destroyed from both within and without. We are easy prey, ripe for the picking, for those who desperately want America fundamentally changed. In fact, if the rhetoric you are hearing from some of the 2020 presidential candidates doesn’t scare you, then you have likely been brainwashed by those who want to deny you of knowing our history or who are working fiendishly to obliterate it from the national record and collective memory, especially as that history relates to the influence of Christianity.

Our national problem is substantiated by various surveys done in recent years which have shown such realities as 53% of Americans do not know the first 10 amendments to the Constitution of the United States are called the “Bill of Rights,” a third of Americans do not know who delivered the Gettysburg Address, a sizable 42% of Americans do not know the title of our national anthem, and sixty-six percent can’t correctly identify the document that contains the words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I believe we can do something about this situation and change the trajectory before we have a disaster—or, some would assert, more of a disaster. However, we can’t wait; we have to move, and we have to move quickly.

The best place to begin is with our families. Parents and extended family members all need to look for ways to make sure the next generation knows America’s true history. Reading classic American books together such as Johnny Tremain, Little Women and others can make the time fun and educational. Take family trips to historic places. Do the research before you go to make sure you know where you are and what you’re really seeing. Read works by David Barton of WallBuilders for a Christian perspective on America’s founding and founders. Use national holidays as teachable moments; make them more than just a day off school and work. Talk about how the holiday came to be and why we continue to observe it and be sure to do so from a Christian perspective. Be creative with how you instruct and illuminate those coming behind you, but above all be purposeful.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention where children are educated. I wish it were different, but I don’t know that any public school today is going to give at every grade the truth about America’s history. Parents are either going to need to fill that gap completely or change the educational partner they use for their child’s schooling. Fortunately, Wisconsin has some excellent educational options, including private schools, both secular and religious, many of which are now part of the voucher program and, of course, homeschooling.

Are we doomed to destruction because we don’t know the truth of our history? I hope not. But we dare not wait a moment longer to be doing everything we can to ensure the next generation is well-prepared to keep the torch of liberty brightly lit.

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

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