"Because iniquity shall abound, THE LOVE OF MANY SHALL GROW COLD" (Matthew 24:12)
"THE LOVE OF MANY SHALL
THE "ME" GENERATION
With today's totally selfish & self-indulgent "me generation," this prophecy by Jesus about the Endtime certainly is being fulfilled! Iniquity abounds more than it ever has in world history, & no one can deny that the love between so many people has certainly grown cold. In the U.S.A., 50% of all marriages end up in divorce and one fourth of all children born in the U.S.A. do not have married parents.
The English Sunday Times recently printed this tragic account:
--It was enough to bring tears to any 12-year-old's eyes. His pride and joy, a new £200 mountain bike, the Christmas present his parents had saved hard for, was gone: stolen from his own back garden by a gang of jealous youths. But Dean Pope had another reaction: if you can't beat ’em, join ’em. He turned to his mother Val and said words that broke her heart: "I might as well turn to [stealing], too." A few months later Val Pope got a call from the local police to say her son had been arrested with a gang of other youngsters caught on a shopping spree with stolen credit cards. It was the start of a teenage life of crime that led to arson charges, jail and only ended in remorse last March when his younger brother Daniel, 14, died in a car crash, joyriding, following his big brother's example. The Pope family's case is tragic, but hardly unique.--
Has the love of many people grown cold, as the Bible predicted would happen in the Endtime? Ask almost anyone nowadays, few have any illusions about the good intentions of most people, as witnessed by the increasing number of locks on doors and windows of properties, the apprehension of people to go out in public in big cities—especially at night—The increase of neighbourhood watch committees and people carrying mace & pepper sprays, knives and other weapons of self-defense. Try to accost someone on the street, even to ask them for the way, chances are people will ignore you for fear that you'll mug and rob them!
But how about the love for those closest to us? Has it grown cold too? Consider the following newsclips:
By 1995 21 % of Swedish adults were single, with 41 % of all homes inhabited by just one person and 50 % of all marriages end up in divorce. (Reuters)
In Korea thousands of single fathers who recently lost their job in the Asian Crash, dropped off their children at orphanages or abandoned them entirely! (L.A. Times)
In 1998 in Hamburg Germany a man was discovered sitting in front of his broken TV with the Christmas lights still blinking—He had been dead for 5 years but no one had missed him! (Reuters)
In Spain an elderly woman was found dead. Her family had ignored her for 3 years after she "failed" to show up for 2 of her brothers' funerals! (Reuters)
A psychology student in New York rented out her spare room to a carpenter in order to nag him constantly and "study his reactions." After weeks of needling, he snapped and beat her repeatedly with an ax handle leaving her mentally retarded. (From a website!)
The average of rehabilitating a seal from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska was $80,000. At a special ceremony, two of the most expensively saved animals were released back into the wild amid cheers and applause from onlookers. A minute later they were both eaten by a killer whale.
We spent thousands of dollars to save seals, whales and other endangered species, but ignore the plight of hundreds of millions of orphaned, starving, hit by landmines, homeless, prostituted, glue-sniffing and dying children of humans!
Worldwide, the family as institution is falling apart—if not completely in divorce certainly in effect—as many go their own way to their own job or study and have hardly anything else left in common than "sharing" the same house! Polls show that many children suffer from fear and loneliness, and even commit suicide because of it! What is the reason for all this?
WITHOUT NATURAL AFFECTION
Another related prophetic passage says,
"This know also, that in the last days dangerous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, WITHOUT NATURAL AFFECTION … lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God" (2 Timothy 3:1-4).
(FFT) This predicted cold-heartedness and lack of natural affection manifests itself in many ways. The following news clips highlight just a few:
The evidence continues to mount that the "Me" generation is sorely neglecting its children. In 1960, just 5 percent of children in America were born to unmarried mothers. By 1990, that figure had jumped to 28 percent. Only 7 percent of youngsters under the age of 3 lived with one parent in 1960. By 1990, 27 percent, more than one in four, lived with only one parent. 
Britain is in moral decline as people become more selfish and less public-spirited, according to a survey. The country is less law-abiding than it was 10 years ago, according to 77 percent of people questioned in a Gallup social survey, while 65 percent said the sense of morality was weaker. Almost half--48 percent--of those questioned thought people were more likely to accept antisocial behavior, while 53 percent believed people were more afraid to speak out against wrongdoing. People were also "less likely to get involved" than they were 10 years ago, according to 70 percent, while 72 percent thought the country was becoming more selfish.  The size of the family is shrinking all over the world because women in most countries want fewer children, according to a study to be presented at a United Nations conference on women. 
SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS
Another scripture in 2nd Timothy says that in the last days mankind would be "without natural affection." In the Old Testament times, some of the pagan nations were also "without natural affection," so much so that it was a common practice for mothers to do what the Bible describes as "cause their children to pass through the fire" This was referring to their practice of offering up their babies to the devil-god, Moloch, a huge idol which had moveable arms, hinged at the elbows, & a big yawning mouth with a roaring fire built inside. It was their method of selfishly getting rid of unwanted babies.
Today's methods, in our "enlightened" modern generation, are no less cruel or barbaric. Although modern fetology has made it undeniably evident that human life begins at conception, every year millions of unborn helpless children are murdered within their mother's womb in hospitals & clinics!--God Word says ...
(FFT) The size of families is not only shrinking because people are preventing pregnancy, but the number of abortions worldwide has exploded in recent years. Despite the fact that modern fetology has made it evident that human life begins at conception, worldwide over 30 million unborn children's lives are snuffed out every year. The Bible says,
"In thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: I [God] have not found it by secret search, but upon all these" (Jeremiah 2:34).
A mother's love for her infant has always been considered as pure and natural as can be. The following news clips testify how "without natural affection" our world has become.
Women around the world are having fewer children and are ending more than a quarter of all pregnancies in abortion, according to a study by a reproductive research group. 
"In the world some 33 million abortions take place annually, and if all the illegal abortions are added to this, the total would come to between 40 million and 60 million," says the Buenos Aires morning newspaper Clarin. 
