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What do they Mean by Traditional Values?

By Dr. Dale A. Robbins

In recent years we’ve begun to hear a lot of talk about something called traditional values. It seems to surface in every political campaign and has been the subject of debate and controversy by the news media.

In reality, traditional values refers to the standards and values which were embraced by most Americans from it’s earliest beginnings and throughout the majority of its history. It is believed by many, including myself, that these values were a great part of what made America a great and free nation — the absence of which, will likely result in the further decline of our country.

Traditional, historical American values have in the past, included a faith in God, prayer and the Bible, which has for a large part, been the foundation of other national traditions, such as: honor and respect for the family, diligent work ethics, absolute values of right and wrong, honesty in business practices, wholesomeness in leadership, respect toward authority, moderation rather than excess, marriage as a prerequisite before having sex or bearing children, a family which consists of both a father and mother, taking responsibility to provide for our own — such as one’s spouse, family and children, and so forth.

Such values were the ethics of our national heritage, which civilized our population and instilled character and maturity. People learned how to behave, to have manners, good morals, to be honest, unselfish, generous and considerate of others. They were taught the benefits of discipline, hard work, and responsibility. They were given good role models of how to be loving and kind to their spouse, encouraging and supportive to their children. This was the sort of thing which caused marriages to last, families to succeed, and which made our nation strong and free.

Many of today’s political leaders are looking to a restoration of such traditional values, not especially because of such a want for faith in God. But they see that the values which were generally held by believers in the past are the cure for the sickness that plagues our nation.

And on the more cynical, capitalistic side of things, politicians have come to see it as a remedy for the numerous costly government social programs. Our government has nearly gone bankrupt trying to fix the ills of society which have been produced by the absence of traditional values: Drug abuse, deadbeat dads, unwed mothers, abortion, abandoned children, abandoned elderly, the spread of AIDS and other venereal diseases, litigation abuse, welfare abuse, failure of education, lack of discipline in the schools, rampant crime, and etc.

All of these woes, and much more, are basically a product of a society without values — and specifically, without the values which originally came from a life-style of faith in God. Realizing this, more and more politicians are beginning to sound like preachers in their appeal for a return to moral values.

It has been said that America is following the same historical path that led to the collapse of the Roman empire. In the famous history, “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” written by Edward Gibbon, the author gave the following reason for Rome’s fall:

• Excessive spending by the central government.
• Unwillingness of young men to bear arms in defense of their country.
• Overindulgence in luxuries.
• Widespread immorality which destroyed the integrity of family life (family values).
• The spread of gender confusion and homosexuality — men acting like women, and women acting like men.
• Disregard for religion.

Sadly, these are many of the same symptoms our own society. So will America continue to follow the same path? It is said, “They which fail to learn from history, are destined to repeat it.” One fact is clear: Unless there is a revival of moral values in our nation, like Rome, it will corrupt from within and will die as a nation. Hopefully our nation will heed the warning from the Bible. It says, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” (Psalms 9:17)

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