America ’s Moral Decline. The Handwriting Is On The Wall

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America ’s Moral Decline. The Handwriting Is On The Wall

The United States sees itself as a land of religious, even God-fearingpeople. Americans say they are strong believers in the Ten Commandments — and think they are more so than some other Western countries. Yet, the judgment of Godis hanging over the nation. Why?

A Gallup survey taken several years ago found that Americansin overwhelming percentages said the Ten Commandments "applied fully" to themselves:

•You shall not kill. 93 percent said it applied personally.

•You shall not steal. 93 percent aid it applied to them.

•Honor your parents. 90 percent.

•You shall not bear false witness. 89 percent said it applied to them personally.

• You shall not covet your neighbor's wife. 89 percent.

• You shall not commit adultery. 87percent said it applied.

Studies show 95 percent of Americans professed a belief in God. About 70 percent say they are church members and 60 percent claim to attend worship services at least once a month. About 69 percent of Americans feel their important life decisions have been specifically guided by God. Americans from all walks of life and in overwhelming numbers view themselves as God-fearing people and readily claim to accept one of the oldest and most influential ethical codes known to man — the Ten Commandments. Majority stands for morals. Then, how can someone presume to say that God's judgment for sin, evil or immorality is hanging over the United States?

Numerous Americans are distressed about the moral and ethical condition of their nation. Newspaper and magazine articles as well as books are published, laced with obvious moral overtones and sense of moral backsliding. People mourn a lack of direction and America's diminished commitment to moral standards. Humanly speaking, Americans are wrestling with the same concerns as people all over the world. Trying to make ends meet. Worrying about health. Feeling pangs of tension about the latest round of fighting in Central America or the Middle East. They know the world is a jungle, full of problems that could potentially ignite World War in and cause the virtual extinction of the human race. They are fretting about overcrowdings, traffic jams and the state of the environment; they are against poison gas, and apartheid, terrorist hijackings and people starving in Ethiopia. But there's something profoundly wrong with America. It's a fundamental attitude toward God — one that admits belief in the divine, but does not do what God says.

Americans strongly endorse the Ten Commandments — but they tend to situation ethics. As one article on the subject put it, “Americans are strong on religionbut weak inmorality”. The paradox is clear: Religious concerns are up; morality is down, as religion is growing in importanceamong Americans, but morality is losing ground. Opinion polls show that Americans tend to base values and morality not on the Ten Commandments, but on their own yardstick of what is right and wrong, often flip-flopping the two.

One newsmagazine-sponsored poll found that out of every 100 adult Americans:

• 24 admit tocheating on their income tax return.

• 20 admit to lying once in awhile to boss, colleagues, members of their family.

• 33 admit to calling in sick when they're not.

• 18 admit to padding expense accounts.

• 22 feel justified in stealing from an employer under some circumstances.

Now, these might be considered insignificant lapses of personal morality by some. But many are very disturbed by murder, child abuse, illicit sex, graft, injustice, the casual nature of American sexual practices among young people. More than one half of America's youths have had sexual relations by age 17. Each year about one million babies are conceived out of wedlock resulting in about 400,000 abortions and almost 500,000 illegitimate births. Single parenthood often leads to poverty, to unsupervised children, to gangs, to drugs, to violence, to crime. Stealing is a violation of the Eighth Commandment. Out of every 10 prospective retail workers, three admit stealing from a previous employer. There's one form of "cheating" Americans are particularly known for (cheating is a euphemism for adultery). Various authorities estimate that 65 percent of husbands and 55 percent of wives commit adultery by the age of 40. Yet, almost 90 percent of Americans say adultery is always wrong. And there is the catch – almost always wrong – their situation excepted. They hardly practice what they preach. Drug use has become endemic throughout the society. It’s estimated that perhaps 80 percent of all Americans will try an illicit drug once before they reach age 25. Alongside this problem, drunkenness is a national disgrace, street crime and white collar crime is staggering. Business crime – from multimillion dollar insider trading scams to petty pilferage by employees – has made America a land of naked greed.

America demands other nations act morally, but while the U.S. tries to peddle the “American way of life” to other nations, its own sins and immorality are too clear to the rest of the world. America sounds righteous; its people quote the Bible at various ceremonies and occasions. Even presidents refer to it regularly. Entertainers publicly give God credit for their talents. Still Americans worship God as they see fit. Can Americans see their hypocritical double standard voiced by the prophet Ezekiel? “…with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain” (Ezek. 33:31). In God we trust is printed on American money. But the reality of American life is ugly. If a nation does evil its days are numbered. But God does not punish out of spiteful anger, what matters is a deep and lasting spiritual-ethical change in the moral landscape. It’s time to bring actions in harmony with God’s law as a humble example for others. Make a start.

                                                                                                                                     P. Kroll

Practicum 6.8

Translate the italicized parts of Text 6b into Russian

Practicum 6.9

Practicum 6.10

III. Communication Practice


You are a team of spin doctors at a brainstorming session, talking through the main points of an upcoming TV talk for a promising American politician. He is to talk on the international image

PROGRESS TEST 6 (part 1)

Review Expressing Likes & Dislikes strategy in the situations to follow:

After a long flight across the Atlantic a representative of the American air carrier approaches you to ask a few questions for a qualitative survey. The company is interested mostly in what you liked about this travel experience and if there are things you would like to change

- about the products and services offered. They treasure business travelers and are anxious to know more about European attitudes and values trying to make their travel experiences the smoothest and most rewarding

- You are a respondent of a opinion poll, which focuses on relationships with people of the opposite sex (not necessarily romantic ones). Working in a group of other respondents of the same sex, you need to brainstorm features that you do like in a person of the other sex and what you really dislike.

The admin board of your company is conducting a poll of the staff to reveal their likes and dislikes about their working experiences. The questionnaire lists a few categories to navigate respondents. You are to assess and comment on:

boss / top management; political climate; culture; compensation / benefits / rewards; duties / responsibilities; peers; customers; facilities; stress level; tasks / projects / activities; travel

PROGRESS TEST 6 (part 2)

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