American Family Radio Host of‘The Hamilton Corner’: ‘Almost All of It Is Attributable to Education’
February 8, 2021
TUPELO, Miss. —Abraham Hamilton, III, host of The Hamilton Corner radio program on American Family Radio, is passionate about discovering the root cause of America’s cultural demise. A grave concern and recent show topic was “Why America Has Stopped Believing in God.” Hamilton points to Lyman Stone’s American Enterprise Institute research. “Religious conservatives would probably cite the loosening of the country’s morals that began in the sixties and seventies,” says Hamilton, , American Family Association (AFA, http://www.afa.net) general counsel and public policy analyst. “Secular progressives might mutter something about the onward March of science and reason over time. But the data seemed to show that the main driver of secularization in the United States has been an acceleration of government spending on education and government control over the curricular content taught in schools.”
“Now the study wasn’t focusing on American education,” explains Hamilton. “The study was based on the effort to determine statistically and with empirical analysis, how did America become so secularized? The facts drove the American Enterprise Institute researchers toward education. I have said numerous times education is discipleship. The concept of separating academic matriculation and the spiritual development is an unbiblical concept.
“And I know there are exceptions to this. There are godly men and women who are teaching in schools across our country. And there are people, children who have become faithful to Jesus Christ surviving these government indoctrination centers. But if we were to be honest, we would have to admit that those are exceptions and not the rule. And one of the evidences of this normalization of godlessness is that we often endeavor to try to treat the exceptions as if they are the rule, but it is high time for us to be honest as to what’s happening in our country, we didn’t get here overnight.”
Stone cites the seminal work of Raphael Franck and Laurence Iannaccone on this point, who meticulously tracked religious behavior over time in their own work. According to Franck and Iannaccone, “higher educational attainment did not predict lower religiosity: More and less educated people are similarly religious.” Nor did they “find that industrialized, urban life reduces religiosity: A more urban and industrialized population was associated with greater religiosity.” The link between intellectual progression/modernization and secularization is non-existent.
Stone’s data suggests that, by and large, kids brought up in religious households stay religious and kids who are not, do not. Consequently, childhood religiosity has been, and remains, the most important indicator of America’s religious trajectory. The story of religious decline in America is not the story of adults consciously rejecting the faith of their forefathers: It is the story of each generation receiving a more secular upbringing than the generation preceding it. What accounts for this secularization of childhood over time? Taxpayer dollars.
“American secularization did not occur because those who are overtly atheist and agnostic continued to proliferate in American society,” Hamilton explains. “Through the secularization of education, Satan has gained entree into the church and carried off as captives the offspring born into Christian families. Each generation in America within the family became more and more secularized among the ranks of the church attending.”
According to Stone, children learn more at school than reading, writing, and arithmetic. The government run education system imbibes a whole set of implied assumptions about what is important in life by excluding religious instruction from public schools. The education system tacitly teaches students that religious commitments are not a first order priority in life.
“We must have our eyes targeted toward the root, not merely the fruit,” Hamilton says. “What do you think the consequences will be? If generation after generation of Americans are taught that God is nothing more than a take it or leave it proposition when He himself says, ‘I am the Lord, your God, you shall have no other gods before Me.’ By excluding religious instruction from public schools, the government run education system tacitly teaches students that religious commitments are not a first order priority in life. Faith in God becomes a sort of optional weekend hobby akin to playing tennis or video games.”
The content of education matters, Stone reported. Evidence that education reduces religiosity is fairly weak: American religiosity rose considerably from 1800 until the 1970s, despite rapidly rising educational attainment. But the evidence that specifically secular education might reduce religiosity is more compelling. Indeed, statistically, most researchers who have explored long-run change in religiosity find that education-related variables, which Stone has argued are a proxy for secular education, can explain nearly the totality of change in religiosity.
“All the changes that many of us have witnessed in the moral fiber of America, the Christ receptivity versus the Christ diversion, almost all of it is attributable to education.
“There has been a normalized godlessness to such a degree in our country. We’ve been all too willing and comfortable to abide in that godlessness – so it’s only a matter of time to when the rebellion says, ‘Oh, so you all are comfortable with that? Let’s just push a little further.’ We didn’t get here overnight. There’s only one way out to repentance.”
For over 40 years, AFA has operated within the mission to inform, equip, and activate individuals to strengthen the moral foundations of American culture and give aid to the church here and abroad in its task of fulfilling the Great Commission. Visit AFA Action Alerts here.
AFA—founded in 1977—has long been on the front lines of America’s culture war. Today, AFA is one of the largest and most effective pro-family organizations in the country, with nearly a million online supporters and approximately 160,000 subscribers to the AFA Journal, the ministry’s monthly magazine. In addition, AFA owns and operates nearly 200 radio stations across the country under the American Family Radio banner.
To interview a representative of the American Family Association, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.