One general culture had existed in America for years. In the late 1960s and early ’70s a major counter culture emerged.
Prior to that, morals in general had been much higher, honesty was expected, stores closed on Sunday, worship attendance was a norm, public prayer was commonplace, drug use was almost nonexistent, marriage was more highly regarded, and family ties were strong. Respect for elders and persons in authority provided a sense of security. A strong work ethic prevailed and the free enterprise system valued.
Then emerged a counterculture comprised of persons who in general were called hippies. They rejected, mocked, and strongly criticized long standing norms as being archaic. Don’t trust anyone over 30 was a mantra. Free love was a battle cry. Do your own thing was a maxim. Pot opened the door to broader and more diverse drug use. Cohabitation was flaunted. Dependence on government slowly emerged. It devolved into an entitlement mentality.
It continued to evolve until today it is the culture.
Hippies matured and went into entertainment, media, government and educational institutions. They became the new era leaders in positions to color the entire culture. The norms of our culture stand in dramatic contrast to those existent prior to the ’60s and ’70s.
As Adam and Eve were leaving the Garden of Eden, it is reported Adam said to Eve, “We are living in changing times, my dear.”
Today those born after 1980 have no background enabling them to recall the former culture. Their perspective of that period on our cultural history is skewed by a national press and entertainment community as being almost primordial.
Today those old enough to remember the virtues and values of the era fondly recall many of the admirable traits. It had flaws, but many commendable qualities.
Needed today: a new counter-culture.
Today people with a biblical world view which was the moral views of the majority of our predecessors are in reality an existing counterculture. However, when they assert themselves they are most often criticized and castigated. This has resulted in a strange muteness amid most of the population as not being PC, and all persons are expected to march in lock step to the PC drummer. As long as that spirit prevails there will be no positive counterculture.
The emerging counterculture of the ’60s and ’70s was broadly criticized at the time, but they persisted and prevailed. All countercultures are opposed. Any movement toward a more ethical and moral culture today will be broadly criticized.
However, there will be a counterculture. There always has been. Remember Adam and Eve.
The question is what will the new counterculture be like? If it is counter it will not be like the present culture. It could be better or worse depending on how those terms are defined.
For the sake of the continuity of our country let’s hope it returns us to the commendable qualities of our heritage devoid of the negatives within it.
The Rev. Dr. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church. For copies of previous columns visit www.nelsonprice.com.