Russia still leads the world in the number of abortions, with more than twice as many terminations as births, [according to the] Interfax news agency.
It quoted demographic experts as saying that 3.5 million abortions were performed each year--225 abortions for every 100 births. The ratios of abortions to births in other countries were 20 to 30 in Sweden, 13 to 21 in France and 5 to 20 in the Netherlands, the agency quoted the experts as saying. 
There are currently 1.6 million abortions carried out in the U.S. each year, representing almost a fourth of all pregnancies. That means that every day in the U.S. over 4,300 unborn babies are killed. It is estimated that more than 46 percent of American women will have had an abortion by the time they are 45. 
Abortion is a $700-million-a-year industry in the U.S.A. Each day, an average of 4,257 unborn human beings are aborted in the U.S., or a million and a half a year. For every five births in the world there are now two abortions. In the former Soviet Union the average woman has four abortions in her lifetime. Ninety percent of first pregnancies are terminated. Every year worldwide 54 million unborn children are murdered within their mothers' wombs.
Although some mothers may have an abortion for genuinely unselfish reasons, still collectively abortion is one of the major sins for which God is going to judge this last generation!
SEE NEWS ARTICLES INDEX NEXT SIGN: FALLING AWAY?
The Brits: single, selfish, secular
The Observer; Catholic World News
They are both single. He lives alone, feeding off takeaways between 12-hour shifts at the office. She is divorced and juggles care for her daughter with a demanding career. Both have taken drugs, both have jobs in financial services and neither belongs to a union. Welcome to the new British way of life.
Britain 1999, published by the Office for National Statistics, shows that the size of the average household is now 2.4, down from 3.1 at the beginning of the 1960s. The proportion of households made up of single people has risen from 14 percent to 27 percent.
Martin Hayward, a social and economic forecaster, says that social, economic and demographic changes have downgraded the family. "In the 1960s, people were married in their early twenties and had three kids, so a huge chunk of their life was family time. Today we are getting married in our late twenties, having one and a bit kids, and then living 10 years longer at the end. We are probably more selfish."
Communications technology has revolutionized the home: 35 percent of households own an answering machine or subscribe to a voicemail service; 29 percent own a computer, 15 percent are on the Internet and 22 percent own at least one mobile phone.
At home, television remains the favorite activity: 80 percent of teenagers have one in their room and 82 percent of households own a video recorder. Two-thirds have a CD player, up from 15 percent at the end of the 1980s.
One in 10 Britons now attends a religious service on a weekly basis, while half never, or scarcely ever, do. In fact, a December 1999 poll by Opinion Research Business found that less than half the population believes in Jesus Christ and 14 percent don't even know who He is. A further 22 percent believe that He is "just a story."
Sweden's lonely hearts club
If you live in Stockholm, it's very likely your neighbor is single. In fact, it's highly likely you are, too. Single people account for two out of every three households in Sweden's capital. The same pattern is obvious nationwide. In 1975, 16 percent of Sweden's adult population was made up of singles. By 1995 that figure had climbed to 21 percent, with 41 percent of all homes inhabited by just one person.
"At the heart of the matter is the great value ascribed to independence (in Sweden)," Ake Daun, Professor of Ethnology at Stockholm University, told Reuters.
After World War Two, the ruling Social Democrats tried to create the ideal society, with a cradle to grave welfare system that opened the way to an individual lifestyle through raised material standards.
Women's liberation, strong in Sweden, played an important role. Another factor was that Sweden has one of the highest divorce rates in Europe, with more than half of marriages likely to end in separation, according to statistics from the EU's statistics office Eurostat.
Abortion clinic owner saved by vision
A man who owned or partially owned 26 abortion clinics in the U.S. has become a Christian and abandoned all ties with the abortion business. Eric Harrah, 30, had made his business providing abortions for the past decade. His clinics were the second-largest group of abortion providers in the U.S., and he estimated that 250,000 abortions were performed there in 10 years.
Harrah attended services at a Pentecostal church every Sunday as a child, but stopped when he was 17. Because of his church upbringing, "I knew that abortion was wrong. I'd say about the last five years I was having serious depression and guilt over my involvement, which led to a cocaine addiction," Harrah said.
Harrah's life was transformed in State College, where he went in 1997 to open a clinic near Penn State University. Massive protests broke out every day after the clinic opened. In August, Harrah prayed for the first time in years, asking God "if what I am doing is so terrible" to send someone to show him the right way. "I was tired of people not being nice to me. I just wanted someone who was nice," he said.
Steve Stupar, an elder at State College Assembly of God, came to the clinic and told Harrah he wanted to pray for him and talk with him. Stupar told Harrah he was there because Harrah had asked God for help. "The hair on the back of my neck stood up, and I got scared and ran back to my office," Harrah said. Stupar returned day after day, even though Harrah refused to speak to him. Eventually Harrah consented to have lunch with Stupar, and in a restaurant Stupar told Harrah he had come to set him free.
Stupar said God had given him a vision of a dinner plate that was full of blue pills with white bands, and asked Harrah if that image meant anything to him. Harrah said he had contemplated suicide a week before, and nearly used a massive dose of pain pills that fit that description to kill himself. "That's when I knew it was time to give in," Harrah said. He made a commitment to Jesus with a local pastor.
Harrah went to Stupar's church the next Sunday, the first time he had been in a church in 11 years. Hundreds of members of the congregation had been praying for him, and they had held an all-night prayer meeting for him the night he became a Christian, Harrah later learned.
The abortion business was "easy money," Harrah said. Doctors make roughly $100,000 a year for performing abortions one day a week at a clinic, and an average clinic that performs 8,000 abortions a year grosses about $1 million, he said. Insurance companies offer incentives to physicians for performing abortions because they would rather pay $2,000 for the procedure than $7,000 for prenatal care, labor, and delivery, he said.
Harrah advises Christians to deal with people who are callused toward God by praying for them, loving them, and treating them kindly. People "came to me and didn't ridicule me or call me names, but reached out to me. It gets through to them eventually. I know, it got through to me."
