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Archive for Friday, September 15, 1995

SATURDAY COLUMN

September 15, 1995

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What is happening, or perhaps the better question is, why are so many questionable things taking place in our country today?

Various reports indicate there are more acts of violence. There seems to be far less civility among the general populace. Americans are becoming increasingly litigious. The idea of identifying many athletic events as "sports" is a joke because it is nothing but big business. Some are trying so hard to be politically correct and not offend anyone that they have come up with a new version of the Bible. Personal conduct and behavior that for years was looked upon as sinful or wrong now is being pushed as acceptable, in fact, promoted as a perfectly normal way of life. Drug abuse and excessive alcohol consumption apparently are on the rise. Various reports say a growing number of Americans see nothing seriously wrong in cheating. The president of the United States and his lieutenants are trying their best to pit one segment of our society against another, such as the young against the elderly, the rich against the poor, minority groups against the majority and others.

It is not a healthy situation, nor does it bode well for this country.

Years ago, "intercollegiate sports" represented the best in athletic competition. Today, sports pages carry stories almost daily of athletes charged with or convicted of criminal actions, and far too often of some type of physical abuse of women. What is going on? Could it be that the pressure to "win" is causing too many coaches to compromise values in the types of young men they recruit and, during the recruiting and sales process, make the young athlete believe he can demand or have most anything he wants? When they arrive on campus, they have far more advantages than most students -- special tutors, delicious meals, nice housing and other aspects of a pampered and special life.

Why wouldn't it be natural for athletes who receive such treatment to think they can get by with or will be excused for misbehavior?

Granted, there are many top-flight, hard-working, appreciative and deserving young men in big-time collegiate sports, but, unfortunately, the actions of a few can color the entire picture.

There probably were "bad actors" 50 or 100 years ago in major college sports, but it is highly questionable whether there were as many as today or whether the "bad actions" of past years would in any way compare to what is happening now.

What does it say about the habits or morals of the young people today, those in college who are supposed to be this nation's future leaders, when numerous Kansas University housemothers will acknowledge that a large number of the women who live in sororities during the week spend their weekends in the men's fraternity houses?

Some will say, "Get with it; times change." But is this a sound, legitimate excuse or justification for such personal behavior?

What are this country's moral standards today? Are there any rules or guidelines? Or is anything and everything accepted, and anyone who differs looked upon as being totally out-of-date and old-fashioned?

Should cheating be tolerated or encouraged? Here, again, how much cheating is going on at our nation's colleges and universities? There is no attempt to hide the fact that all types of materials are available to help students cheat on examinations. There are some who question the need for this nation's military academies, and there may be legitimate reason to investigate some facets of these service academies. However, the honor code at these schools does stress "honor," and cheating is not tolerated. It is too bad "honor" and discipline are not a distinguishing feature at our colleges and universities.

Go to a professional football "game" or a professional basketball game, and there is little to distinguish the "athletes" and spectators from those at gladiator events in Roman days. How much more violent will professional sports become before there is some kind of public reaction or rejection that will cause these games to change.

The rewriting of the Bible must be the most outlandish example yet of "political correctness." As pointed out in a recent USA Today editorial, God now is the "father-mother," children are supposed to "heed" instead of "obey" their parents, Christ is "human one" or "child of God." The "human one" dying on the cross says, "Father-Mother, into your hands I commend my spirit."

Not to offend left-handers, the new Bible changes references to the "right hand" of God to the "mighty" hand of God.

What's next in an effort not to offend anyone?

Compare today's standards of behavior with what was expected of our parents and grandparents. If these standards have slipped or been lowered so far in such a short period of time, what will be the behavior and conduct of the populace 25 or 50 years from now.

It is not a pleasant prospect, but perhaps conditions and personal behavior will have to sink to an even lower level before there is any groundswell to reverse the trend and start expecting people to measure up to higher levels of personal conduct.

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