Three Rivers Stadium
The scene was the well known landmark in western Pennsylvania known as Three Rivers Stadium with a lot of glorious history since its construction in the early 70's. Pittsburgh's baseball team, the Pirates, had won World Series championships and its equally famous Steelers, with their famed "steel curtain," had won 4 Super Bowls in NFL football competition.
But now the day of doom had arrived for this edifice which over the years had been the scene of thousands of fans cheering the Pittsburgh teams on to victory during baseball and football seasons. On a bright sunny Sunday morning in February 2001 crowds had again gathered in the area of Three Rivers Stadium but were kept some distance away from the home of the Pirates and Steelers. Suddenly at a highly publicized moment things began to happen. Cameras focused on the structure began recording flashes of light and small clouds of dust erupting within the stadium. Finally section after section began to collapse until there was a pile of unsightly rubble and a gigantic cloud of dust rising from the scene. The whole episode, from the first detonation until the the highest level was brought to the ground, was about 12 seconds!
Weeks prior to this moment demolition crews had been busy drilling holes in main support columns and elsewhere within the stadium. The holes were filled with special designed explosives for projects such as this and then joined together by an elaborate wiring system. The explosives were detonated in a timed sequence in order to determine the desired result of keeping the collapse confined. One reason for this was that the newly constructed baseball park was standing very close by!
The Three Rivers Stadium demolition is a powerful symbol of our United States culture and what has been happening particularly over the last 40 years -- namely, that we are imploding our culture by unrestrained destruction of the young. Just as it began with some detonations within the doomed stadium which eventually caused it to totally collapse, so cultural "detonations" have weakened the moral, ethical, and spirtual support columns of our society bringing it virtually to the brink of collapse.
Consider, then, the factors which are contributing to the ongoing progressive destruction of the youngest members of our society:
Family Breakdown: The studies, the stats, and the surveys have been repeated again and again setting off an alarm which sends a clear doomsday message! One series of investigations has confirmed this tragedy of family breakdown in what is titled, Leading Cultural Indicators 2001 (1).
Mass Media Influence: TV has already been mentioned in the context of its negative influence on the family which is the basic social "building block" of our culture.
We are now producing what can appropriately be called the 3rd generation which is being raised on a diet of concentrated TV! In the early 50's TV was still in a relative state of innocence. But as time progressed higher standards were abandoned for lower and lower standards. There was a time when there was no profanity, nudity, nor detailed sexual activity portrayed, and violence was kept to a minimum. The same was true in the movie industry. But we who are older have seen changes that can only be described as a suicidal plunge into a moral, ethical, and spiritual cess pool, with the descent taking us to a such a level that we have to look for a long distance upward to see the surface! Only a fool would deny that thousands of hours of exposure to the many visual images of human depravity are going to have a very negative impact upon the young. In the process of absorbing this decadent diet they adopt a value system which can only steer them on a path toward disaster.
As the TV and movie industries have greatly increased their influence on the young, so the church has been losing its influence on the young. There was a time when whole families were deeply involved in the life of the church, but as time passed Sunday Schools found less and less people involved and worship attendance dropped as well. True, there are some exceptions, but at the national level, church involvement is definitely not what it used to be. God revealed a long time ago that the young were to be the focus of instruction and training which would result in their awareness of Who God is and what one's responsibilities are in relating in an acceptable way to God. One main reason for this critical emphasis was the fact that there would be hazards which would distract the people and in future times of prosperity they could easily become victims of idolatry and fail to teach their young, who in turn would also turn to idols and forsake the living God Who was their source of life, security, and hope! (2).
Breakdown of the family is obvious also from the increase of what are described as "single parent households" due to higher divorce rates or the increased number of single females who become pregnant but do not marry the fathers of their children. Children reared in such circumstances have a far greater number of problems than do their peers who in homes where both parents are residing together as husband and wife. Complicating this matter further is the organized aggressive efforts by the same gender coupling movement to gain acceptance and approval from both state and church so that 2 females or 2 males raising adopted children will be considered "family" also! Literature and audio visual materials are already being introduced into some school systems to brain wash children into believing that homosexual/lesbian couples raising children is just as "normal" as heterosexual couples raising children!
God has defined clearly what constitutes a family beginning with the establishment of the institution of marriage consisting of a man and a woman becoming "one flesh." (3) Never once is it stated that 2 males or 2 females shall be joined together and become "one flesh!"