Japanese schools' authority in recess
Washington Post Foreign Service
TOKYO -- Miss Sato's second-grade class has "collapsed"; one child has broken windows four times, hits other children, walks on the desks, urinates off the veranda and spits on the floor. Another scribbles all over the room and lies down on the desktops; others won't clean up, refuse to listen, fidget and talk nonstop during class.
Many Japanese classrooms that used to be silent, neat hedgerows of obedient learners memorizing their lessons have become chaotic circuses of chattering and unruly students. Teachers accustomed to being the sensei, the unconditionally respected masters, find themselves overwhelmed and unable to cope with the growing student brazenness.
"Collapsed classrooms," where learning stops because of disruptive students, is about the hottest topic these days on television, radio and newspapers here. A survey this week by the Kyodo News Agency found that 44 percent of elementary and junior high school teachers polled reported having witnessed "collapsed classrooms." Many teachers say they are stressed out and overwhelmed--some are close to a nervous breakdown--because of the students' behavior.
"People used to think that this was something that happened only in other places, and that it had nothing to do with our society; but now it is a rather widespread problem," said Tetsuya Chikushi, Japan's equivalent of Ted Koppel.
At a recent student round-table discussion about education, frustrated children were asked what they want in a teacher. Many said they want one who understands them better and is more "hip." One sixth-grade girl said she wants "somebody who can understand very well what children think. Someone who can be like the sun in the sky: full of passion." A junior high school student said he wants "somebody who would take off his tie and play with us, who is approachable."
"Classrooms were once as silent as a vast empty field," said Toshihiko Miyagawa, an education analyst who has studied discipline problems. But now in some cases, Miyagawa said, "one student might announce he has to go to the bathroom while the teacher is talking and half the class walks out with him. Or some children stand on their desk or start playing in the back of the class. And when the teacher scolds them, they start crying or walk out."
Japan may also be experiencing the "little emperor" syndrome that has caused problems in Chinese schools. Japanese parents are having fewer children, and the birthrate has dropped to a historic low of 1.4 children per couple. Those children, especially in an affluent society, are more likely to be lavished with attention and material goods by their parents, resulting in spoiled and selfish kids.
"Yes, our kids are spoiled," said Miyagawa, who believes that busy parents who spend less and less time with children have become reluctant to discipline them.
Educators also say a culture in which children spend highly excessive amounts of time watching television, playing computer games or surfing the Internet also has dulled their ability to have healthy relationships with friends and teachers.
Heartache engulfing Korean fathers
Los Angeles Times
SEOUL -- The economic upheaval now racking South Korea is driving an increasing number of parents, many of them newly single fathers, to resort to drastic measures: They are deserting their children.
Applications for admission to orphanages here in the capital surged nearly fourfold in the past year. About 7,000 parents applied through official channels; others simply dropped off their children and vanished, or took them to private facilities.
Things have grown so bad that social welfare agencies mobilized a "Do Not Abandon Your Family" campaign--a startling concept in this Confucian society where kinship is a supreme virtue.
With the official jobless ranks swelling past 1.8 million--more than 7.3% of the work force, up from 2.7% before the economy crashed in late 1997--desperation is mounting as some parents lose their homes, livelihoods and hope.
The massive layoffs have increased the number of divorces--up 20% in 1998 compared with the previous year, which also saw a double-digit climb--and have altered family dynamics. Men automatically gain custody of their children unless mothers file legal challenges. As a consequence, several social welfare officials and orphanage directors said, it is newly single fathers who are most often leaving their children at orphanages, which house more abandoned children than they do those without parents.
Few of the fathers agree to give up their children for adoption. Instead, they promise to visit and to retrieve their children, as only the parent who signs in a child can do, when things improve. But about four out of five never visit, directors of several orphanages say.
And they say New Yorkers are self-absorbed…
(UPI) New York police are trying to identify a straphanger who was found riding around the Big Apple's subway system--several hours after he died. The NYPD says the dead man was discovered by a passenger who sat down beside him on the train. Officials estimate he had been dead for several hours before anyone noticed. Police believe he died of natural causes.
Germans fret over deaths no one notices
(Reuters) They found Wolfgang Dircks on his sofa in his small Hamburg apartment last month. He had died while watching television sometime before Christmas--five years ago.
No one noticed when the 43-year-old divorced, disabled loner had passed away. No one had apparently even noticed when he was alive.
The lonely death of the retired welder made headlines when his mummified remains were found, but hardly a month passes in Germany without a similar report of an isolated soul having died weeks, months or even years before being discovered.
The ghoulish find in the one-room Hamburg flat has led to a bout of national soul-searching as Germans ask themselves: Has German society really become that cold?
"It's tragic, but unfortunately it happens all the time in an industrial society like ours," said Luebbo Roewer, a spokesman for the German Red Cross in Bonn. "People don't look after one another the way they once did. Families are disintegrating. People don't care anymore."
Sociologists and social workers say that Germans are increasingly living "next to each other" rather than "with each other" and that it is possible for people like Dircks to disappear without being missed.
"I'm sure that there are undiscovered corpses lying in apartments all over Germany right now," said Ralph Kirscht, a former vicar who is now director of a Bonn counseling center. "The disintegration of society is a huge problem in Germany and the social climate is getting worse all the time."
Kirscht said that he once attended the funeral of a travelling salesman who had been dead for three months before anyone noticed. "More and more people are leading isolated lives," he said. "They have no friends, no family. It's perverse that people can die and no one notices. But it happens all the time."
Dead German found sitting at home, five years on.
A dead German sat in front of his television set for five years, the lights on his Christmas tree flashing beside him, and none of his neighbors noticed. "Someone said once that he had gone off to a home, I didn't ask any more," said Monika Majarres, who lived in the same Hamburg block of flats as Wolfgang Dircks, a divorced, disabled loner who died in 1993, aged 43. Other tenants in the 18-flat block minded their own business. The landlords came knocking only after the bank account from which Dirck's rent and bills were paid ran dry. Beside the broken television set and the still twinkling tree they found his skeleton--his TV listings magazine still on his lap and open on the page for December 5, 1993.
