By Beth Branscome

 We interrupt this program to bring you a special news bulletin.  We are receiving preliminary reports that shots have been fired at a high school in Atlanta.  For all of us these reports have taken on a sickening familiarity.  Paducah, Jonesboro, Springfield, Littleton: two dead, four dead, fifteen dead.  And in the aftermath the horrified questioning begins.  Why, in a country that is enjoying times of unparalleled prosperity, is there so much discontent and violence?

 A century and a half ago an Englishman named Charles Darwin wrote two books, The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man, which introduced his theory of evolution to the world.  For several generations Americans have been taught that they are nothing more than advanced animals which developed into man for no particular reason.  At the same time religion and traditional notions of right and wrong have been scrupulously removed from public life.  In a world shaped by evolution there is no higher authority and no standard to determine right and wrong.  And in the last century as evolution has become accepted as fact, many of the principles on which the Western world was based have been called into question.  Traditional morality, the sanctity of life, the role of women, and the Christian church have been challenged.  Things that should be unthinkable have become commonplace.  The same day as the massacre at Columbine High School, over 4,000 children were killed legally in the abortion clinics of the United States of America.  If we live in a country that allows some to commit murder in the name of convenience and compassion can we be shocked when others kill out of rage and frustration.  Too often churches have compromised when faced with challenges to their beliefs.  Evolution has been compromised with, traditional morality has been compromised, the role of women has been compromised, the sanctity of life has been compromised.

 When we reach a milestone in life, such as graduation, it is usually a time to contemplate the future and our role in it.  And many things that are happening in this country today are discouraging for Christians.  Some have even suggested that the fight is lost and there is nothing further for us to do.  But this is not a small skirmish that can be won or lost in a few years, but a struggle between good and evil that stretches back through time. And as long as those of us who believe in the truth still exist the fight is not over.  Many times it is discouraging when our efforts don't seem to make a difference.  But although we cannot control the world we can control ourselves.  Those of us who are graduating today are here because we have parents who were willing to make sacrifices to educate us at home according to their values.  Now it passes to us to train the next generation and carry on the fight.  And every time we stand firm on our principles and beliefs and refuse to compromise we have achieved a victory.  In the short term our efforts may seem small and futile, but they will be successful.  Some are beginning to question the valueless society that has been built in America and the theory of evolution that is its foundation.  And although we do not know what the future holds, God has revealed to us the end of the story.  That someday every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  So as the class of 99 today begins a new chapter of our lives we can go forward, not with despair that the fight is lost, but with the assurance that the future is in God's hands and He will protect His cause and His people.