As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, I contend that it is one thing to state adultery is wrong; it is another thing to know why. If we don’t know why adultery is wrong then it is only reasonable to hold that perhaps it is not wrong. Moreover, since there are no clear reasons why some behaviors are illegal or “wrong”, it would seem reasonable to accept that the dissimilarities between legal and illegal have seriously faded in recent decades. And as I previously stated, we can add our legislators, courts and even our President to the list of those who have abandoned civil “rights” or right behavior.
The truth is that as a nation we just don’t have the answers anymore. We have chased God from our public schools and public squares. We have banned the mention of His name from our civic meetings and halls of government. And then we have the audacity to wonder where he is when we reap the consequences of our “choices”. The good news is that it is not too late to address the issues of the heart in our country which cause us to be hateful, angry, deceptive, greedy etc.
This is why a moral code is an integral part of any thriving society. A byproduct of morality by choice is a curb in immorality. What are the origins of our American moral code? Since its inception, our morals have been founded upon the common teachings of the Judeo-Christian religion and contain three main components.
- God-given decrees requiring or forbidding certain behaviors based on His divine statutes and commandments.
- Developed character traits commonly called “virtues” such as selflessness, chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness and humility.
- And lastly, mental and emotional elements called “vices” including selfishness, prejudice, lust, anger, greed, jealousy, hatred, and envy.
Standing for civil rights is about more than just getting our choices “protected” by judge and jury. Standing for civil rights means rejecting wrong behavior for the benefit of the whole because it is the right thing to do. Wrong behavior is selfishness. How is that civil?
Isn’t it interesting, and not a little coincidental how our jails are full of jealous and greedy people but no one has ever gone to jail for being kind and selfless. Most anyone would call patience and charity right behavior and would identify murder and bigotry as wrong behavior.
Personal choices that breed lust and greed are immoral because they degrade and exploit people while choices that produce humility and temperance are generally understood to be good or right choices because they instill respect and value life. The question is; why is right behavior such a hard choice?
According to the moral experts, this is where it gets tricky because there are no absolutes concerning right and wrong. They contend for example that there is no absolute truth. This is an incorrect assumption based on incomplete information. In fact, if there is no absolute truth, then the claim of no absolutes when subjected to its own criteria is rendered false. In other words, if you hold that “all truth is relative”, you have to ask; is that statement true? Why make laws if right and wrong is relative? Because morality is not relative it is fixed.
Back to civil rights, there are universal civil rights endowed by God. These rights are based on the absolutes of good and evil. They are universal (they apply to everyone); they are timeless because they are true no matter what century it is (or how much we think we have “progressed”), they are unmovable, and they are certain (like the laws of math; 2 + 2 always = 4-unless of course you are teaching the Common Core curriculum).
Anyone who argues that law (which is a listing of acceptable behaviors) and morality are mutually exclusive is deceived because morality is based on law. As previously stated, the way you know that a line is crooked is by comparing it to a straight line. Furthermore, it is appropriate to expect our national leaders to know the difference.
In the Presidents “Call to Renewal” Keynote Address on June 28, 2006, then Senator Barack Obama articulated the common sentiment that secular people are no less capable of being moral than religious theists:
“In fact, because I do not believe that religious people have a monopoly on morality, I would rather have someone who is grounded in morality and ethics, and who is also secular, affirm their morality and ethics and values without pretending that they’re something they’re not. They don’t need to do that. None of us need to do that.”
It is tragic that a person can rise to the highest office in the land without a basic understanding of morality despite his alleged “Christian” beliefs. This disparity, however, raises a crucial question; is the understanding of good and evil the answer to curbing uncivil behavior or is it an impediment?