America’s pop culture is now a worldwide phenomenon. The music, movies, television programming, and assorted entertainmentsenjoyed by Americans–especially young Americans–are quickly carried around the world in a global cultural exchange that is nowleading to a cultural backlash.Wednesday, January 26, 2005
America’s pop culture is now a worldwide phenomenon. The music, movies, television programming, and assortedentertainments enjoyed by Americans–especially young Americans–are quickly carried around the world in a globalcultural exchange that is now leading to a cultural backlash.
In some parts of the world, locals have had just about enough of the immorality celebrated and broadcast through
American entertainment and pop culture. Former judge Robert Bork pointed to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 as onesignificant illustration of the problem. As soon as the wall came down, American rock music, blue jeans, and sexualityflowed into the formerly Communist nation of East Germany. “You almost began to want to put the wall back up,” Borkremarked.
As Scott Galupo of The Washington Times explains, “If there is one proposition on which Western European elites
and radical Islamists, American social conservatives and snobby latte town aesthetes all seem to agree, it is this: Americanpopular culture is a subversive thing.”
Radical Islamic leaders have been watching these developments for some time. Sayyid Qutb, one of the most significantfounders of radical Islam, was offended by the gross immorality he detected in America during a visit in the 1940s. AsGalupo relates, Qutb thought he saw the essence of American culture at a church dance held in Greeley, Colorado. Thesesupposedly committed Christian believers danced as a disc jockey played the racy classic, “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” Qutbsaw the dance as a repudiation of modesty, decorum, and religious devotion. “The dancing intensified,” he wrote. “Thehall swarmed with legs . . . . arms circled arms, lips met lips, chests met chests, and the atmosphere was full of love.” Ifthis kind of immorality happened at church, Qutb reasoned, one could only imagine what took place in other parts of theculture.
Later, Osama Bin Laden would portray the United States as Islam’s enemy in a “war against God.” From one
perspective, it is almost as if America planned a calculated effort to offend moral principles around the world. We are a netexporter of pornography, sexually explicit entertainment, celebrated violence, and lawlessness. Political Islamists lookingfor moral ammunition to use against America need look no further than statistics related to adultery, premarital sex,divorce, illegitimate births, and other phenomena.
Even as America’s parents now see our national culture as increasingly toxic to our children, we are reminded that
others are concerned about their children as well–and the world is watching.
Those looking for absolute proof that our culture is coming increasingly unhinged need look no further than the
February issue of Consumer Reports magazine. For years, Consumer Reports has been the trusted adviser to America’sconsumers on everything from vacuum cleaners to automobiles and microwave ovens. Now, it has published an analysisof birth-control options that includes abortion and offers a buyer’s guide to condoms. “Long gone are the days when therewere just a few, well-known contraceptive choices,” the magazine declared. “Today’s options include rings, patches, andIUDs. Older contraceptive drugs are being used in ways that include emergency contraception, which is stillmisunderstood.”
The Consumer Reports analysis could have been written by agents for Planned Parenthood. The magazine celebrates
virtually all forms of birth-control devices, and confuses technologies that claim a contraceptive effect with truecontraceptives.
Interestingly, the magazine seems particularly keen to advocate the use of IUDs [intrauterine devices]. “This highly
effective method of contraception has never recovered from the 1970s,” the magazine relates, “when the Dalkon Shieldintrauterine device turned out to put users at major risk for fertility-destroying pelvic infections.” Nevertheless, “today’sIUDs have an excellent safety record, allow women years of ’set it and forget it’ contraception and can be less expensiveoverall than other birth-control methods.”
Of course, IUDs are not contraceptives at all–at least not in a legitimate use of the term. The word “contraception”
implies the prevention of conception, the fertilization of the egg by the sperm. The IUD does not prevent fertilization andconception, however, but prevents the successful implantation of the fertilized egg within the uterine wall. In order todisguise the fact that this is not a contraceptive device at all, the term has been redefined so that “contraception” is nowbroadened to mean not only the moment of conception, but successful implantation in the womb. In other words, the IUDis an abortifacient, not a contraceptive.
