A recent poll showing a decline in traditional American values confirms what conservatives have been saying: the character of America is changing.
The percentage of those polled who said patriotism is important dropped from 70 percent 25 years ago, to 38 percent today. While 59 percent said having children was important 25 years ago, now just 30 percent do. And the importance of religion dropped from 62 percent to 39 percent now calling it important.
The poll, released in March 2023, was conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago and funded by the Wall Street Journal.
Those who are older understand what this country was, and how we are devolving, said Rev. C.L. Bryant, a senior fellow at Freedom Works, a group that advocates for freedom and small government.
Churches are failing this country, Bryant said in a speech this week at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference, an annual gathering of conservatives. He said Americans are slowly being enslaved and he aimed to encourage people to build a fire in their hearts and restore the light of patriotism to the nation.
“Americans, whether you know it or not, there are countries around this world who’ve always looked to us for leadership. For strength. For encouragement. But even now, on the faces of Americans, the light of this world, they are beginning to see fear. They are beginning to see us in a state where, they understand, that we are being hoodwinked. We are being bamboozled. And our children are being swindled out of their American heritage,” Bryant said. “In too many cases it is because the churches in this country are failing the congregants. This faith-based nation, like we have been even in our founding, is failing in what our founders saw it could be, for people of moral character.”
For the first time in our nation’s history, he said, over 65 percent of children from the ages of 7 to 17 have never been to a church, synagogue, or mosque.
He chastised pastors for not preaching truth to their churches.
“Pastors … because of political correctness, there are certain things that you are beginning to leave out of your sermons on Sundays. And you’re leaving your congregants unclothed, and certainly exposed to the attack of political wolves in this country,” Bryant, a Christian, said.
He spoke of Jesus being crucified over the politics of his day.
“[Jesus] took them head-on. He came and overturned tables. He came with a righteous anger over how they were manipulated, and how they were duping God’s people. He came to set them free,” Bryant said. “It cost Him His life. It cost Him a crucifixion. And the American pastor today understands the story of Christ, but they don’t understand the mission of setting the captives free.”
Many pastors and congregants are afraid of a sort of crucifixion today, he said.
Our nation is dying, he said, and it can die if we don’t understand the nature of what the mission is.
“With Easter Sunday coming, the day that we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, it is time for us to understand, pastors and congregants … that without the crucifixion, without them coming after you with sharp objects, without them trying to tear you down, and the struggle—without the crucifixion, there is no resurrection. And my friends, the resurrection of America is certainly necessary now. Because there has been a purposeful destruction of our moral character.”
Bryant spoke of the trap of accepting handouts from the government. The slave does not necessarily seek freedom, he said, but rather, comfort.
“The slave will trade his freedom for more food in his bowl and for a roof that doesn’t leak over his head. The slave will trade his freedom for a paycheck that comes without work,” Bryant said.
“Americans, you are slowly being enslaved. It is time now for you to wake up and understand that the tools of our destruction are truly working on our young people, because they love free stuff, and they love your stuff. They want your stuff, because they may never accumulate things, in the way it is going, on their own. So that presents a certain peril for all of us who have worked hard and experienced the American way of prosperity and success. There is a generation coming behind us and slowly being suffocated by the principles of big government.”
“My friends, it is time for you to stand up and push back,” Bryant said, encouraging the crowd to not let anyone take from them what they fought wars for. “I want you to take account of what our fathers have bought and paid for with blood. Take account of that. If we let anyone—Democrat, Republican, whoever they are—take from us what our fathers bought and paid for. Not without a fight.”
And with that, the crowd stood in applause.