Dead and undiscovered.
(Reuters) The corpse of a Spanish woman lay undiscovered in her bathtub for up to three years because relatives, annoyed when she missed the funerals of two brothers who died after she did, had stopped visiting her. The body of the 71-year-old retired nurse was found in her Madrid apartment after neighbors finally persuaded a family member to visit.
Overworked and stressed managers are replacing bosses with personality defects as the main culprits in a spreading epidemic of workplace bullying.
The first nationwide survey of its kind [in Britain], undertaken by Manchester University, follows a string of recent research showing that bullying and abuse at work is becoming more widespread and costly.
"There has always been a small number of psychopathic bullies," Cary Cooper of the Manchester School of Management said. "These people were bullies in the playground and went on to become bullies at work, but what is new is the growing number of overworked bullies, who suffer from stress, can't cope, and so take their anger and frustration out on the people they work with."
The Trade Union Council (TUC) estimates that 5 million people have been bullied at work--usually defined as persistent intimidation, humiliation or devaluing of someone--and 40 percent of calls to its "bad bosses hotline" last winter were from employees complaining about bullying supervisors or managers.
A survey by the Institute of Personnel and Development found that one in eight workers had been bullied in the last five years, usually by more senior staff, and that professional and managerial workers are as likely to be targeted as juniors.
In a 1997 survey of trade union representatives by the public service union Unison, two-thirds said they had witnessed or experienced bullying at work and three-quarters of those said it had affected their physical or mental health through stress or depression.
The IPD says workplace bullying typically consists of unfair and excessive criticism, public insults, repeatedly changing or setting unrealistic work targets, undervaluing of work efforts, shouting and abusive behavior.
The stresses of being a single father
The London Times
"Please don't let it be morning! Please don't let it be morning!" This is the waking prayer of Eric Feeble, a 40-year-old divorced father of two and the star of BBC2's Simpsons-style cartoon series, Stressed Eric. The series captures the everyday catastrophe of bringing up children when you have a job, a house and about 23 hours too few in the day.
Off the television screen there are about 150,000 single fathers in Britain, 17 percent of whom are widowed, 74 percent are divorced or separated and a small but growing number are "never married fathers," decent chaps who are left holding the baby after cohabitation breaks down.
I first met Michael O'Doherty two years ago when his minicab dropped me at a meeting in town. During the journey his mobile phone rang. It was one of his children asking how to cook something in the microwave. His wife had died suddenly the previous year, leaving him with boys of 17, 14 and 7. The mobile was his lifesaver, enabling him to give them tips on everything from where their dinner money was to how to solve quadratic equations.
It was like a soap opera, listening to them, tough but heartwarming, but this was real life. His wife's death had come out of the blue and he had been entirely unprepared for it. He was, he says sheepishly, the kind of man who had never cooked a meal in his life. "A few days after it happened I had to do some washing for the kids and I couldn't open the front of the washing machine. I tried everything. In the end I had to get my neighbor in to show me how to do it."
It is universally acknowledged that the worst aspect of single fatherhood is the loneliness. "Having no one else to talk to," says one, "and having to make all the decisions yourself can be incredibly lonely."
O'Doherty agrees: "Other people might tell you their problems, that they're down or lonely, and you feel like saying, 'You don't know the meaning of the word.'"
Babies are more important than stray cats
John Doggett, WorldNetDaily
In Austin, Texas, a downtown billboard screams, "If We Take Her Life, We're The Ones Who Have Strayed. No Kill. Not Now. Not Ever." The billboard features a gigantic photograph of an adult cat. The Austin chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals sponsors that billboard.
In San Francisco, the SPCA has purchased 12 apartments that are air conditioned, have sky lights, soft rugs and tasteful furniture for stray animals. After some debate, the SPCA also decided to allow homeless people to come to stay with the dogs or cats … because they didn't want the animals to be lonely. However, the humans can't spend the night and can't use the showers.
Last spring, the organization called People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said that civilization would not survive unless Americans stopped catching and eating fish. They stated that since fish had vertebrae and brains, they could feel pain. If they could feel pain, we shouldn't kill them, but PETA has not taken the same position on abortion. In fact, many animal rights activists also support human abortion.
There is something terribly wrong with this picture. Why are so many Americans more concerned about preventing cruelty to animals than protecting baby humans in their mother's wombs? Why don't Americans realize that "a woman's right to choose" really means "a mother's right to kill her baby"? Why do we get upset when two or three children are shot in schools and ignore the 150 babies whom abortion murders every hour of the day? What am I missing here?
Every society in the world treats those who kill babies (who have been born) and children as the most despicable of criminals. However, when we look at abortion, suddenly everything changes … for some people.
When Jessica Smith drowned her baby boys in a South Carolina lake, Newsweek's cover screamed, "How Could She?" When terrorists blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Newsweek's riveting picture of Baby Baugh caused America to cry again. Yet when we hear that 4,400 babies are snatched from their mother's wombs and killed in America each day, most Americans turn their backs on this carnage.
How long would any government last if they allowed criminals to murder 4,400 children every day? How would the world react if eleven 747s filled with babies crashed and burned every day?
The "pro abortion" lobby wants us to believe that when a woman gets pregnant, she is carrying a fetus, not a baby. They also want us to believe that this "fetus" doesn't become human until the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy.
Have you ever been invited to a fetus shower? We go to baby showers to celebrate the imminent birth of a new human. No one says "I'm expecting a fetus." They say "I'm expecting a baby." Doctors, midwives and scientists have proven that prenatal care is crucial to maximizing the health of newborn babies. We even have proof that babies learn to read faster after they are born if their parents talk to them while they are still in the mother's womb.
