Porn - On Christian College Campuses
A study conducted by the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families reveals that 80 percent of students at Christian colleges and universities have been exposed to pornography. Among this 80 percent, the average age of first exposure to pornography was 13. Although the overwhelming majority of these students said that pornography viewing damages relationships and is a sin against God, 42 percent felt inclined to view the material a second time. One student who participated in the study commented of pornography, "We (Christian students) are the same as any other college students in the sense that, because we're human we have those drives. Before you know it, you crave it. If we aren't careful we can let it get control of us."
Only 9 percent of the students gained their first exposure to pornography via the Internet. However, that trend is rapidly changing as the popularity of Internet pornography has skyrocketed, becoming a $1.5 billion business annually. Forty-one percent of those surveyed admitted to intentionally viewing a pornographic web site. When males only were considered, 68 percent were found to have intentionally visited pornographic web sites. According to Barbara Steffens, Vice President of Victim Assistance and Faith Outreach at the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families, with the increasing amount of pornography on the Internet, a growth in pornography use among young people is very likely. "There is so much more pornography easily accessible to young people today," said Steffens. "If we did this study again when today's children are in college, we would probably find that the initial age of exposure is much younger, possibly eight years old."
In response to this problem, all of the colleges participating in the survey are currently using blocking or monitoring software and Internet use policies in an attempt to prevent students from accessing pornography on school computers. According to the study, however, this does not solve the problem. Of the 98 percent of students with Internet access, 24 percent admitted violating their school's Internet policy and 54 percent know someone who has. Additionally, 15 percent said they have attempted to bypass a filtering program on school computers, while 40 percent said they know someone who has attempted or succeeded.
Commenting on the study, one freshman at a Christian college said, "In the dorm of my Christian school, you can go into any room and see porn."
Corruption of the Lambs
"I just put my hand over her face at bad parts. She's not usually frightened by movies like this. I guess it is because we watch them so often."
A mother commenting on her recent decision to take her eight-year-old daughter to see the movie Hannibal, an R-rated film that graphically details the cannibalistic atrocities of serial killer Hannibal Lechter.
Baptist Press, February 16, 2001
A survey conducted by Portrait of America reveals that only 51 percent of Americans would vote for the U.S. Constitution if it were on the ballot today. Twenty-two percent said they would vote against the Constitution while 27 percent were not sure. The survey also reveals that although a bare majority of Americans (56 percent) believe the Constitution is the best way to run our country, 37 percent feel it needs to be updated to reflect major societal changes of the past 200 years.
When asked whether the government holds to the Constitution, 48 percent of respondents said they believe the government violates its charter on a regular basis. Only 35 percent of Americans believe the government operates constitutionally. Respondents further expressed their distrust with government when 63 percent said they believe politicians are using the Constitution as an excuse to ban school prayer. Only a quarter of the population thinks political leaders really believe such prayer is banned by the Constitution.
Portrait of America, July 20, 2000
When God's People Stand
Citizens of Fayette, Alabama have won a major victory against pornography. When Movie Gallery, the nation's third-largest video retailer, recently announced plans to open a store in Fayette, citizens became concerned about the store's history of selling pornography. Movie Gallery owns almost 1,000 stores in thirty-one states, and offers hard-core pornography from back rooms in 200 of those stores. The rental chain also rents soft-core pornography from the main floor area in many stores.
However, when the video chain revealed its intentions of coming to Fayette, city officials and local churches cooperated to take immediate action against the sale of pornography in their community. Fayette Mayor Ray Nelson says that church leaders vowed to continuously picket the store if it did, in fact, sell pornography. Initially the company was reluctant to heed the community's warning, but Nelson explains that the chain has now decided not to rent pornography in its Fayette store.
Mayor Nelson says, "It's just a matter of principle and convictions and [a willingness] to stand up, and that's what our people have done here in our community. We said 'No,' and it was through the grass-roots efforts of our people ... and our pastors and churches that we've won this victory."
AgapePress, April 3, 2001
The Value of Religion
A survey conducted by the secular research group Public Agenda reveals that the majority of Americans believe that there would be less greed, materialism, and crime in the country if more people were religious. Respondents also said that religion is the best way to strengthen moral values, increase volunteerism, and strengthen the family.
The poll additionally showed, however, that Americans are wary of the influence a specific religion could have in politics and schools. Fifty-three percent said they prefer a nonsectarian moment of silence to actual prayer in school. Seventy-four percent said they think political candidates who talk about their religion are saying what they think people want to hear. Fifty-four percent though said it would be a good idea to increase government funding for religious groups offering programs to help the homeless and drug addicts.
Among the evangelical respondents (24 percent of those surveyed), 84 percent said Satan is behind the fight against religion in public schools. More than two-thirds of evangelicals said there is prejudice against them in society.
ReligionToday News, January 11, 2001
When Man Plays God
A study funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes has recently dismayed advocates of fetal cell implantation. In one of the first controlled studies of fetal cell implantation, scientists used forty Parkinson's disease patients from the ages of 34 to 75. All of the patients underwent surgery where doctors implanted fetal cells in the brains of some and left the others without any implanted cells. The devastating findings of the study were that some fetal cell recipients experienced tragic side effects that cannot be undone. Researchers discovered that the treatment had no benefit at all for patients over sixty. Some of the younger patients did benefit from the procedure. However, for 15 percent of the recipients, the outcome was worse than the disease. Unfortunately for these patients, scientists have no way of reversing the horrible side effects.
After a year of apparently doing well, these patients began to writhe, jerk their heads uncontrollably, and throw their arms about involuntarily. Researchers point to excessive dopamine production by the new cells as the reason for these problems. Dopamine is the brain chemical that is depleted in Parkinson's sufferers, and according to researchers, the cells appear to have grown too well, producing excessive amounts of the chemical. The scientists have no way bringing the dopamine levels back down.
