Category Archives: Ethics

George Washington v. Barack Obama, the Jury is Out

Obama

The life that counts must toil and fight,

Must hate the wrong and love the right:

Must stand for truth, by day, by night-

This is the life that counts.  – Anonymous

There are two phrases repetitively used in regard to the kings of the nation Isreal as found in the Biblical records.  It is black and white when dealing with their morality and character.  “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” or “He did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord”.  The narrative included the king’s acts and political decisions as they lined up with his obedience to the law of God.  What the king did affected the nation and the people followed his lead.  Good kings encouraged moral behavior in the people and evil kings lead the people in the ways of the heathen nations surrounding them.

I was reading a section in II Chronicles 24:17-20 this morning, causing me to reflect on the kings of Israel and the “kings” of America.

After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came and paid homage to the king and he listened to them.  They abandoned the temple of the Lord, the God of their fathers, and worshiped Asherrah poles and idols.  Because of their guilt, God’s anger came upon Judah and Jerusalem.  Although the Lord sent prophets to the people to bring them back to him, and though they testified against them, they would not listen.  Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest.  He stood before the people and said, “This is what God says: ‘Why do you disobey the Lord’s commands?  You will not prosper.  Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you.'”.

I realize that this was specifically written about this kingdom and this specific king, yet does not history repeat itself and shouldn’t we learn what we can from the mistakes of those who lived before?

I wonder what the God of Israel would say about the “kings” of America?  How would He label each man that has “ruled” from the Oval Office?  Should George Washington be the archetype for all successive Presidents as King David was for the kings of Israel?  And if so, how should we rate the leaders of the past 200 years?  Is is too offensive today, too intolerant, to say that a leader does “right” or “evil” in the eyes of the Lord?  Or perhaps, we will just remove the eyes of the Lord all together and pretend He doesn’t exist.

to-kill-a-mockingbird-first-editionAtticus Finch, the lawyer in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird lived in a small town in the segregated South during the 1930’s. He takes on a case to represents an innocent black man against two deceitful white men.  Finch knew he would face hate and prejudice from the community as well as the jury, but he was compelled to speak and act on this man’s behalf because it was the moral thing to do.  He spoke the truth boldly in the face of opposition.

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. – spoken by Atticus Finch, by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

In our Nation’s history, many have been like Finch and have spoken the truth in the face of opposition.  As I write this post, I think about the courageous prophets mentioned in the Bible who spoke out against immorality and called the kings of Israel to repentance.  I ponder whether my pen is mighty enough to effect change in my country and if my courage will waver should the “king and his officials” come against my freedom of conscience and speech.

The direction that America is heading is far more complicated than just liberal and conservative politics.  Political thought stems from a deeper understanding of right and wrong, truth and evil.  Proverbs 27:19 says, “As  water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.”  One’s political thought reflects what is in one’s heart.  If the basis of our Nation’s political thought has been guided by hearts that are far from the Truth of the Bible, and I submit that it is, then our Nation is in no better shape than Judah and Jerusalem was in the Scripture. “You will not prosper.  Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you.” II Chronicles 24:20

My fellow bloggers, why do you blog?  Is is to make a name for yourself in the vast community of type and thought?  Is it to push to elect a different man or woman?  Or is there a passion to spark a fire of real repentance and change in America?  It begins with us, the individuals, to be willing to be what we require our leaders to be and to hold them accountable to a standard that has been placed so low, that anyone can slither their way into political office if they have enough money and power behind them.  Is this the America we want, or do we demand an America that requires its leaders to lead wearing the same honest shoes that George Washington wore?  Our first President, the archetype to what a President should be said,  “I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” His honesty however wasn’t based on a human standard, for one person’s white lie is another man’s vice; but his standard was the Bible.   We as individuals should live by that standard of honesty and in doing so, require our leaders, from the PTA to the President of the United States to live and lead by such a virtue.

It is better to declare the truth and be rejected, than to withhold the truth just to be accepted.

george-washington-prayer


If Men Were Angels…..

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” James Madison-Federalist Papers Number 51.

Cockroaches

A light is lit in a dark room to scatter the blackness, to uncover potential hazards and many times to send the cockroaches running.  This past week, light has been directly aimed into various dark corners and the cockroaches have indeed scattered.  Acorns are falling from trees,  a peanut farmer spreads hate and a spoiled nut steps into the spotlight, opens his mouth and spews insults.  Where is the morality?  Where are the ethics?  What happened to polite society?

While driving home after teaching a Government class for an engaging group of seniors high students, another vehicle passed by mine, slowed down and the young man in the back seat proceeded to drop his window,  drop his drawers and share his hind end with me and my car full of kids.  So much for keeping things in the dark!  Apparently this cockroach liked the sunshine, but it made me think deeply about the moral direction or  lack of it  in our country.  The contrast of the “mooning teen” to the teens who were passionately discussing the loss of individual rights when the “bad apples” in society break the law and law makers make blanket legislation that hurt those who uphold the law, was poignant.

Noah Webster stated, “The moral principles and precepts contained in Scripture ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws.  All the miseries and evils which men suffer from, vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”  If  this is true and I believe it is, then it explains the “why” to the condition of our morally decaying society.  When there is no bedrock of absolute truth, when society lives by it’s own wavering definition of “rightness”, then we end up with a society of citizens, run by a government of officials who don’t pay their taxes, who lie, cheat and steal, who support an ideology of “just don’t get caught” and who act like Eve in the Garden of Eden passing the buck when they are caught with their pants down.  If the “grown ups” who run the government, work in the schools,  for the unions, the hospitals and the car dealerships (a very short list) live by their wishy-washy whims, then how can we expect the youth of the nation to live any differently?

noah webster

We act shocked by the Acorn scandals this past week, but why are we, when right is might and morality is fleeting?  Webster may seem prophetic in his statement: “All the miseries and evils which men suffer from, vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible”, yet this isn’t prophetic, but merely learning the lessons from history and hind sight.  Immorality is as old as the foundation of the earth and nothing in human nature alone can over come its grip.  Yet we choose to not learn from the mistakes of those before us and pridefully believe we have evolved into a better creature.   I have yet to see an evolved ethically moral human being without the foundation of Biblical Truth permeating his life.

Clive Staples Lewis penned this poem that speaks clearly about the nature of man: 

All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.

Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin:
I talk of love –a scholar’s parrot may talk Greek–
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
I see the chasm. And everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.

For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains.

Humanity, brought into the glaring light of morality, will scatter like a cockroach unless it has learned to live, believe and be changed by the Scripture.  We who desire to see our country restored must be willing to live by the standards that we require others to live by.  Our morality must be whiter and truer than the next man’s morality because only then do we have a relevant leg to stand on.  Our morality must be based on non-shifting truth and we must raise the bar for the youth of the nation to live by the higher standard and not tolerate unethical and immoral behavior.  We must demand our public officials to sign a new Magna Carta stating that they will abide by an high ethical standard and hold them to it.  We must not only hold our politicians to the strict construction of the Constitution, but we also must be willing  ourselves not only live it, but die for it.

Men are not angels and can easily devolve into cockroaches when the lights of morality are dim.  Let us not dumb down our moral curriculum just because it is difficult to live by, but rather raise the bar and raise a nation of youth who rise up to the occasion of doing what is right.  And when government or any other public or private office in America ducks under this bar, we need to turn the lights on, expose them and reach for the bug repellent.