From a 1922 Good Housekeeping magazine article:
WOULD you like your children to grow up in a community where there is no church? Would you like to live in a city or a town without a church, and where there is no Christian public opinion? Face the question squarely, and then if you would not care for such a condition of things, why don’t you go to church yourself? And if you are not a member of a church, why don’t you feel the obligation of becoming a member? What is the trouble?
The Editor of Good HOUSEKEEPING recently said in these pages, “Any one familiar with the facts of church attendance knows that the membership claims, in all honesty, are about fifty percent too high. In other words millions of names are on church rolls because the churches keep them there and not because their owners, by any legitimate right, claim membership. There are men listed as members in good standing who have not attended a service in ten, fifteen, twenty, years, nor otherwise expressed any interest in the religion they once espoused. What is wrong? Is it a lack of belief in a hereafter? a belief that death ends all? Or are the conditions laid down for a happy entrance into the hereafter too drastic, too much at variance with the nature God has given to man? News comes from all parts of the country that the churches are half empty. What is the reason for this? Is it the churches fault or yours?
Let us speak plainly. Do you not really believe that if you- the fathers and mothers of today- were active in church work, lived up to its teachings, trained your children from their early days to interest themselves in the church, insisting upon their attendance at services until it became as much a part of their lives as baseball or dancing or school or getting up in the morning- insisting upon it as a duty and as a necessary part of their education under your supervision- do you really believe that under these conditions we should see the appalling spectacle of license which we see everywhere in this country today?
To my mind the main trouble is that we are trying to get along and bring up our children without any definite religious faith. We are living on our inherited religious capital….
The author goes on to blame several things, includingmodern cridicism, materialism, letting the younger generation grow up ‘on its own,’ and secular education.
“What makes the good man and woman lies deeper than the facts with which the mind is stored. What a man is depends on his training as a child in the home, and in church where those principles of faith in God have been taught which will give him an intelligent reason for moral action. We are living in a fool’s paradise if we think that we can have morals without faith in God. We are heading straight for destruction if we think that we can have children with good principles unless the mothers and the fathers give the children a sound faith and training which will result in high standards as life develops.”
by Caleb Rochford Stetson, D.D., who was at the time the Rector of Trinity Church, New York City. He was rector from about 1921 to 1932.
In some cities the people have been aroused to a sense of civic responsibility, but as a general rule most of us have been too busy making a living or getting rich quick to bother about the machinery of government, and only about fifty per cent of the voting population ever trouble themselves to vote even in a Presidential election. We get the kind of government we deserve in the long run.—Rev. Dr. Caleb Rochford Stetson.