Public Education: The public school system at one time had a heavy emphasis on core values which were in agreement with Judeo/Christian principles. Such values were often woven into the curriculum which was being studied. School sessions were opened each day with readings from the Bible and praying the Lord's Prayer. As you know, just a few decades back God, for all practical purposes, was "expelled" from school by a Supreme Court ruling. This and other rulings under the guise of "separation of church & state" issues basically came down to telling us that talking to God in a public school and reading His Word are "no-no's" that simply cannot be tolerated. However, it became permissable and even strongly encouraged to teach our young how to have "safe-sex" and to distribute condoms so they can be properly "protected!" God's rules on human sexuality were of course rejected with kids being encouraged to make up their own "rules" in life -- and whatever you do, DO NOT refer to those archaic Ten Commandments(5) because they no longer apply. To further add to the growing chaos in the public school systems of this republic an agressive agenda promoting the same gender coupling lifestyle as quite acceptable is being pushed by those who live and advocate that way of life. The goal of course is to "educate" children into accepting as "normal" that which God clearly condemns. (6).
The TV and movie industries are a prime source of inspiration when it comes to the young expressing themselves in acts of violence! While the issue of standards has been raised from time to time, little is being done to stem the constant spewing forth of vulgarity, sexual immorality in many forms, and excessive detailed slow motion violence which is marketed under the guise of "entertainment!" One of the most shocking messages the young are receiving and by which they are conditioned to respond is that you settle your differences with other persons through some act of violence! It is well documented that something very undesirable has been happening in recent years in which more and more of our young are resorting to violent acts as the means of resolving the frustrations they are experiencing. But then, why should we be surprised -- after all, the "entertainment" media have been conditioning our young folks since they were born to act violently when someone does something to them which they interpret as wrong, unjust, and unfair!
The music industry has also gone through a significant change over the past 50 years. Some may remember that the music in the late 40's and early 50's even had popular songs that had a distinct religious theme such as "He," "I Believe," etc. Then entered something called "Rock & Roll" and a descent in the quality of music from which we have never recovered. Themes of violence, vulgarity, and sexual immorality became dominant with the young soaking this putrid stuff up as would a dry sponge becoming saturated with water!
The gaming industry in recent decades has also made a significant contribution in the progressive destruction of the young. Computer technology has made possible the availability of games in hand held units, a hook up to the TV, or on a computer itself. The world of the Internet opened up almost unlimited possibilities of playing games with opponents hundreds if not thousands of miles away. The common theme of the majority of these games is violence in one form or another. There is the constant splattering of blood, brains, and guts in violent conflict! Now then a question to ponder: if you keep pressing those buttons or clicking that mouse long enough and every time you do, there is a "kill" of some kind with very realistic graphics for impact, are you not going to be a bit more inclined to express yourself violently due to the suggestive "seeds" of violence being planted in your mind and conscience over a period of time?
The print, radio, and TV news media have not had the most positive influence on the young, especially in the reporting of the acts of violence which involve the young themselves. It is the constant repetition, the reviewing again and again of the course of tragic events, and an occasional pretended "pious" moment of expressed concern that "something should be done" which creates the ideal conditions for copycat incidents to take place. A tragedy that is more than equal to that of a young person violently taking the lives of others is that of the media officials who sit in positions of power and have demonstrated their callousness by being more concerned about ratings and revenue bucks than any real compassionate concern for the health and welfare of the young! Kids killing other kids under any circumstances, especially if a gun is used, are the biggest headline grabbers going these days! There is absolutely nothing that can match it. The message sent out as the media sharks keep feeding on these happenings is one that tells other kids that they too can be the center of attention for days if they simply imitate what has happened, or if imagination will permit, do it in a bigger and different way -- a way nobody else has yet attempted!(4).
Not only are the young being encouraged to ignore the moral standards set in place by our Creator, but they are further being brain washed into believing that humans are the center, measure, and ultimate authority of all that has to do with our existence, life's purpose, and future destiny! The term for this is "humanism" and its range of influence is far greater than any of us would want to realize. One book that brings this whole issue together in an interesting way is titled, "Seven Men Who Rule the World from the Grave." Once one begins to dig into it one can easily see why it did not make a best seller list for weeks on end. It clearly traces the cancerous "roots" of a humanistic view of our world, how that view has permeated our culture, and presently dominates it!(7).
A deadly ingredient in this mix of anti-God human centered philosophy is the focus on "self." The final result is that our young major on "self" first with everything and everyone else getting into line after that! When you get a society which contains a growing number of persons becoming more and more self centered you will have a society becoming more violent due to the increased number of persons who live by a "me first" attitude! The foremost authority on human behavior, Jesus Christ, made some statements as to how we are to handle the self issue as well as informing us concerning the real root cause of all human problems in this world.(8). The Scriptures explicitly indicate that as human history comes down the home stretch and the return of Jesus Christ draws near, there will be perilous conditions facing Christians due in part to concentrated self-centeredness on the part of masses of the world's population!(9).
