At one time on this blog I was faithful every week to report on interesting articles I came across in the news/blogosphere, but that day has come and gone and “The Cultural Thermometer” is no longer a weekly part of this blog. However, I read some really interesting articles this week and decided to share them with you. I am not sure if I am going to post “The Cultural Thermometer” every week, but here are some intersting and concering articles that I hope will help us take our culture’s temperature:
1. 20% of 4 year old children in America are obese. Seriously–1 out of every 5 four-year-olds in our our country are obese–not overweight but obese. There are a number of reasons for this and there are some intresting differences between the percentage of minorities that are overweight and whites. The article suggests that those who are living in poverty lack the funds to provide a well balanced diet and are perhaps less educated on how to provide proper nutrition for their children. That said, I want to say as Christians in one of the fattest countries in the world, when are we going to start taking gluttony as a serious sin issue in our country? I can understand how poverty could contribute to so many children being overweight, but I would venture to guess that the biggest reason that so many children are obese in our country is because their parents are too!
2. Is Vegetarianism a Teen Eating Disorder? This article from Time reports that “a significant number of kids experiment with vegetarian diets as a way to mask their eating disorders, since it’s a socially acceptable way to avoid eating many foods and one that parents tend not to oppose.” Maybe if we taught our children to eat healthy early on, then we wouldn’t have this problem. I don’t mean to sound harsh, I just think the number of cases of eating disorders in our country among teenagers is a sign that we have done a poor job of teaching our children discipline and moderation–important and often overlooked Biblical character traits!
3. Groups in Massachusetts are Lobbying for and against Transgender Bathrooms. The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition is pushing for a provision that will allow “any man who self-identifies as a women access to women’s rest rooms, locker rooms, emergency shelters and fitness clubs and vice versa.” What is scary to me is that these same sort of questions are also being asked about our schools as early as Kindergarten!
Charitable donations may be down because of the recession, but another type of donation is up for the very same reason: egg and sperm. More women are trying to make money by offering their eggs to infertile couples, and men are doing the same with their sperm. Egg donor agencies in the Boston area report that their applications are up from between 25 and 100 percent over this time a year ago, and New England sperm banks have seen a similiar trend in the past six months.
In other words, people are making these “donations” to make money but interestingly enough, though these “donations” are up, “demand for donations is down.” For an interesting read on the morality of such donations, click here.
5. The Challenge of Gaming Morality: More and more games today are giving gamers the challenge of making difficult moral decisions. This makes gaming a more compelling and intersting art form, however, sometimes it presents gamers with limited choices none of which we would consider “moral.” Alan Noble from Christ and Pop Culture addresses moral decision making in video games using the popular game, Fallout 3 as a test case in this interesting article.