I attended a Baton Rouge Bar Association luncheon to hear my friend Burl Cain, warden of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, discuss the Louisiana penal system and future challenges to our state. A sobering forecast was painted by Warden Cain and other wardens present. While crime doesn’t pay; the cost associated with our criminal justice system is rising.

I have had the opportunity to cook and serve for Chuck Colson’s Prison Fellowship Ministries and Cowboys For Christ events at Angola. I have seen the changes that have dramatically transformed the hearts, minds and souls, for the better, of many inmates, through the teaching and applying of Christian principles. Crimes among the inmates have been reduced by a large percentage. Back a few years, this was unimaginable.

In my 75 years, I have seen America, the land of the free, undergo many changes. One of the worst things that has happened to America, we have taken the Bible and God’s Ten Commandments out of our public schools — the very thing upon which our great America, was founded.

We have destroyed the moral foundation of our society by removing fathers from the home thanks to the great welfare society. We pay women to have illegitimate children. In doing this we were being a progressive society.

Writer C.S. Lewis once observed, “We all want progress, but if we are going down the wrong road, progress means doing an about turn and going back to the right road: in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”

Coca-Cola abandoned its “New Coke” and returned to the “classic formula” once it realized its mistake.

If we hope to survive and prosper as the great republic and leader of the world, America must return to that which made her successful and the leader of the world.

The Founding Fathers depended on God and the Bible as a source of Christian principles when they wrote the founding documents at the birth of America.

America is like no other nation for that reason alone.

I believe the answer for the prisons and crime, for our children and families and our nation are all connected. Turn back! In Second Chronicles 7:14, God said, “If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”

This is a program that will cost nothing. Won’t that be different!

Bill Smith

financial adviser

Baton Rouge