The SPCA is spending its money to save stray cats. Are we ready to do even more to save baby humans? We want pregnant women to be mothers for life. Are we willing to be adoptive parents for life? Until pregnant women who are thinking about an abortion know that loving adults will adopt every one of their babies, we will continue to live in a world where saving stray cats is more important that saving baby humans.
Ads are a tough sell for abortion
Don Feder, Jewish World Review
Abortion advocates have a tough sell--putting a happy face on death. The National Abortion Access Project is test-marketing a series of print ads.
"Will abortion services be there when you need them?" asks one. It's illustrated with a picture of an attractive young woman who discloses: "When I got pregnant, my best friend said I should 'pay the price' and have the baby. But I knew that abortion was the responsible choice for me."
It's not just her choice, it's also "the responsible choice"--for her. But was it good for her unborn child, too?
Ah, but I forget, it's not a child; it's a choice--unless you want it, at which point the child within somehow undergoes a magical mutation from fetus to baby.
There have been approximately 36 million abortions since 1973. How many women walk into a clinic with the firm conviction that they're making a horrendous mistake? How many will later admit it, even to themselves?
Actually, I talked with one of them the other day. Karen became pregnant at 16. When she had her abortion, Karen was equally convinced that she was being responsible. "I was too young. I was going to college. I had things to do."
Her future included Yale and Harvard Law School, and another unplanned pregnancy at age 19. This child she carried to term and placed for adoption. "It was through carrying this little girl and giving her to a couple that wanted her very much that I began to make my peace with the baby I had lost," Karen told me.
She's now the mother of three who recounts her story in pro-life speeches.
I asked her: "When you discuss your experience, do you ever meet young women who respond: 'I had an abortion, and I'm just fine. No guilt. No post-abortion trauma. Your reaction is your own. You can't universalize it.' What do you say to them?"
Karen replied: "Someday, you may be pregnant with a child that you want. Suddenly, the realization will dawn on you that, other than your own desires, there's no difference between the child you're carrying and the child you once carried."
Perhaps the most revealing pro-choice contribution to the debate was a 1990 column in Newsweek ("Why I Don't March") by Kim Flodin, who also had an abortion at 16 and another a year later.
Flodin admits that she sometimes dreams of her first child romping along the beach, red pail in hand, the waves toying with his perfect feet and the breeze picking up his dark, wavy hair. Flodin wrote, "I was pregnant, I carried two unborn children, and I chose, for completely selfish reasons, to deny them life so that I could better my own."
Try putting that in a pro-choice ad.
The power of intimacy
By Dr. Dean Ornish, The Bottom Line
We all know that love and intimacy affect the quality of our lives. What most of us don't realize is how these affect the quantity of our lives--our survival.
People who are lonely, depressed and isolated are three to five times more likely to develop serious illnesses or to die prematurely than those who have close ties with friends, relatives and community members.
I'm not aware of any factor in medicine--not diet, not smoking, not exercise, not stress, not genetics, not drugs, not surgery--that has a greater impact on our quality of life, incidence of illness and premature death than the healing power of love and intimacy.
When I talk of love's impact on our health, I am not referring to love only in romantic terms. Rather, anything that promotes feelings of love, intimacy and community is healing and makes us whole.
Intimacy is in increasingly short supply today. In the past, most people spent their entire lives in the same towns or neighborhoods, where other people truly knew them and they knew everyone. Now, many people live in isolation.
You can be intimate only to the degree that you are willing to make yourself emotionally vulnerable to someone else. The fear, of course, is that if you open up to someone--if you reveal who you really are and show your true feelings--you might get hurt.
Many people in our culture have no one they trust enough to let down their emotional defenses and share their feelings. As a result, their walls remain up.
Paradoxically, the behavior that many people believe is protecting them is actually threatening their survival.
Fostering trust and civility
The Christian Science Monitor
Stephen Carter, a Yale law professor and passionate writer of books, has devoted his sixth one to civility.
Civility, he says, requires that "we express ourselves in ways that demonstrate our respect for others," and that we recognize the need to sacrifice for others, including strangers. This means we should show "generosity even when it may be costly, and trust even when there is risk."
Carter's new book, Civility: Manners, Morals, and the Etiquette of Democracy, comes as surveys show that many are lamenting the loss of civility in American society. From attack politics to abusive language in music, movies, and everyday encounters; from fist fights on talk shows to road rage; the many facets of incivility seem to heighten the frictions of daily living and further isolate us from one another.
Civility often requires us to put aside our own interests and desires for the benefit of others, he says, which is what civilization is all about.
"A lot of kids are growing up without any formal moral instruction; they get it by osmosis in many different places: They watch TV and learn one unhealthy set of values, which may be reinforced by travels on the Internet, reinforced by what they see in politics, by how they see adults behave toward each other. If these are the messages kids are getting, it's hardly surprising that 89 percent of public school teachers say they regularly face abusive language from students.… That's a very scary piece of data."
Language has power. Carter explores in his book the power of words both to heal and to hurt. "Words can wound, .... the way we use words matters," he says.
He feels that only a religious understanding of the world can counter the prevailing cultural currents. Religion provides the right language--of love and sacrifice—forming the basis for civility.
"People are searching for the way to fill 'the hole in the soul,' as my wife calls it. The market can't fill it, our jobs can't fill it--even our friendships, dear though they may be, can't fill it.... And I don't think we will ever recover civility in the sense of this deep and sacrificial concern for others unless we find ways to fill that hole--to deepen our connection to God."
Some of Carter's "Rules of Civility":
* Our duty to be civil toward others does not depend on whether we like them or not.
* We must sacrifice for strangers, not just for people we happen to know.
* Civility has two parts: generosity, even when it is costly, and trust, even when there is risk.
* Civility creates not merely a negative duty not to do harm, but an affirmative duty to do good.
* We must listen to others with knowledge of the possibility that they are right and we are wrong.
* We must express ourselves in ways that demonstrate our respect for others.
One in four Britons would choose TV over love.
