"Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody" Romans 12:17
Evil is incredibly powerful. These verses make it clear that evil will overcome you if you do not take deliberate and intentional spiritual action to bring the power of God to bear against the evil in your heart, it will eventually express itself in destructive ways. You never know the powerful impact that even one evil action can have.
Consider this example from recent American history.
How did the removal of voluntary prayer from the schools of the United States affect our nation as a whole? That question has been answered in detail by a research company in Texas which has gathered and tabulated statistics from hundreds of sources relating to the rates of moral decline in America.
Specialty Research Associates, under the direction of David Barton, has released a report entitled America: To Pray or Not to Pray which uses over 100 pages of graphs and statistical analysis to prove that crime, venereal disease, premarital sex, illiteracy, suicide, drug use, public corruption, and other social ills began a dramatic increase after the Engel vs. Vitale Supreme Court decision was made in 1962 which banned school prayer.
Prayer in schools prior to 1962 was utilized in school districts all over the U.S. in many varieties. Some teachers used extemporaneous prayers, simply expressing their thoughts and desires; others implemented structured prayers, such as the Lord’s Prayer or the 23rd Psalm, or others approved by local school boards. New York students prayed each day: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee and beg Thy blessing over us, our parents, our teachers, and our nation.” It was this simple prayer which came under fire and went to the Supreme Court for the landmark decision.
Says David Barton, “It is impossible to know how many of the 39 million children were involved in daily verbal prayers, but most accounts indicate that a clear majority of the students voluntarily participated in daily school prayer. Is it possible that the prayers that were being offered by these children and their teachers across the nation actually had any measurable, tangible effect?”
Figure 1: The SAT: It was this question that led Barton to uncover the statistical proof that the removal of prayer did indeed take its toll on America. Below are just a few of the charts featured in Barton’s report, with a brief explanation of each: (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is an academic test that measures the developed verbal and math reasoning of a student exiting from high school or some similar type of learning facility. The results of these tests are commonly used by colleges and universities to indicate the strength of a student’s academic preparation and his potential for success on the college level.
Figure 1 shows how drastically the actual knowledge of high school students began to drop at an accelerating rate after 1962. Barton notes in his report that the upturn in SAT scores since 1981 is due to the increase in private Christian educational facilities which began to flourish at that time. Statistics have proven that students from private Christian schools showed higher academic achievement and higher test scores.
Figure 2: This graph shows the increase in sexual activity in unmarried teen-age girls after the 1962 Supreme Court decision. It is evident from the figures provided that in the years previous to the removal of prayer the rates remained stable and relatively unchanged. In the post- prayer years the numbers immediately began to soar. The sudden increase on the graph appears as if a great restraining force had suddenly been removed.
Figure 3: Unwed women 15-19 years of age showed a phenomenal increase in the rate of pregnancies after the School Prayer decision. Note that the figure jumps drastically after the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision which made abortion legal in the U.S. The United States now has the highest incidence of teen-age motherhood in any Western country.
Figure 4: For the 15-19 and 20-24 age group, the rates of youth suicide remained relatively unchanged during the years from 1946 to the School Prayer decision in 1962. But in the years since, suicides among the same group have increased 253 percent, or an average of 10.5 percent per year.
Figure 5: Stability in the family has also been affected since the 1962 decision. Divorce, single parent families, couples living together but not married, and adultery are areas of family breakdown which have experienced radical growth in recent years. In the graph above, the increase in single parent families (households with only a mother and children) are detailed. Note the dotted line at the bottom, which shows the rate of growth prior to the 1962 decision.
Figure 6: Crime, productivity, and national morality had been on a fairly stable level prior to the 1962 decision, but that is no longer the case. It is obvious that such a quantity of students praying for their nation had a very positive effect on the course that this nation had taken. The rate of violent crime, as shown above, has risen over 330 percent.
You say, "I agree that this is terrible. This evil decision to ban praying in school has exponentially spread throughout our culture with devastating moral effects. But what can I do about that? I can't change the law."
That is true, but the point is this. You must realize the power of evil. And, the evil you should be most concerned about is the evil within you. Repent of it immediately and ask God to cleanse you with the blood of Jesus and fill you with the Holy Spirit.
Overcome evil with God!