Thursday, January 06, 2005

Social Issues

Equally Hurt [1 John 2:15-17; other topics - Equality, Godliness, Roles, Sexes (Battle of), War (Cultural)]

A survey by MSNBC, September 1999, [1] asked the following question: are men really miserable? The survey offered four possible responses:
  • You bet. They're expected to live to an impossible set of standards. (17%)
  • No way. Men are just fine the way they are. (7%)
  • It's all the feminists’ fault. (7%)
  • Men and women have been equally hurt by a culture that values fame, power, and money above all. (69%)
The survey accompanied an article by Susan Faludi, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Male, Wm. Morrow & Co., on how culture conspires to make men miserable. [2]

What I see revealed in the results of this unscientific survey is a lack of awareness and sensitivity on the part of the shakers-and-movers of our society, something seemingly not lacking among the general populace. I'm beginning to see that most Americans aren't as stupid or as relativistic or as materialistic as most politicians, entertainers, educators, media gurus, and society mucky-mucks make them out to be.

Clearly, most respondents are aware that we all share the blame for the appalling condition of our culture and that fame, power, and money are not the answers.

[Adapted from [1] approx. 5,300 responses as of 9/15/99; no margin of error was given, if any. [2] MSNBC, 9/15/99]

Nonetheless [Psalm 49:16-20; other topics - Evil, Perseverance, Regeneration, Tribulation]

The shootings at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, Texas, reminded me of something I read a few years ago.

Wm. Bennett, Ronald Reagan’'s Secretary of Education, in a speech to the Heritage Foundation, shared a discussion he had with a Washington DC cab driver. The cabby, a native of Africa, was in the nation‘s capitol doing grad work; he told Bennett when he finished his studies he was going home, where it would be safer for his kids. He said he didn't want his daughter viewed as a piece of meat; he also said he didn't want his son to be " the target of violence from the hands of other young males." He said, "It's more civilized where I come from!"

This is the opinion of an African man concerning the greatest nation on earth.

Bennett also relates how a young Polish girl, here on student exchange, said, "When I first came here, it was like going into a crazy world, but now I am getting used to it." She compared the two countries in this way: "In Warsaw, we would talk to friends after school, [then] go home and eat with our parents and then do four or five hours of homework but now I'm getting used to it. I'm going to Pizza Hut and watching TV and doing less work in school."

Bennett says, "Something has gone wrong with us." [1]

The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators points out that during the last 30 years our population has increased 41%; gross domestic product tripled; while social spending rose from $144 billion to $787 billion ... a five fold increase.

Those figures sound good, don't they? Well, during the same 30 year period, we experienced a 560% increase in violent crime; a 400% increase in illegitimate births; a quadrupling of divorces; a tripling of children in single parent homes; a doubling of teen suicide; and a 75 point drop in SAT scores. [2]

None of this is encouraging news ... but we do have Good News; our voices just need to be heard [Romans 10:14, 15]. Who will go and tell them!

One young man tried to tell the shooter at Wedgwood, but it was too late and it cost him his life. Perhaps, as we reflect, we should wonder who our neighbor is and who we know that hasn’t heard the Good News while we still have time?

"Those who trust in their wealth, and boast in the abundance of their riches." [Psalm 49:6] surround us, yet they arena’t the shooters. Nonetheless, their intense and sin-filled materialistic, greed is the reactant that seems to send the shooters over the edge.

[Excerpted from "America's cultural decline," William J. Bennett, AFA Journal, April, 1994 … 16, 17[1]; Ibid [2]]

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