Morality in America is an issue that seems to be in the news daily, but how does it affect teens?
Teens I've talked with in the Aiken-Augusta area seem aware of a moral decline in America. They said it is apparent to them that the nation's future is threatened by the actions of its people.
Virtue once was an important aspect of American society, but its presence has sustained a sharp decline in the past century.
When this country and its government were constructed in the late 18th century, most people were Christians; they honored the Word of God and its teachings concerning how one ought to live; they valued life and respected the sanctity of marriage; there was more of a brotherly attitude among people. There were exceptions, as there are in all societies, but these virtues were accepted and were, for the most part, employed by the people.
In what ways have the people of the United States abandoned such virtue?
According to Phillip Gunter, 15, a sophomore at South Aiken High School, "Things that are becoming more prominent are drugs, murder and sexual perversion."
Others I talked with cite premarital sex, the appearance of nudity and cursing in the media, the acceptance of abortion in certain areas of the country and the legality of gay marriage as issues concerning the moral downfall of the country.
Disregard for the environment is another issue.
"People think they can take and take and not take care of the environment," says Robert Brodie, 16, a junior at South Aiken High.
What could be the cause of such declining moral behavior?
"Personally, I think people are lacking God," Phillip said.
Robert cited corrupt government.
Rebekah Grice, 14, a freshman at Aiken High, contends the problem is closer to home.
"Parents should have more control over their children and discipline them more," she said, explaining that the rise in immorality is occurring because the younger generation is lacking the proper punishment that would help them determine right from wrong.
The teens I talked with agree the immoral actions of the present will be an obstacle for future generations.
What can teens do to stem the tide of corruption?
One solution considered by teens such as Phillip is to evangelize the moral teachings of Christ and make them a more prominent aspect of society.
Kaitlyn Henderson, 16, a junior at South Aiken High School suggests teens "need to be supportive of each other and set an example for others by becoming leaders."
Chelsea Montgomery, 14, a freshman at Aiken High, has a more direct approach.
"I definitely think that more people should speak out and voice their opinion on the issue. If enough are opposed to what's taking place, maybe we can change some of it."
Justin Conklin, 16, is a junior at South Aiken High School