Peer Pressure: Everyone wants to be liked, to be accepted, and to be popular. No where is this more obvious than in the first 12 years of school experiences for the young in our culture. Sadly, more often than not, there seems to be a "herd" mentality that determines what is the "in" thing in terms of what are the "right" clothes to wear, the "right" music to which you listen, the "right" TV shows and movies to watch, the "right" places where you hang out, the "right" activities in which you become involved, and the "right" behavior patterns you exhibit, etc. The behavior patterns seem to be very much dictated by the "herd" with the result being that smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, doing various drugs, and engaging in sexual activity are exciting and daring things to do. And if you are going to be a part of the "in" crowd and be a popular person, you participate without objection. To object is to risk expulsion and ostracism, and no one wants to be rejected by the "herd" -- that's worse than the end of the world! A news release in late 2000 expressed alarm over the fact that many young teenagers were engaging in oral sex with the belief that they were not really "having sex!" One shocking revelation was the influence of former President Clinton in these escapades. The kids told school staff members that the president (Clinton) did it and he said it wasn't really "having sex!"(10) But then again, should we really be shocked or even mildly surprised?
Shedding of Innocent Blood: The last area and the one that is completely impossible to grasp when it comes to the destruction of the young is the systematic and violent elimination of 41 million or more unborn children since January 22, 1973. A violent act is cold heartedly and callously done each time the beating heart of an unborn child stops beating no matter the procedure followed -- whether you talk suction machine, saline solution, dismemberment of arms, legs, or head from torso, or the barbaric puncture of the skull/suck out the brains procedure on a child just seconds away from being born!
What seems so often to be missing (or is it intentional avoidance?) is honest and open consideration as to how our society would have profited if the victims of the United States' Holocaust had been permitted to live. What discoveries might they have come up with? Would one or more of them been instrumental in discovering a cure for cancer? Possibilities are virtually unlimited as to what might have been accomplished by this group -- but then, we'll never know, will we?
Yes, it must be conceded that some of the 41 million would likely have been a liability -- becoming a social problem of one kind or another. But then, even now we have people behind prison bars who were born into what were nothing less than circumstances of "privilege," and who were provided with all the means to better themselves, obtaining college and graduate school degrees. But they still messed up and ended up on the wrong side of the law just as much as any lawbreaker who had been born into poverty, slum, and deprived conditions! There are some persons serving prison sentences who hold graduate school degrees, are there not?
What has happened that even within the ranks of those who profess to be Christian there is such an unwillingness to come to grips with the horror of this decades old massacre and how intensely abominable it is to a holy God? He has certainly made plain the fact of His identification of and plans for each human being prior to conception and birth!(11).
All this is not to suggest that every single child and youth is in the above mentioned circumstances. There are those who have overcome the negative influences that have surrounded them due to the grace and mercy of God imparted to them as they have committed their lives to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Their witness has impacted a number of lives of other persons with whom they have come into contact. But the hard reality is that these are a distinct minority number of individuals, just as in the adult world out in the everyday work places and market places Christians who take their faith seriously and who refuse to bow the knee to the Baals of this present generation are a distinct minority as well! You do remember what happens at a certain point when the majority who choose to defy the living God intentionally ignore the witness of the righteous ones and the clarion call to repent of all sin, do you not? You don't? Well, then, it is time to review what happened in Noah's day, and the time a man by the name of Lot lived in Sodom, and a king by the name of Zedekiah ruled in a place called Jerusalem! Just go into the Old Testament Scriptures at locations Genesis 6 & 7, Genesis 19, and 2 Chronicles 36.
NOTE: The below counter has been added since the commentary was written back in April of 2001 -- watch it for about 60 to 90 seconds to get an idea as to how the USA version of "holocaust" is progressing!
Unborn Babies Killed
since Roe vs. Wade
by Clayton D. Harriger
Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference
The United Methodist Church
1. Quantifying America's Decline
2. Deuteronomy 6-8; Psalm 78:1-8
3. Genesis 2:21-24; Matthew 19:4-6
4. Somewhere another teen ...
5. Exodus 20:1-17
6. Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9,10
7. Seven Men Who Rule the World from the Grave by Dave Breese 1990 Pub. by Moody Press - ISBN: 0-8024-8448-4. NOTE: For those of you who are a bit curious as to the infamous "7" -- they are: Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Julius Wellhausen, Sigmund Freud, John Dewey, John Maynard Keynes, and Soren Kierkegaard.
8. Luke 9:23-25; Mark 7:20-23
9. 2 Timothy 3:1-5
10. Clinton As Role Model!
11. Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 139
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