America the Ugly?

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Posted June 3, 2003

Beyond the obvious differences among nationalities, something else is spoiling the relationships between Americans and their friends abroad. For the last 50 years the unstoppable spread of an insidious American culture has become a blight that is increasingly resented everywhere...

Americans are increasingly learning that they are less appreciated and less welcome overseas. Some whose vacation traditions have included international travel are staying home this year. Many Americans residing abroad weary from a constant barrage of criticisms leveled at America and its citizens. Why do we see this growing dislike of America and its citizens?

Many reasons have been offered. They typically tie the repulsion to political and military activities, economic inequities, cultural irreverence and petty jealousies.

In 34 years of international traveling I, too, have tried to assess the mindset behind those with unkind views of American citizens. My perception in every case has been far different than those typically offered.

Beyond the obvious differences among nationalities, something else is spoiling the relationships between Americans and their friends abroad. For the last 50 years the unstoppable spread of an insidious American culture has become a blight that is increasingly resented everywhere.

American industries everywhere merchandise products aimed at instant gratification—products that appeal to humanity's basest natures. They muscle their way into politics, entertainment, fashion, music, electronics and cuisine. Seeking fast appeal and fast profits, a whole array of useless and unhelpful merchandise has invaded and altered cultures worldwide.

Pushed aside are traditional ethnic dress, cultural music, traditional lifestyles, time-honored customs and entire languages. In their place is colored sugar water, trashy fast food, immodest dress, lewd and lawless entertainment and an unhealthy mindset toward unproductive quests.

It's heartrending to see the odd television in a remote African village blazing American "bump and grind" music videos and sitcoms advocating marital unfaithfulness. In a Tanzanian village recently, a group was viewing an American sitcom on a restaurant television. One man commented to me, "our people are not like them." But sadly, his people are becoming more like them.

Neighboring Kenya television airs local music videos of its youth copying the lewd fashions and moves of America’s MTV idols. Lured by the excitement and the materialism, local youths want to copy the televised version of the American mindset. In cultures founded on principles of respect, modesty and honor, the American cultural intrusion is viewed as a shame and disgrace.

Global reactions toward this in-your-face intrusion of "Americanism" are twofold. On the one hand, highly impressionable youths embrace the new excitement and like Americans for their contribution. On the other hand, wiser adults are repulsed and develop resentment and hatred for the intrusive violation of their culture. And some are striking back in whatever crude methods they have available to them.

A worldwide trend toward a lewd and lawless corrupting of cultures is accelerating—and America is leading the way. A response to America's in-your-face promotion of debased hedonism is looming from Almighty God who says: ". . . They declare their sin as Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to their soul! For they have brought evil upon themselves" (Isaiah:3:9).

Rather, as a country America needs to repent and return to the foundational biblical principles on which she was founded. When the framers of the U.S. Constitution designed our country’s government, they wrapped it around the laws found in the Bible.

James Madison stated that our form of government depends on "each and every one of us to control ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." Ironically, today it is illegal to post the Ten Commandments in government buildings or schools.

John Adams stated: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

Patrick Henry said: "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Noah Webster, the father of public education, stated: "No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people." He went on to add: "The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles—and to this we owe our free Constitutions of Government."

It’s tragic that America’s primary "export" is a culture that has clearly departed from the country's moral foundations. Is it just a matter of time until such folly causes the United States' prominent position to be rescinded from above?

Be sure and read our booklet The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy.

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