On September 1, former police officer and President of the Family Research Council (FRC) Tony Perkins appeared on Fox News to discuss the shooting in Odessa, Texas.
During the segment, Perkins, as well as pastor Corey Brooks from New Beginnings Church, made the case that a waning morality in the United States is contributing to incidents of public violence.
Following introductions, Perkins stated that "at some point, we have to realize that as a nation, we have a problem, and the problem is not the absence of laws, it's an absence of morality. Really, the result of a decade's long march through the institutions of America driving religion and God from the public square."
Host Todd Piro then asked Perkins to elaborate on a recent op-ed in which he wrote about gun violence.
Well, I'm willing as a former police officer and an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment, I'm willing to sit down with the Left who say, "I don't want to hear any more about your prayers." Well, I agree. Praying alone is not enough. It’s time to act, and it's not just about having a conversation about restricting those who should not have guns, criminals, but it's also a discussion of the absence of a moral core in our culture today.
I mean, look, we've taught our kids that they come about by chance through primordial slime and then we're surprised that they treat their fellow Americans like dirt.
It’s time we talk about the result of the Left’s systematic march through our institutions driving religious expression from the public square. I think we have to go back to the point where we instill in these children – at least give them the opportunity to know that they're created in the image of God, therefore they have inherent value, and as the first president United States said, "Don’t think that we can have morality without religion." We’ve driven religion from our public life, and we're shocked that we no longer have morality and we no longer value human life.
Piro then brought on Brooks, and asked him for his position.
I agree a lot with with Tony just said. The fact that morality is at a ... low in America right now, we have to do everything we can to make sure that we turn America back toward God. It’s unfortunate that in so many institutions, God has been forced out of the equation and as a result, you see individuals throughout America who have emptiness – whether you're dealing with the kid in Texas or a kid on the block in Chicago – a lot of these young people have emptiness inside; they're needing attention affirmation, and acceptance, and until we get that settled, and no matter how many laws we do, no matter how restrictive we make it – Chicago has some of the most restrictive gun laws, but yet we still have a high surge of violence – that is because we're lacking in morality.
When Piro noted that some in the mainstream press would argue that "religion doesn't stop bullets," Brooks responded:
Well, I’d tell them that the legislation doesn't stop bullets. The fact that peoples’ hearts are not changed by politics; peoples’ hearts are not changed because of laws; peoples’ hearts are changed by God, and I really do believe that the lack of morality in America, the [act] of forcing religion into the fringes and not being a part of our society has really caused us some serious issues.
Christian religious identification appears to be on the decline in the United States.
Gallup polling shows that from 1985 - 2018, the percentage of respondents who claimed to be "Protestant" slid from 57% to 35%, while the percentage of people claiming to hold no religious association at all rose from 8% to 20% over the same time period.
Identifying Catholics have also dropped by 6% (28% - 22%).
Gallup asked: "How important would you say religion is in your own life – very important, fairly important, or not very important?"
From 1992 - 2018, respondents who said that religion was "very important" dropped from 58% to 50%; respondents who said that religion was "fairly important" dropped from 29% to 23%; while respondents who said that religion was "not very important" jumped from 12% to 26%.
Gallup probed further, asking: "How often do you attend church or synagogue – every week, almost every week, about once a month, seldom, or never?"
From 1992 - 2018, "every week" dropped from 34% to 22%, while "never" jumped from 14% to 28%.