Sunday, April 17, 2005

Negative Realities

Negative Realities Redirected

By Carol Wiley, Director
A Way Out Victim Assistance Program
(A Ministry of Citizens for Community Values of Memphis)

Citizens for Community Values was formed in 1992, by a group of concerned citizens with a vision to empower other concerned citizens and community leaders to significantly reduce sexual exploitation and violence in Greater Memphis and the surrounding areas by: (1) Increasing public awareness of the availability and harm of exploitive and abusive pornography, particularly in the lives of children. (2) Supporting the enactment and enforcement, within the Constitution, of limitations on pornography. (3) Offering assistance to people harmed by pornography and sex oriented businesses.

Since day one it has been an uphill battle with many victories and some discouraging setbacks, but the vision remains the same and by God’s grace the resolve to continue the battle is stronger than in the beginning. The bottom line is we are trying to impact a culture where for the most part, moral absolutes have been abdicated and an individualistic gray zone for morals and decision making has been embraced.

Several statistics concerning the moral temperature of today’s culture from The Barna Research Group of California’s, The Year’s Most Intriguing Findings are quite sobering.

  • Compared to two years ago, just half as many Americans believe that absolute moral truth exists, dropping from 38% in January 2000 to only 22% in November 2001.
  • Based on people’s reactions to a series of moral issues, Americans are comfortable legalizing activities – such as abortion, homosexuality and pornography – that they feel are immoral.
  • Religious teaching or values minimally affect people’s moral choices. The major influences on such decisions are the expected personal outcomes of their choices, minimizing conflict over their choices, and the values their parents taught them.
  • By the end of the decade, 50 million Americans will seek to have their spiritual experience solely through the Internet, rather than at a church; and upwards of 100 million Americans will rely upon the Internet to deliver some aspects of their religious experience.
  • At least three out of ten “born again” adults say that co-habitation, gay sex, sexual fantasies, breaking the speed limit or watching sexually explicit movies are morally acceptable behaviors.

    Mr. Barna states, “One of the greatest values of research is that it can identify myths that we hold on to — myths that often prevent us from seizing opportunities or that prevent us from responding appropriately to the world around us.” He also says, “ A lot of anger that was expressed to us in reaction to these findings reflects the difficulty we sometimes have in changing our predispositions and coming to grips with a world that is rapidly changing and does not conform to the rules we believed were firmly entrenched. Knowing the reality, rather than the myth, can help us address reality and, if need be, redirect it.

    What a powerful challenge to all citizens, especially those who believe the Bible and who believe the principles found within its pages to be true. We must be willing to look at the world we live in realistically, to do what we can keep the moral standards of our communities high and to help those who are in the world’s darkness to come to “The Light of the world”.

    Reality in Memphis is that it is the home of numerous topless clubs, adult book and video stores, escort services, adult novelty stores and prostitution. If a visitor to our city goes to on the Internet, he or she will find a topless club, Platinum Plus listed as one of the top ten bar and grills in Memphis. One more click and this visitor gets graphic reviews of the activities going on in the club. Another reality in Memphis is that there is a real grassroots effort going on to clean up our city and to help the victims of sexual exploitation and crime to get the help they need to escape the degradation they are suffering. The negative realities in Memphis and the surrounding areas can and are being redirected one battle at a time by citizens, who are joining together to encourage the efforts being made by our police department and elected officials. Also, lives of many young women who are being abused and exploited by sex-oriented businesses are being changed when they come into the A Way Out Victim Assistance Program sponsored by CCV.

    For more information, or if you are interested in helping redirect the negative realities in Memphis and the surrounding areas, or if you would like to help change a young woman’s negative reality into a reality that is positive and based on the love of Christ, call Carol Wiley at 685-1493 or email her at
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