From the January 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

Call of Duty

Talk about a cash cow. When the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was released last November, it sold 4.7 million copies and raked in more than $300 million—on its first day. Even Hollywood was left shell-shocked, and no doubt slightly jealous. The largest opening in movie history was The Dark Night, which grossed a paltry $158 million over three days.

Filled with graphic violence, including a controversial five-minute scene where the protagonist slaughters scores of innocent people in a crowded airport, Call of Duty was advertised as an “emotional journey” into the darkest corners of human behavior. Although it’s rated for “mature” audiences, Call of Duty, like the incredibly popular Grand Theft Auto, has a special appeal to male teens and children, and will assuredly fall into their hands.

Over the years, more than 3,500 scientific studies have investigated the relationship between media violence and violent behavior. Of these studies, noted Northern Illinois University Prof. Mary Larson, only 18 “failed to find a relationship between the two” (Watch it! What Parents Need to Know to Raise Media-Smart Kids).

Call of Duty’s extreme success clearly shows that the scientific evidence proving a correlation between violent media and violent behavior has fallen on deaf ears.

Global Shoplifting Spree

Rather than go without, a growing number of affluent shoppers are resorting to shoplifting to obtain the luxury items they can no longer afford to buy.

“The global recession isn’t just making jobs scarce and tightening spending—it’s also turning more people into thieves,” reported Time. “A growing number of new shoplifters are outwardly reputable, middle-class people who are walking off with French cheeses, quality meats, cosmetics, mobile phones, clothing and other goodies that they feel they need to maintain a quality of life they can no longer afford” (Nov. 11, 2009).

The results of the global survey, documented by the Britain-based Center for Retail Research in its annual Global Retail Theft Barometer, revealed that shoplifting, or product “shrinkage,” jumped almost 6 percent in the past year. Historically, the increase has been around 1.5 percent per year. “Though the problem was documented across all regions,” Time noted, “the steepest increases occurred in North America (8.1 percent), the Middle East (7.5 percent) and Europe (4.7 percent). In terms of total losses, retailers in North America topped the charts at $46 billion, followed by Europe’s $44 billion and $17.9 billion in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Beyond the obvious economic impact of this trend lies a broader, more ominous reality: The moral compass of a growing segment of the middle class is severely skewed. These shoplifters aren’t stealing out of “necessity,” to feed their families. They’re not homeless, nor are they organized criminals stealing for resale. These are middle-class people with money in their wallets, cars in their driveways and kids at home.

Without moral integrity guiding our actions, there is nothing humans won’t do. History shows that for a society to be stable, its citizens must respect law. Rules must be followed, or lawlessness and ultimately chaos prevail.

Where will this global shoplifting spree end? If a person has no qualms about stealing cheese, or a few clothes, what else is he unafraid to do? Moreover, if large numbers of people see no problem with shoplifting when they have money and the shelves are stocked, what will they resort to when times really get tough, when the shelves run dry and the money runs out? Sadly, this increase globally in shoplifting by affluent people is merely a harbinger of more lawlessness and chaos just ahead.

Long-Term Relationships Lead to Healthier Babies

Researchers at Auckland University in New Zealand have found that women in long-term relationships have healthier pregnancies and babies. The scientists found that women who had been with the same partner for at least six months had fewer undersized babies and a lower rate of preeclampsia, or pregnancy-induced hypertension.

According to the Telegraph in Britain, the “experts believe that the reason for the healthier birth is long-term exposure to the biological father’s sperm which boosts the immune system” (Nov. 13, 2009).

Sex Education Compulsory

Last November, the British government announced that beginning in 2011 sex education will be compulsory for students who reach age 15. Under the news laws, parents will lose the right to withdraw their children from sex education classes. Even private schools run by religious organizations will not be allowed an opt-out.

The new laws will also affect younger children. “Under the new curriculum,” reported the Times in Britain, “pupils as young as 7 will learn about puberty and the facts of life, and 5-year-olds will be taught about parts of the body, relationships and the effects of drugs on the body” (Nov. 5, 2009).

The notion of educating children about sex and the human body is not wrong. But a morally bankrupt educational system usurping parental rights and responsibilities is! That parents will be forced by law to send their children to government-sponsored sex education is diabolical. In The Missing Dimension in Sex, the late Herbert Armstrong wrote, “One of the greatest sins, crimes, tragedies of this world’s society, is that great sin of omission—the neglect of parents to teach their children. Not only about sex. Most parents neglect to teach their children—period!” This law will only exacerbate this problem.

Ideally, sex education belongs primarily in the home, meted out by responsible parents over time, in a manner commensurate with the developing maturity of the child. “It is the God-required duty of every parent … to properly teach and inform their children of the facts of sex,” wrote Mr. Armstrong.

Before parents can educate their children on this subject, however, they must themselves have a proper understanding of family and specifically the purposes for sex, and its pivotal role inside marriage. To gain this understanding, and if you’d like assistance in fulfilling your role as your child’s primary teacher about sex, request your free copy of The Missing Dimension in Sex.

Youth Unemployment, a Social Time Bomb

Britain has become infamous for its problem with hoodlumism among young people. British newspapers are replete with stories of drunken “ladettes,” brawling gangs, beatings, knifings, and a general spiraling rise in thuggish, uncivilized behavior. And it could get worse.

Last fall, the government released figures showing youth unemployment is worsening. The rate of unemployment among 16-to-24-year-olds reached a record 19.8 percent in November, with the number of youths drawing government benefits nearing 1 million. Britain’s youth unemployment rate is the worst in Europe.

“Having so many young people idle is a social, as well as an economic, problem of critical proportions,” noted the Telegraph (Nov. 11, 2009). A “social time bomb” is about to explode in Britain, noted Telegraph columnist Edmund Conway in a separate article. “Study after study has shown that youngsters who cannot find work are far more likely to enter permanent joblessness than someone who has already been in the labor market” (Oct. 29, 2009).

An idle mind is a playground for trouble. Lacking purpose and the means of expending their energy productively, these young people have plenty of time (and a reasonable amount of money, thanks to government handouts) for pursuing selfish, carnal interests. Many drink, party and revel; others get together and roam the streets, rankling families and the elderly with their boorish, often dangerous behavior. Crime rates rise. Incidents of violence increase.

Wise King Solomon wrote, “He who cultivates his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless people and pursuits will have poverty” (Proverbs 28:19, Amplified Version).

Young people are a valuable resource in any nation. Every family’s responsibility—and even a task of a responsible government—is to cultivate the next generation of men and women into productive members of society. British families and leaders are failing in this area. The result, as the proverb says, will be poverty—economically, morally and socially.