Class Catechism: U.S. History 20th & 21st Century

This 12th grade class catechism is recited at the beginning of each class

Where does God live?

God dwells in all places; God is beyond place; God is place itself.

When does God live?

God dwells in all places, at all times; God transcends time and is beyond time. 

Who am I?

I am a human being made in the image of God.

Where do I live?

In the state of Alabama in the United States of America.

When do I live?

In the twenty-first century.

What are the defining features of modern America?

First, there are no absolutes of good and evil. This is called relativism.

Second, the problem with humanity is something has happened to us: something biochemical, relational, and environmental. This is called psychotherapy.

Third, diversity is the goal of society. This is the movement that tears down America and builds up other civilizations. This is called multiculturalism.

The problem with relativism is that when one does not believe in the goodness of his own teaching, neither should I.

The problem with psychotherapy is that while Christians believe that environment shapes one’s character, we don’t think that material categories erase moral ones. 

The problem with multiculturalism is that you cannot teach people to respect other cultures by teaching them to despise their own.

Where do Christians get the moral authority to change the devilish features of modern America?

Moral authority comes from the unwavering commitment to good works as defined by the Bible and empowered by the Spirit of Christ. The question for evangelicals is this: Do we have the courage, the concern, and the virtue required for reformation? Our credibility before the watching world is at stake.

How will I know I’ve studied history rightly?

I live out this moral code: “Tell the truth. Don’t blame people. Be strong. Do your best. Try hard. Forgive. Stay the course.”

What does World War Two teach about fighting the good fight?

Winston Churchill said, “We shall not flag or fail. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender.”

What does World War Two teach us about appeasing the enemies of Christ?

Winston Churchill said that an appeaser throws others to the crocodiles, hoping to be the last one eaten. An appeaser knows what is going on, and runs the calculation to see which move enhances his chances of survival. Margaret Thatcher called this the “stench of appeasement.” One lesson from World War Two is that appeasing wickedness doesn’t work.

What was FDR’s D-Day prayer?

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest, until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violence of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

Why can’t Communism and the United States mix?

Karl Marx said that “Communism begins where atheism begins.” Vladimir Lenin said, “There is nothing more abominable than religion. All worship of any divinity is necrophilia.”

Yet John Adams explained that the U.S. Constitution “was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

What is the difference between the Civil Rights Movement then and the Civil Rights movement now?

The Civil Rights Movement then claimed the authority of the Holy Scriptures and that the inheritance of Christianity dignified all people. Martin Luther King Jr. operated from the moral high ground by appealing to Scripture, the Constitution, and Natural Law.

The Civil Rights Movement now seeks to exchange the former contempt for black people for a new contempt for white people while refusing to repent of the current abortion slaughter. They want a revolution that overthrows the old moral order of the Scriptures, the Constitution, and Natural Law.

If feminism thinks women should be educated, slavery is a social evil, drunk husbands destroy families, and back-alley abortions are wrong, why can’t Christians be feminists?

G.K. Chesterton said a feminist is “one who dislikes the chief feminine characteristics.” In other words, feminism is not femininity. The gospel of women’s liberation wants liberation from biology, liberation from reality, liberation from the Nature of Things, and liberation from their God-given femininity.

What is the relationship between character and leadership?

Peggy Noonan says, “In a president, character is everything. A president doesn’t have to be brilliant; Harry Truman wasn’t brilliant and he helped save Western Europe from Stalin. He doesn’t have to be clever; you can hire clever. White Houses are always full of quick-witted people with ready advice on how to … implement a strategy. You can hire pragmatic … but you can’t buy courage and decency, you can’t rent a strong moral sense. A president must bring those things with him.”

What does living the good life require?

Everyone must strive before they die to learn what they are running from, what they are running to, and why.

What do Christians run from, run to, and why?

Christians run from sin, death, and the devil. Christians run to Jesus Christ because, in the end, life offers only one tragedy: not to have been a child of God.

The Timeline:

1898 – 1900: The Spanish American War

1914 – 1918: World War One

1929 – 1939: The Great Depression

1939 – 1945: World War Two

1945 – 1991: The Cold War

1950 – 1953: The Korean War

1955 – 1975: The Vietnam War

1990 – 1991: Persian Gulf War

September 11, 2001: The 9/11 Terror Attacks

2001 – 2021: The Afghanistan War

2003 – 2011: The Iraq War

Jason Cherry is an elder at Trinity Reformed Church in Huntsville, Alabama, as well as a teacher and lecturer of literature, American history, and economics at Providence Classical School in Huntsville. He graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary with an MA in Religion and is the author of the book The Culture of Conversionism and the History of the Altar Call, now available on Amazon.