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As I begin today, let me say that I just woke up from a dream, and what follows is the essence of it. My friend Nancy Ballard sent me a terrific article the other day and I would like to share it with you.

It begins, "I grew up in rural America in the '50s and '60s. On any given day, you could walk through the high school parking lot and observe that half the vehicles parked there were trucks with windows rolled down and doors unlocked. Most of them carried, as standard equipment, an FFA sticker and a gun rack with at least one gun, usually loaded. You could make the same observation at any of the four high school campuses in our county. Amazingly, I do not ever recall reading or hearing about mass shootings in any of these high schools." She then makes this statement: "What has changed in America is not the accessibility of guns, but the character of man.

"On the wall in my parent's home is a plaque awarded to my father in recognition of service for 27 years on the local school board. He told me that, for years, a standard requirement on every teacher's contract was membership in a local church. I remember starting every school day with the pledge and a prayer. I remember when girls who got pregnant in high school were ashamed, when abortions were illegal, when the divorce rate was not 50 percent because couples stayed together for the kids' sake, when there were no X-rated movies, when milk cartons didn't have missing kids' faces on them and I didn't know anyone personally who used drugs. I remember when kids were taught respect for authority and accountability to God.

"Last night I attended a high school football game that was covered by local and national news. The news coverage was not about the football teams, but about the defiance of a court order by one brave little Texas town to preserve the right to pray before a football game. The more this country struggles to free itself from religion, the more we become entangled in the consequences. It is an observable truth that the best time you will ever make on any American city freeway is on Sunday morning because there are no traffic jams going to church.

"For those that believe separation of church and state is not enough, that the world would be better off without religion, ask yourself this question -- How many hospitals, universities, orphanages, homeless and abuse shelters have been founded by the ACLU or the American Atheist Society? Is it the inclusion of the word Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Christian, etc., in the name of so many of these institutions that proves by actions, not just words, who really care for the suffering of mankind and desires to make the world better?

"The question people should be asking is not 'Why does God allow tragedies?' but 'When will we realize that no nation in the history of the world, have ever separated itself from God and evolved to a better society?'"

Well, how about that? This really gets to the heart of the matter and was written by an unknown author who really had her finger on the national pulse.

Here is a question we could all ask ourselves. What has changed in America? The real problem that faces our nation is not guns in the hands of our citizens but the decline of ethical and moral character by millions of people in this country. If the gun control people in this country would spend the same amount of time, money and energy removing violence from television programs and video games, we would be much better off. Good night. I am going back to sleep.

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