The Value of Family Values
Sociologists Sharon K. Houseknecht and Jaya Sastry from Ohio State University examined data collected from four industrialized nations (the United States, Sweden, Italy, and the former West Germany). They focused first on the family structure and then on six measures of children's well-being (academic achievement, child poverty, infant mortality due to abuse, juvenile delinquency, drug abuse, and suicide). The study found that where family decline was greatest, the well-being of children was most threatened. They conclude, "Children are better off when they live in a society in which traditional family patterns are strong."
The Family In America, New Research, March '97, as recorded in AFA Journal, May '97
On March 5, President Clinton issued an executive order banning federal funding of research into human cloning, saying, "Each human life is unique, born of a miracle that reaches beyond laboratory science. Any discovery that touches upon human creation is not simply a matter of scientific inquiry. It is a matter of morality and spirituality as well." Phew! We'd bet a lot of people are sure glad he was only talking about cloning, and not our basic constitutional right to abortion.
Culture Wars, April '97
The Nation's True Hope
Judge Robert Bork observed as a guest on the television program Insights With Robert Novak that the answers to the country's problems do not lie in the political realm.
"One of the difficulties is, you can keep electing conservative congressmen and conservative presidents, but that doesn't affect what happens on university campuses … in the major media … in Hollywood, and so forth," Bork said. "So political victories don't translate into cultural victories.
"It may be that religious renewal is essential to a cultural renewal. There are signs of it, but I can't tell how strong it is and how long it will last. … If it's strong enough and lasts long enough, it can change the moral tone of the society."
Concerning Alcohol …
A false picture
• The $2 billion a year advertising blitz by the alcohol industry promotes the notion that almost all Americans drink, and unless you do, you are out of the mainstream.
However, the Alcohol Research Information Service reports that for most Americans, alcohol is unimportant. In fact, 42 percent are total abstainers. Another 12 percent drink very seldom. That totals 54 percent of Americans who either abstain or drink very rarely. Of countries where such data is available, that is the highest rate of abstinence in the world.
• Some may assert that alcohol does not affect women as much as men. However, according to the US Dept. Health/Human Resources, "Women have higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) after consuming the same amount of alcohol as men and are more susceptible to alcoholic liver disease, heart muscle damage and brain damage."
• Those who market alcohol may claim that more beer, wine, and liquor outlets do not increase drunk driving. However, according to the U.S. Surgeon General's Report, "Availability of alcoholic beverages can significantly affect the extent of alcohol-impaired driving. This applies particularly to bars, restaurants, and other public facilities. Research shows that the majority of alcohol-impaired drivers obtain alcohol at such places."
The Christian Index, May 22, 1997
A proper perspective
For all the focus on illegal drugs, alcohol abuse is the leading factor in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS. Alcohol also is a major factor in unplanned pregnancies and is associated with all the leading causes of teen-age death: automobile accidents, homicides, and suicides.
Commission, May '97
What We Believe
Buoyed by the influence and popularity of TV shows like Touched by an Angel, more than three-fourths of Americans now say they believe that angels exist and have an effect on people's lives, according to a study conducted earlier this year by the Barna Research Group.
But regarding a real Devil, nearly two-thirds (62 percent) said they agreed with the statement that Satan "is not a living being, but is a symbol of evil." Even a majority of Christians (52 percent) said the same thing.
Perhaps the most stunning finding of the survey, though, is the nation's conclusion that there is no such thing as the Holy Spirit. Six out of ten Americans (61 percent) agreed that "the Holy Spirit is a symbol of God's presence or power, but is not a living entity." Amazingly, a majority of all born-again Christians (55 percent) also reject the existence of the Holy Spirit.
The Pastor's Weekly Briefing, May 9, 1997
A Certain Word
"If our world mission means anything, it means the powerful proclamation that no other name, philosophy, religion, scientific world view, or whatever, is ever going to bring anyone to salvation. Never. To say that a sincere Protestant, Catholic, Jew, Orthodox, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Taoist, or animist is going to gain salvation apart from confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior is an unspeakable affront to His blood."
Jim Reapsome, editor, World Pulse, as recorded in Commission, May '97
The United States' 400 mega-churches are the fastest growing congregations in the country. Twelve percent of the 400,000 U.S. churches attract 50 percent of all the churchgoers.
Commission, May '97
Boycott by Pro-lifers Pays Off
Hoechst, the German pharmaceuticals company, has been forced to end its involvement with RU-486, the abortion pill, after U.S. pro-life activists announced a boycott of its products.
Roussel-Uclaf, Hoechst's French subsidiary, said it "could not take the risk" of continuing to produce the drug, which is now sold in Britain, France, and Sweden and allows women to abort an embryo in the first two months of pregnancy.
The company said it will abandon the search for commercial partners to make it under license.
Industry analysts said it is the first time a leading pharmaceutical company has given up the rights to a drug judged by regulators to be safe and effective.
Pro-life activists recently took out full-page newspaper advertisements to urge U.S. consumers not to use Allegra, a recently launched Hoechst anti-hay-fever treatment whose annual sales are expected to exceed $300 million within three years. The campaign is sponsored by the National Right to Life Committee.
The rights to manufacture and market RU-486 in the United States were transferred in 1994 to the Population Council. It still hopes to make it available to U.S. women by the end of the year.
London Financial Times, as recorded in The Washington Times, April 20, 1997.
Increasing Legislative Hostility?
According to one Arkansas state legislator, if you choose to school your children at home, you qualify as a potential radical.
State Representative Jerry Allison, a Democrat from Jonesboro, has campaigned to stop passage of a bill that would allow parents more freedom in educating their own children. The bill, backed by Governor Mike Huckabee, would eliminate scholastic testing for home-schooled children.
Many parents who educate their children at home view such testing requirements as the state's attempts to control home-schooling.
Allison opposed the bill, telling the Jonesboro Sun, "With white supremacists and militia out there, we could be growing a whole new generation of skinheads."
He said he also feared that some children could be "propagandized" to believe only what their parents believe rather than to be educated to think for themselves.
AFA Journal, May 1997
It appears that "Jesus" rubs the Miami Herald the wrong way. The South Florida newspaper refused to run an Easter advertisement submitted by Jesus Fellowship, an 800-member, nondenominational church in Miami.
The church requested ad space on the paper's home-delivery, yellow, polybag used to protect the papers from the elements. However, because the church's name would appear in bold letters, publisher David Lawrence, Jr., would not allow the ad, claiming the title would be "offensive."
After protests, and a visit from the church's attorney, Lawrence offered three free ads inside the paper, but continued to prohibit the external ad. In an editorial, he presented his plight to the readers and asked what they would do in his situation. According to the Herald, response was 3 to 2 in the paper's favor.
In his column, Lawrence claimed, "It seems to me insensitive to many people of another faith to go outside their doors in the morning, expect their newspaper, and be greeted by a bag on behalf of another faith.
"It also seems to me that many Christians would feel exactly the same about that bag on behalf on a non-Christian faith," Lawrence said.
Christianity Today, May 19, 1997