(Reuters) One in four young Britons would rather sacrifice their partner than part with their television set, a survey said. A straw poll of 18-30 year olds by Granada home Technology showed that 24 percent would choose to kick out their partner if given the choice between their loved one and their TV. The poll on leisure activities and spending also said the majority of people in Britain ranked watching TV as their most popular leisure activity, averaging 25 hours viewing a week.
A rising tide of crime
The Sunday Times
It was enough to bring tears to any 12-year-old's eyes. His pride and joy, a new £200 mountain bike, the Christmas present his parents had saved hard for, was gone: stolen from his own back garden by a gang of jealous youths. But Dean Pope had another reaction: if you can't beat ’em, join ’em. He turned to his mother Val and said words that broke her heart: "I might as well turn to [stealing], too."
A few months later Val Pope got a call from the local police to say her son had been arrested with a gang of other youngsters caught on a shopping spree with stolen credit cards. It was the start of a teenage life of crime that led to arson charges, jail and only ended in remorse last March when his younger brother Daniel, 14, died in a car crash, joyriding, following his big brother's example.
The Pope family's case is tragic, but hardly unique. Statistics for England and Wales reveal a staggering increase in crimes committed by young people including, more than ever, girls as well as boys, many of them under 14.
The figures make harrowing reading. One in five young men has committed a violent offence by the time they reach the age of 25. The figure for women is one in 20, but that is little cause for comfort. The number of violent offences committed by girls aged 10 to 17 has doubled since 1981, while the perpetrators of nearly 8% of all violent crimes committed by women are aged between 10 and 13. Among under-25s, 17% said they had at one stage carried a weapon, either in self-defense, or with intent to cause harm. Criminals under 18 are now responsible for 28% of all violent crimes, 40% of burglaries, 11% of drug offences and 33% of criminal damage offences.
But it is not just a native disease. Across Europe there is a spreading epidemic of juvenile crime, evidence of a continent-wide youth underclass growing up outside the law.
Last week the Parisian transport system was brought to a standstill by a strike, sparked not by pay disputes but by the soaring number of attacks on staff, most of them from teenagers. Violence against staff on the Metro and buses rose by a third last year. One bus driver was badly beaten, then stabbed in the leg and stomach after refusing to drop a teenage passenger off between stops.
The Parisian public has been horrified by a spate of gruesome murders carried out by teenage girls. At 19, Florence Rey killed four people in a bungled robbery and car chase. Veronique Herbert, 18, seduced a 16-year-old Tunisian immigrant, then she and her 17-year-old boyfriend stabbed him 39 times--just for fun.
In Germany juvenile crime rose 10% over the past year.
In Russia the crime situation has reached pandemic proportions. The collapse of communism taught a new generation that everything their parents believed in was wrong. Now the crisis in the country's fledgling capitalist economy has further inculcated an attitude of "every man for himself," except that it starts a lot younger.
Interior ministry figures show that crimes committed by minors rose 10 times over the past seven years. In 1996 there were 70,000 crimes committed by 14- and 15-year-olds. By last year, that figure had risen to 87,000.
Even in stereotypically staid Sweden the average age of male criminals has dropped over the past decade from 20 to 15.
A lack of parental control is an intrinsic part of the problem. On a Thursday night 10 days ago, on the streets of Speke, outside Liverpool, a gangly, 5ft 3in 12-year-old was the ringleader of a gang of 10 youths in tracksuits and Reebok trainers, roaming the streets in search of trouble. He stole a car, and with a few hooting pals drove at a speed he later boasted was 140mph, shaking off a police chase before setting light to the vehicle on wasteland.
In the past year he has cost his mother £500 in fines and is not just unrepentant, but arrogant: "She tries to keep me in, but she can't. What can she do? I started getting into trouble when I was about 11, robbing cars. Me mates were all doing it."
The media bears part of the blame too. Rami, a young Tunisian robber, is open about his inspiration: "We have seen films showing how easy it is. You just have to go in and pick up the money. It was easy, too." Before a recent robbery he had watched Menace II Society, a brutal, bloody tale of black teenage gangsters in America, glorifying fast cars, easy money and the psychology of violence. Florence Rey, the young Parisian convicted of murder, admitted to being fascinated by the controversial Hollywood blockbuster Natural Born Killers.
Consumerism is part of the cancer; the wages of sin are sneakers and CDs. Technological advance and Europe's relative affluence have spawned only more toys to inspire envy. The media and marketing cult of youth has focused on one narrow age band--between 15 and 25--squeezing all human aspirations into it, with the old deemed irrelevant and children seen only as consumers.
The 1950s are now seen as the decade that invented the teenager. The 1990s may be judged as the decade that witnessed another, more sinister phenomenon: childhood's end.
Yuppies less likely to bail out parents.
Adult children who earn less than $20,000 are more likely to help out their parents financially than those earning higher salaries. A national study by the Minneapolis-based Lutheran Brotherhood insurance organization found 54 percent of low-wage earners help their parents, while only 40 percent of those earning more than $50,000 do the same. A spokesman said: "Past surveys have told us people who earn at lower income levels tend to donate greater percentages of their income to charitable causes. This kind of generosity … seems to be kind of consistent."
(The Sunday Times)
Actor Richard Todd returned home from London to find that his youngest son, Seumas, had shot himself. The inquest returned a verdict of suicide "while the balance of his mind was disturbed." Todd has written in The Sunday Times about the tragedy, searching for method behind what the law designates as madness. "Since he took his life after only one term at university," he wrote, "I have begun to wonder whether his tragedy is related to the predicament that so many young people find themselves in nowadays, forced to live miserably, unhealthily and in debt in order to achieve a university degree that is no longer even a fairly sure guarantee of employment at any level." The response was extraordinary: a flood of letters from readers writing in sympathy. What makes our society so painful, many asked, that so many young men find life not worth the effort of living?
It's a Sin to Be a Sucker in Israel
Los Angeles Times
Why does an Israeli driver speed up when another car signals its intent to enter his traffic lane? Because he doesn't want to be a freier--a sucker. If Israelis could agree on anything--a highly unlikely prospect--it just might be that the cardinal sin is to be a freier.
