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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Uncivil Behavior

Uncivil Behavior

The headline from the Tuesday, September 15, 2009 edition of USA Today shouted, “What Happened to Civility?” and the front page of The Washington Times on the same date carried the headline, “Whatever Happened to Civility?”

Both papers referred to a series of well known people behaving badly.  Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina made the list by shouting out, “You lie!” during a speech by President Obama.  World class tennis player Serena Williams joined him by screaming threatening obscenities at a line judge during the US Open semifinals.  Even Michael Jordan was included for his bad taste in singling out individuals with whom he disagreed in a speech after being elected to the NBA Hall of Fame!  Not to be outdone, rapper Kanye West barged onto the stage and seized the microphone from Country & Western singer Taylor Swift who had won an award for the best female music video at the MTV awards.  He proceeded to tell the audience that she should not have received the award.

But uncivil behavior is not limited to the powerful, wealthy, and famous.  No, you and I experience it regularly as we hear young people utter foul language at the top of their lungs while walking down the street.  Or we hear it from older folks, who should know better, in a public venue such as a sports arena or a park.  

Commonly, we hear the expression, “Oh, God!” from our business colleagues and neighbors as if God’s name is just a way to emphasize a point.  The Hebrews reverenced God so much that they wouldn’t even say His name out loud.  Apparently today it’s just another slang expression.

What others have observed for several years is that America is becoming a more coarse society with each passing year.  The fact is that young people don’t have any manners unless they are taught them at home.  They certainly don’t learn them in school.  Young men don’t open doors for women and they certainly don’t give up their seat on a bus or the Metro for a woman, no matter the age.  And they are not averse to using any foul word, no matter what company they are in.

Why are we witnessing a coarsening of our society?

Psychologists rush in with all sorts of explanations.  Others make excuses such as foul language is just an expression of our more casual society.  It’s no wonder that year by year it seems to get worse and worse.

Bad behavior doesn’t seem that complex to me.  Few children receive a moral upbringing that helps them to understand that such behavior is not only improper, but wrong.  The more religion is driven out of the public square and the greater the decline in faith and trust in God, the faster public morality and good behavior continue to descend.

Today you and I can swear in public, but praying in public is frowned upon.  Filthy language is protected speech, but the Ten Commandments are banned.  Blasphemous pornography is financed by the National Endowment for the Arts, but children can be suspended from school for praying before they eat their lunch.

The bottom line is that we live in an increasingly immoral society that justifies and defends any kind of behavior, no matter how bad.  The abolition of absolute standards successfully implemented by the moral relativists is reaping a logical result—a coarsening of our society.

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