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Sioux City Journal columnist Linda Holub

Journal Regulars columnist Linda Holub is pictured.

What happens to our children when God is taken out of schools and the public square?

The results are troubled youth as seen in a spike in teen suicides, gender dysphoria, mass shootings and an explosion of sexual assault and abuse. When God is gone, people lose their internal compass and a loss of boundaries on behavior which leads to loss of hope. When you allow the current culture to determine your values or your personal compass, you will be blown to and fro by the changing winds of culture; it is a flimsy foundation unlike the foundation that God offers which is timeless and unchanging.

The basic elements of civil society are being challenged at every turn. Children do not do well without boundaries and without a strong sense of right and wrong. The Bible is not only God’s relationship with mankind, but God’s Ten Commandments are a road map for a healthy lifestyle.

The media world has turned society upside down - what was good is now evil and what was evil is now good. The Bible talks about this happening in Isaiah 5:20: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” This cultural change has had devastating effects on society, especially the family. Inhumanity occurs when God is taken out of the public square.

The following are just the tip of the iceberg of a deteriorating society:

* According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide is the third-leading cause of death in young people between the ages of 10 and 24. Jean Twenge, a psychologist from San Diego State University, found a correlation between the rising popularity of smart phones and the increased rates of suicide and depression among young people. Twenge also found that “between 2010 and 2015, the number of U.S. teens who felt useless and joyless — classic symptoms of depression — surged 33 percent in large national surveys. Teen suicide attempts increased 23 percent. Even more troubling, the number of 13-to-18-year-olds who committed suicide jumped 31 percent.”

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* Secondly, gender is being redefined and disconnected to biological sex as has been tradition. It is now a feeling and can be given any name a person wants. The city of New York City recognizes 31 different gender identities. Given these options, who wouldn’t be confused? The American Journal of Public Health estimates only 0.39 percent of the population identifies as transgender (frc.org). While I am respectful and compassionate toward those who self-identify as transgender, why should the other 99 percent be required to be taught a subject that affects such a small segment? Transgender lessons have infiltrated kindergarten classes in California, according to the National Review. Even though California along with 35 other states allow for parents to opt out of sex education classes, California has excluded gender identity from the opt-out option. What happens in California often spreads throughout the nation. Franklin Graham has encouraged parents to take their children out of public schools that mandate LGBTQ lessons. Mayor Alfonso Cirulli, from Barnegat Township, New Jersey, called a mandate to teach LGBTQ history “an affront to Almighty God.”

* Mass shootings, as we saw recently in Texas, seem to be on the rise. Those who resort to this evil act have lost all hope that their lives could get better.

* Finally, sexual abuse of children is fueled by sexualized media, music, television programming, movies, gaming apps, social media and pornography. Children are exposed to sexual messages well beyond their mental capabilities to understand it and, as a result, children act out what they see, according to Cordelia Anderson, an expert on prevention of child sexual abuse and the effects of pornography. Sexual abuse, rape or sex trafficking devastates the victim for years. Pornography addiction has a high probability of fueling those criminal acts. When will we say “enough is enough” and end the demand for pornography? It is not a victimless crime.

What can we do to turn our culture back on its rightful positive axis? South Dakota’s Legislature recently required all 149 school districts to permanently display the national motto “In God we trust." What a great concept It is a first step. Let God back into the schools and the public square and give our youth hope for a better future. Without God, evil prevails and hope is lost. Hope is what sustains us during difficult times.

Next week: Jim Rixner

Linda Holub, of Dakota Dunes, S.D., has lived in the Sioux City metro area for more than 40 years. She and her husband, Dave, have four adult children. A certified life coach professional with a master of arts degree from Liberty University in Human Services, Counseling: Life Coaching, Holub is co-chair of the Siouxland Coalition Against Human Trafficking.

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