In other sections, the magazine celebrates the development of new hormonal medications that are “not your mother’s
birth-control pills.” Furthermore, the magazine urges women to disregard concern about the use of hormonalcontraceptives. “Women used to fear that hormonal contraception increased the risk of cancer, but it now appears theopposite is true. Long-term studies involving thousands of women have established that having taken the pill reduces therisk of ovarian and endometrial cancer by 40 percent or more. Nor do modern birth-control pills increase the risk of breastcancer.”
When it comes to condoms, Consumer Reports offers a wealth of information and advice. In the magazine’s view,
condoms are to be preferred over many other technologies simply because of the added “benefit” of preventing orinhibiting the spread of infective disease. Without going into unnecessary detail, we can report that the magazine reviewedmore than twenty different brands and varieties of condoms, ranking them in terms of price, special features, and strength. Many readers were no doubt surprised to be informed that one Web site offered condoms in 55 different sizes.
The most shocking portion of the Consumer Reports analysis covered abortion. “Women having an abortion in the
U.S. can choose one of two methods,” the magazine specified: “the so-called abortion pill or a surgical procedure.” Thoseseeking legal abortions should first date the pregnancy, usually by ultrasound. Armed with this knowledge, the magazinethen advised women to consider as options the drug-induced abortion that “completely expels the pregnancy in more than90 percent of users, usually within a day,” or a surgical abortion, described as “the standard surgical abortion method inthe U.S. for pregnancies in the first trimester, when 88 percent of legal abortions take place.”
This is a truly chilling analysis offered in the cold and dispassionate language of a consumer review. Describing
“Mifeperex,” the American brand name for the infamous abortion pill, RU-486, the magazine specifies that, if used withinthe first seven weeks of pregnancy, the drug “causes the developing embryo to detach from the uterine lining, but not tobe expelled from the woman’s body.” The article goes on to identify a second drug, Cytotec (misoprostol) as the drugnecessary to force the woman’s body to expel the embryo.
Absolutely devoid of moral context, the magazine’s analysis is presented as if abortion is simply another consumer
option. Dealing with surgical abortion, usually known as “suction curettage,” the magazine describes the procedure in thisway: “The cervix is enlarged to a diameter of about a half-inch, either by the use of dilating rods or the drug misoprostol. The uterine contents are sucked out using a manual or electric pump while the woman is under local anesthesia. Somewomen may have cramps afterward, and also intermittent bleeding for a week or two.” Note carefully that the unbornbaby is referred to as nothing more than the “uterine contents.”
As a final insult to human dignity, the magazine ranks “comparative risks” related to abortion and pregnancy. “In the
U.S., the fatality risk with mifepristone is slightly less than 1 per 100,000 cases, compared with 0.1 for surgical abortion at8 weeks or less. Pregnancy itself carries a fatality risk of 11.8 per 100,000.” In other words, following the logic of thismathematical analysis, pregnancy is much more dangerous than abortion. Of course, the magazine’s twisted analysis isconcerned only with the life of the mother. The unborn child is not even deserving of mention.
The birth-control analysis offered by Consumer Reports offers a unique illustration of how America has changed over
the last several decades. A significant moral and cultural barrier is crossed when matters of life and death, focused onmatters of sexuality and birth-control, are presented as little more than consumer choices.
For all too many Americans, one birth-control method is simply as good as another. Concerns about the dignity of
human life and the sanctity of sex are simply disregarded in a headlong rush to sexual fulfillment. Sex is turned into aplayground of excitements while birth-control methodologies are presented as consumer choices to be treated as littlemore than products available on the open market.
The logic of this worldview is now clear. Sex is stripped of its moral context, abortifacient birth-control methods are
repackaged as contraceptives, condoms are ranked by strength and special features, and abortion is presented as just onemore option–but an option even safer than pregnancy.
This is the face of America to the world. This special issue of America’s most respected consumer magazine represents
an undeniable illustration of America’s moral confusion and increasing decadence. Furthermore, it ranks as furtherevidence of this culture’s increasing regard for the dignity of human life.
Observers, both foreign and domestic, looking to gauge the moral climate of America and its influence in the world,
will watch closely. Those who see America as a net exporter of immorality, sexual license, and amoral lifestyles will nolonger need to hold up Penthouse, Playboy, and the racy men’s magazines–they can just hold up the February issue ofConsumer Reports.
Content Copyright 2002-2010, R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
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