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CULTURE DIGEST: 25,000 teens rally in San Fran. against ‘virtue terrorism’; book examines Pa. Intelligent Design trial

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Declaring that a “reverse rebellion” is afoot among American teenagers today, more than 25,000 of them rallied in San Francisco March 24-25 against what they consider the “virtue terrorism” propagated by an immoral culture.

“We’re sick and tired of pop culture telling us it’s cool to sleep around, dress like tramps, get high on drugs and alcohol, and behave badly,” 18-year-old Amanda Hughey from Orange County, Calif., said. “Life is not MTV, and if we continue to live like we’re starring in those outrageous music videos, our generation is doomed.”

The rally, called a “Battle Cry for a Generation,” was led by Ron Luce, founder of Teen Mania, one of the nation’s largest youth organizations.

According to a March 27 news release, Battle Cry organizers noted a study by the Parents Television Council that said 73 percent of boys and 78 percent of girls ages 12 to 19 watch MTV, which glamorizes drug and alcohol use, sexual promiscuity and violent behavior. The cable network airs an average of nine sexual scenes and more than eight uncensored profanities per hour.

Also alarming is a report by Family Safe Media that 80 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds have had multiple exposures to hard-core pornography, and a Heritage Foundation report that said 8,000 teenagers contract a sexually transmitted disease every day.

“It’s virtue terrorism and teens have had enough,” Luce said. “The media and retailers who peddle this garbage for the sake of cash and controversy are doing so at the expense of our kids.”

At the Battle Cry rally in San Francisco, teens gathered at AT&T Park to hear Christian speakers and music groups urge them to stand up to the wave of negative influence threatening to take down their generation. Luce challenged youth pastors to double the size of their groups in the next year.

But the mass of pro-virtue youth was not entirely welcome in the city that granted marriage licenses to homosexuals for a period in 2004.

“They’re loud, they’re obnoxious, they’re disgusting, and they should get out of San Francisco,” California Assemblyman Mark Leno said of the teens when he spoke to a gathering of counterprotesters.

The city’s board of supervisors took official action against the rally by passing a resolution condemning the “act of provocation” by what it called an “anti-gay,” “anti-choice” organization whose goal is to “negatively influence the politics of America’s most tolerant and progressive city,” according to a report by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Two more Battle Cry rallies are scheduled for Detroit and Philadelphia. For more information, visit www.battlecry.com.

BOOK EXAMINES DOVER EVOLUTION TRIAL — “Traipsing Into Evolution,” the first book published as a critique of the federal court decision in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case regarding Intelligent Design, is now available.

The book, written and published by scholars connected with the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, examines what the authors consider a “textbook case of good-old-American judicial activisim.”

Judge John E. Jones ruled the teaching of Intelligent Design unconstitutional in the case, but Discovery Institute says his decision “was based upon faulty reasoning, non-existent evidence and an elementary misunderstanding of intelligent design theory.”

“The Dover trial was hardly the final word in the debate over evolution,” Casey Luskin, coauthor of the book and public policy expert at Discovery, said. “Mark Twain once allegedly refuted his own obituary proclaiming that ‘the report of my death was an exaggeration.’ Traipsing Into Evolution disproves similar exaggerated reports from Darwinists about intelligent design in the wake of the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision.”

Intelligent Design posits that human life is so complex that it must have been designed by a higher intelligence but does not name a designer. When the Dover school board decided that students must be told about the existence of Intelligent Design along with other theories, some science teachers refused to implement the policy.

Jones ruled in December that Intelligent Design may not be taught to science students in Pennsylvania public schools because it violates the Constitution’s Establishment Clause prohibiting government endorsement of religion.

MORE AMERICANS CLASSIFIED AS ‘BORN AGAIN’ — The proportion of adults who fall into the “born again Christian” category based on their beliefs is at the highest rate ever measured in The Barna Group’s 25-year history.

“The same tracking survey shows us that people’s faith is not at all deep, but at least more people are becoming attuned to the importance of the life, death, resurrection and message of Jesus Christ,” George Barna said in a March 27 news release.

Barna found that 45 percent of all adults met the criteria the research group uses to classify people as “born again,” meaning they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today and believe that when they die they will go to heaven because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus as their Savior. The adults classified by Barna as born again did not necessarily attach that label to themselves.

In 1983, the number of born-again Christians was just 31 percent of the total adult population, Barna said.

“The percentage hovered in the 36 percent to 43 percent range from 1992 through 2005, [but] the current figure represents the largest single-year increase since 1991-1992,” The Barna Group reported.

“Faith is a progressive journey, so we are hopeful that the recent surge in the number of adults who say they have committed themselves to following Jesus Christ is the first in a series of steps toward maturity in their faith and relationship with Christ,” Barna said.

Evangelicals represent 9 percent of the adult population, non-evangelical born again adults make up 36 percent, notional Christians stand at 36 percent and adults aligned with other faiths comprise less than 10 percent of the population, according to Barna.

For the complete report, visit www.barna.org.

IRD NAMES NEW PRESIDENT — James Tonkowich, the former managing editor of Chuck Colson’s BreakPoint, has been tapped to lead the conservative Institute on Religion and Democracy, based in Washington, D.C.

Tonkowich succeeds Diane Knippers, who died of cancer last April shortly after being named one of Time magazine’s 25 most influential evangelical Christians.

IRD was founded in 1981 to reform the political witness of America’s churches, especially in the mainline denominations.

“Because Christ’s Church is one, renewal in any part of the church causes the tide to rise for all churches,” Tonkowich said. “Similarly if any part of the church is diminished, we all suffer.

“The work of the IRD in seeking to restore accountability, theological integrity, and a vibrant social witness in the mainline is a benefit to all Christians,” he added, citing religious freedom and the defense of marriage as two of the more urgent issues in current society.

    About the Author

  • Erin Roach