A freier is anyone who cedes ground, plays completely by the rules or allows someone to get the better of him. The ideal Israeli is clever and tough, and a freier is the opposite. A pushover--in the way that Israelis often perceive Americans to be.
In Israel the fear of being a freier plays into every aspect of life, from the most mundane task to the peace process with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat. Freiers are naive, apt to fall into a trap. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu beat the Labor Party's Shimon Peres in large part because of Peres' nice-guy image and view that Israel must be generous from its position of strength, giving up land now to gain long-term peace.
Theories abound on the origin of an Israeli's fear of being a freier. Social commentator Stuart Schoffman says it is a response to the Jews' victimization. Israelis built their own state to ensure they would never again be oppressed by the goyim, or non-Jews, and they mean to be strong. Nobody's freier.
To prove he is no freier, an Israeli will argue a point with all his heart and both hands. Even when saying "yes," he will shout as if contradicting someone who already has said "no."
"In London, the culture is to give way, be a gentleman, don't compete," said a former editor. "But an Israeli is the opposite. If you are stronger, why should you give way to someone weaker? In a debate, the British will say, 'You have a point.' In a debate here, no Israeli will admit he has been persuaded to change his mind. That shows weakness," he said.
Americans often find the Israeli attitude intolerably rude. Israelis, meanwhile, find Americans to be the biggest freiers of all. They are naive idealists.
Israelis view rules as something to be challenged. If a sign says "no entrance," Israelis will try the door anyway. If a doctor's assistant says no appointments are available today, an Israeli will keep pushing in the belief that exceptions will be made. Only a freier takes no for an answer.
Americans see used-car dealers as villains and sympathize with the consumer who has been had. But buy a lemon in Israel, and you are at fault. "You were naive and stupid enough to buy the car," one man said. "You were the freier."
Live long and be healthy.
(The Washington Post) The National Institute on Aging says that the chances of living a longer and healthier life can be improved if you: Eat a balanced diet, including five helpings of fruits and vegetables a day. Exercise regularly. Get regular health check-ups. Don't smoke. Practice safety habits at home to prevent falls and fractures. Always wear your seatbelt in a car. Stay in contact with family and friends. Stay active through work, play and community. Avoid overexposure to the sun and the cold. If you drink, moderation is the key. When you drink, let someone else drive. Keep personal and financial records in order to simplify budgeting. Keep a positive attitude toward life.
Foul-mouthed Americans don't have a nice day. (The London Times) A startling national decline in civility in America has prompted calls for a crusade to mend the nation's often foul-mouthed manners and lack of courtesy. The world of the Rude American, where drivers scream at each other in the grip of road rage, workplace wars escalate into violence, and abusive "shock jocks" dominate the airwaves, was examined in detail at a three-day conference at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. A survey showed that nine out of ten Americans believe that the loss of manners contributes to violence. Aggressive driving is responsible for a third of car crashes and two-thirds of the 42,000 annual road deaths, according to government estimates. Antagonisms at work are provoked by worries over cutbacks, long hours, and often intense competition. At their most extreme, workplace wars can erupt into violence. Several frustrated US post office workers have opened fire on colleagues, and the term "going postal" has become an American idiom.
The results are in … and we are not happy
The Baltic Times
Professor Ruut Veenhoven of Erasmus University in the Netherlands has compiled a world database of happiness, measuring life expectancy against subjective life appreciation in 48 industrialized nations.
Sadly, residents of the Baltic states scored among the least cheerful--and they can't blame it on the long, dark winters. Iceland ranked the happiest.
"At least we beat Russia," one Latvian said. "That's all that matters."
10. South Africa
By Dr. J. Allan Peterson, Better Families
Humanity is prone to a negative mental attitude. Society's input is predominantly negative. Our conversations at home accentuate the negative. Research shows that for every one negative thing you say to a child, you must say four positive things to keep the balance. And yet, how quick all of us are to pick out and emphasize the flaws and failures, but how slow we are to praise.
Behavioral researcher Shad Helmsletter concurs: "Most of the everyday suggestions in our society are extremely negative. Violent TV translates into a more violent culture. Sensationalism in the media toward immediate gratification may well have helped spawn the almost immediate use of harmful drugs. A big-city newspaper agreed not to put any suicide stories on the front page for a year. During that period the suicide rate in that city dropped significantly! As soon as the stories reappeared on the front page, the suicide rate jumped right back up to where it had been before. It is also calculated that in an average home from birth until the child leaves home in the late teens he has heard negative comments--'It can't be done,' 'You shouldn't do that,' 'It's impossible'--148,200 times."
What we give out will come back to us. The finest gift we can give another human being is the gift of an excellent expectation. The biblical principle "Give and it shall be given unto you" applies to expressing appreciation.
Loneliness of virtual living.
The more that people use the Internet, the more they tend to feel depressed and lonely, according to a two-year study on the social and psychological effects of surfing in cyberspace. Researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, found that people who spend even a few hours a week online experience higher levels of depression and loneliness than if they surf the web less frequently. "These were normal adults and their families and on average, for those who used the Internet most, things got worse," said Robert Kraut, a social psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon. The study suggested that the interactive medium may be no more healthy than more passive media, particularly television, sometimes disparaged as the idiot-box. Participants in the study used inherently social features such as e-mail and Internet chat more than they used passive information gathering such as reading or watching videos. But they reported a decline in interaction with family and a reduction in their circle of friends that directly corresponded to the amount of time they spent online.
Japan women see "no merit" to marriage.
More than one in four Japanese women in their 20s do not want to get married because they see no merit in doing so, a government research institute said. Among Japanese single women aged 25 to 29, some 27 percent have "no will" to get married, a survey conducted by the Health Ministry's research institute showed. The survey found the women saw "no merit" in getting married. It said 42 percent of the women in the 25-29 age bracket had no boyfriend while 50 percent of the men in the age group had no girlfriend.
Britain on brink of second heroin epidemic.
