Archive for November 2007

If They Don’t Know How to Blush

November 20, 2007

If someone asked you to describe the biggest difference between America now and America, say, thirty five years ago, what would you say? Many of us might think first about the technological revolution, which took us in one generation from “albums” to iPods, and gave us instant access to the world. Some might call to mind the extraordinary growth of immigrant populations that has made Los Angeles, e.g., the fourth largest Spanish-speaking city in the world. Still others might point to the transformations wrought by feminism, materialism, the Civil Rights movement, or the so-called “Religious Right.”

But statistics point to another, and much more disturbing difference . According to USA Today, seventy percent (70%) of American television shows feature sexual content, and the top-rated teen shows average almost seven sexual scenes per hour. Several studies indicate that about sixty-five percent (65%) of teenagers admit to having sex before they finish high school. In an average week, eleven million adults visit pornographic websites, and fully twenty percent (20%) of all Americans view magazines, movies, or videos featuring sexual content. And an astonishing thirty percent (30%) of Americans studied say they have had sex on a first date. We often say the “sexual revolution” began in the 60’s, but American culture now has a sexual climate we could not have imagined a generation (or even a decade) ago.

Forget the statistics, just open your eyes and ears. A recent movie (“Forty Year Old Virgin”) plays on the idea that an unmarried male virgin is somehow abnormal. Meanwhile, prepubescent girls grow up emulating Britney Spears, whose shtick consists of one part music and nine parts sex, and Paris Hilton gets famous without even the one-part music! Closer to home, just look at what they’re wearing (or, rather, not wearing) at school, at the mall, or even at church. And not just young people.

A pastor-friend back east relates that in preparing for a teaching session on the Bible and sex, he asked for questions, among which was this-“Why on earth would you say pornography is wrong?” The questions, he said, reminded him of “a passage tucked away in Jeremiah.” Me too. The passage is Jeremiah 6.15 (also 8.12), where the prophet confronts our times:

Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,” says the LORD.