Paul Greene, one of the researchers and a neurologist from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, said the results are "absolutely devastating" for the five patients who cannot control their movements. He continued, "They chew constantly, their fingers go up and down, their wrists flex and distend. It was tragic, catastrophic. And we can't selectively turn it off."
One man now has to be fed through a tube because he can no longer eat. Another periodically becomes unintelligible during the day when the side effects, which in his case come and go, set in.
In a major setback to advocates of such procedures, Dr Greene said, "No more fetal transplants." He continued, "We are absolutely and adamantly convinced that this (fetal cell transplantation) should be considered for research only. And whether it should be research in people is an open question."
This study also serves as a major setback for advocates of stem cell research. Admittedly, scientists have a much clearer idea of the quality and quantity of the tissue in stem cell research. However, the basic theory is the same - seed the brain and encourage regeneration.
The Guardian, March 13, 2001
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the Madison, Wisconsin school board voted in February to hire a full-time counselor for gay and lesbian students. This puts Milwaukee in a category with Minneapolis, Boston, Seattle, and San Francisco as some of the cities to have specific counselors directed toward homosexual students. District officials say that the counselor will work with district departments to make them more inclusive and will help gay and lesbian students with their problems in coping with harassment and ignorance from other students. The goal of the counselors will be "to improve the academic achievement, emotional security, and personal acceptance" of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and staffers, and to be "a source of support and information to all students."
The idea to appoint a counselor for homosexual students initially came from OutReach, a Madison gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender advocacy group. OutReach Executive Director Debra Weill told the school board, "It has definitely been needed here for some time, but honestly it has been needed in probably every school district in the country."
Weill continued, saying that other students often make derogatory comments about homosexuals and their lifestyle. She commented, "Far, far too often, teachers and administrators do little or nothing to reprimand students or call attention to the fact that the behavior is wrong."
At the same meeting several parents and clergy members voiced moral opposition to the proposal. However, Barbara Stinson, a Madison mother of two whose children graduated from the district responded, "I have a problem with Christianity used as a veil for hateful words. This is a safety issue. If straight people don't stand up, this will never be anything more than a 'we-they' issue."
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 27, 2001
In a revised policy entitled, "Children, Adolescents, and Television," the American Academy of Pediatrics is offering new recommendations to help pediatricians address the possible negative effects of television viewing on children and adolescents. The policy lists violent or aggressive behavior, substance use, sexual activity, obesity, poor body image, and decreased school performance all as potential effects of television viewing on children.
In response to these negative effects, the Academy recommended that pediatricians lead efforts to provide better programming for children such as letter-writing campaigns to local television stations and TV turn-off week projects. The recommendations also include a proposal that hospitals screen the content of television programs they allow their younger patients to watch so that violent or sexual content does not upset hospitalized children.
Additionally, the recommendation says that if children do view inappropriate television programming, parents can use the experience to talk with their children about issues like drugs, sexuality, and violence.
Press Release from the American Academy of Pediatrics, February 5, 2001
"Teens who formally vow to remain chaste — and keep their vow — are moral extremists by definition. It is possible they got that way because they signed a formal pledge to stay away from sex. But it is even more possible that they signed the pledge because they're moral extremists."
The New York Daily News, "The Waiting Game," January 7, 2001
Attack on Biblical Authority
According to U.S. News & World Report, King David may not have actually been a man after God's own heart. Instead, the magazine says "a sudden burst of scholarly research is recasting King David in a less than exemplary light." U.S. News & World Report lists several assertions it claims are based on Scripture and archaeological data:
• "If David existed at all ... he was little more than a tribal chieftain, not the powerful military ruler described in the Bible; the same goes for his son and successor, the wise King Solomon."
• "David was hardly the flawed-but-noble hero depicted in the Scriptures. He was more likely a ruthless, homicidal scoundrel whose legend was later embellished and sanitized to give a demoralized people a much needed folk hero."
• "It was during the reign of David, and possibly of his successor, that much of the Old Testament was written, including the Torah, the first five books of the Bible and traditionally ascribed to Moses; the authors more than likely were priests of the royal court who sought to legitimize David's dynasty by foreshadowing it in Scripture."
U.S. News & World Report, March 19, 2001
According to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, teens whose parents have established rules in the house have better relationships with their parents and a substantially lower risk of smoking, drinking, and using illegal drugs than the typical teen. In its evaluation of "hands-on" versus "hands-off" parenting, the study found that teens whose parents set boundaries for them and spend time communicating with them ("hands-on") are at one-quarter the risk for drug abuse than those living in "hands-off" homes.
Teens living in "hands-on" households have parents who consistently take ten or more of the following twelve actions:
• Monitor what their teens watch on TV
• Monitor what their teens do on the Internet
• Put restrictions on the CDs they buy
• Know where their teens are after school and on weekends
• Are told the truth by their teens about where they really are going
• Are "very aware" of their teens academic performance
• Impose a curfew
• Make clear they would be "extremely upset" if their teen used pot
• Eat dinner with their teens six or seven nights a week
• Turn off the TV during dinner
• Assign their teen regular chores
• Have an adult present when the teens return home from school
The survey additionally found that despite the stereotype that teens don't want their parents to establish rules, 47 percent of teens living in "hands-on" households reported having an excellent relationship with their fathers and 57 percent reported an excellent relationship with their mothers. Only 13 percent of teens with "hands-off" parents reported an excellent relationship with their fathers and 24 percent reported an excellent relationship with their mothers.
CNN.com, February 21, 2001