Britain is on the brink of a second heroin epidemic involving children as young as 10, the government warned. Quoting the home Office, AFP said that cheap and ready supplies and a sophisticated network of drug pushers have led to an explosion in heroin "hot spots" for the young. Youngsters are both smoking and injecting the drug, and unlike the first wave of hardened drug addicts, who were aged 18 to 25, today's new users were reportedly much younger. Most of those identified by police and drug agencies as new users were aged 16 to 18 but a significant number were 14 to 16, and in some areas children as young as 10 and 12 were found using the drug. Many, already familiar with "recreational" drugs such as ecstasy and amphetamines, considered heroin "just another drug," said the report.
Approximately 120,000 West Germans commit suicide every year while another 250,000 are sent to the hospital after unsuccessful attempts, an official of Wurzburg University's psychiatric hospital says.
Armin Schmidtke, who specialises in suicide research, says the number of male suicide deaths in the country is double that of female suicide deaths, but women double men in number of suicide attempts.
He estimated that among every 10,000 men in West Germany, 27 would die by suicide, and 160 would attempt it. The corresponding figures among women are 12 and 300.
One in 5 children is 'mentally ill'
As many as one in five [British] children and teenagers suffer from some form of mental ill health including behavior problems, with one in 10 needing professional help, a survey claimed. The study of four to 20-year-olds is part of a three-year £1 million research project by the Mental Health Foundation.
June McKerrow, the foundation's director said: "Our study shows that the nation's children, the country's most important resource, are failing to thrive emotionally. This represents a serious threat to society and is an issue that must be addressed immediately."
The report defines mental ill health in a range from truancy and disruptive behavior to bed wetting and aggression, from delinquency to anorexia nervosa, depression and other serious problems like substance abuse.
By these measures 23 percent of adolescents aged 16-19 have some kind of mental health problem; 12 percent suffer from diagnosable anxiety disorders; 10 percent from disruptive disorders; 6 percent from bed-wetting and substance abuse depending on age, and 5 percent from attention-deficit disorders.
Children become exposed to drugs at 12-13.
(BBC.) The key age at which children become exposed to drugs is 12 to 13, according to a survey of school pupils in the U.S. Researchers at the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse have found that while few 12-year-olds know how to obtain illegal drugs, a year later this picture has changed radically. "In no other year does a child's access to drugs and attitude about drugs shift so precipitously," said Joseph Califano, President of the center, based at Columbia University, New York. Researchers found that three times as many 13-year-olds would not report a drug-using friend as their 12-year-old counterparts and they were three times more likely to know where to obtain drugs such as cannabis and cocaine. Spending more time unsupervised by adults, socializing more with other teenagers and experimenting with alcohol and tobacco all become more prevalent at 13 and all are factors likely to lead to greater exposure to illegal drugs.
Saint Teresa Goes Home
"She was an incredible person," President Clinton said of Mother Teresa.
I disagree. Bill Clinton is an incredible person. Mother Teresa was perhaps the most credible person on the face of the earth. One can only wonder what her departure from this earthly plane might mean for the fate of the world. After all, God has taken home the world's leading exemplar of moral authority, courage and obedience. She has left us at a time when there is arguably more spiritual confusion than at any time since the Tower of Babel.
Is there a message to mankind in the proximity of the deaths of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa? Both have touched the lives of millions around the world, but, despite the fact they both had hearts for children and the poor, their lives reflect a sharp contrast.
Diana, partying until the end, died an untimely death at the age of 36. She is said to have been dabbling in the occult and New Age philosophies and considering a conversion to Islam. Even after being booted from the royal family, she lived on a stipend of $11 million dollars a year. Apparently that was not enough. She was considering marrying an Egyptian mega-millionaire. No wonder she was an icon in this age of moral relativism, muddled thinking and misplaced priorities.
Mother Teresa, on the other hand, never rested, wavered or wallowed in self-pity once she was called by God during a train ride in 1946.
"The message was quite clear," she said. "I was to help the poor while living among them. It was an order."
What she achieved, with God's help, during the next 50 years should be as illustrative of His power in our times as any Biblical teaching. Without using government to coerce other people to pay for her work, she set up programs for the impoverished in more than 90 countries--including some effective ones right here in the wealthiestland on earth.
She established orphanages, slum schools, hospices, homeless shelters, mobile health clinics, centers for the malnourished, rehabilitation centers for lepers, homes for alcoholics and drug addicts, AIDS clinics. This was not symbolism, it was substance. Her accomplishments would seem to be impossible, if it were not true that, with God, all things are possible.
She started her order with 62 sisters in 1957. By the time she won the Nobel Prize, she had attracted 1,800 nuns and 120,000 lay workers, running more than 80 centers in India alone and more than 100 others worldwide. Four years later, 4,000 nuns and novices were members of her order, 400 priests and brothers and hundreds of thousands of lay volunteers had joined her work at more than 450 sites.
Politicians and government bureaucrats could learn much from her simple teachings. The poor "don't need pity, they need love and compassion," she explained. "If you don't know them, you don't love them and don't serve them."
This was no starry-eyed dreamer, either. The Nobel Committee honored her as much for her managerial skills as for her devotion to the poor. A Red Cross observer once said: "What stunned everyone was her energy. We didn't expect a saint to be so efficient." Even after she was stricken with heart ailments and old age, this 4-foot-11-inch dynamo never tired, never compromised her beliefs, never backed down from her faith.
In accepting the Nobel Prize, she remained politically incorrect: "To me the nations with legalized abortion are the poorest nations. The greatest destroyer of peace today is the crime against the unborn child."
In 1994 she appeared at the National Prayer Breakfast with President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and Attorney General Janet Reno. What did she tell them?
"Do not abort the children ... give them to me!" she said staring into their eyes. There was no question whom she was lecturing. She refused even to be seated with the Clintons and Gores.
During coverage of her death, I heard her referred to on CNN as the world's most well-known "humanitarian." She wasn't a humanitarian; she was a God-itarian. No human attributes can possibly explain her devotion to helping the helpless--only her complete submission to God's will.