Monday, October 30, 2017

Of Morality

There is much talk these days about our nation having lost its moral authority—of abandoning the ideals that made this nation great.  A threatened loss of something taken for granted makes us realize its importance.

Our previous administration was clearly focused upon what is commonly called the ‘greater good’—that which benefits the greatest number of people or the human race in general.  The current administration has systematically reversed almost every prior initiative taken in health care, climate change, immigration reform, clean energy, involvement with international organizations, and the use of diplomacy in conflict resolution.  How is that NOT shocking?

A few brave Republicans have put principles above party and spoken out against Donald Trump’s fitness to be president and proclaimed him a danger to our democracy.  There is a new book out to which 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts have contributed, titled The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.

Donald Trump has no respect for truth, he lies uncontrollably and winning by whatever means is the only value he holds.  He gives all indications of being amoral.  Amoral is defined as: lacking a moral sense; one unconcerned with rightness or wrongness of something.  --This also is the definition of a sociopath.

In our secular world we don’t talk too much about morality any more, but I want to make some comments about morality.  First, a few definitions:
     --principles concerning the distinction between right & wrong, good & bad
     --values and principles of conduct/behavior
     --the extent to which an action is right or wrong.

Morality is uniquely human.  We share many qualities with other animals, but morality is the hallmark of the human species.  It arises from reflective awareness, the highest level of consciousness.  It is the expression of the god quality inherent in us.  We can only be fully human when morality becomes central to our choice making.  We have the great gift of free will and that means equal access to good and evil.  We are called to make the free choice for the good—therein do we approach God.

The secular society has tried to regulate behavior through legality.  The law is necessary as foundational to civilization but without the injection of morality into the decision-making, legality dissolves into nit-picking fine points of laws and manipulating them to win a dispute.  Law is of the ‘without’, morality is of ‘the within’; both must be considered to arrive at justice.

Anyone without a sense of moral order is unfit to lead a nation.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Standing vs Kneeling

I’m not a sports enthusiast and I don’t support any team.  I consider myself a loyal American and I’m concerned about the controversy over standing vs. kneeling during the national anthem at football games.

The issue first arose as one or two players, then whole teams, chose to kneel rather than stand during the playing of the anthem to bring attention to the injustice toward blacks that is still present in our society.

I want to address the heated arguments claiming that kneeling is insulting and disrespectful to our flag.

As far back as history goes, kneeling has always been a sign of reverence and respect—subjects knelt before kings, people kneel to pray, a man kneels to ask for a woman’s hand in marriage . . . kneeling does not disparage, it is in no way disrespectful.  In this instance it is a request that our nation face the imbalance that is still present in our society.  Those accusations of disrespect arise from resistance toward facing those prejudices that still mar our nation. 

Too often in recent times protests have resulted in violence—in which case the good of the justice sought, is lost to the injustice of the destruction that ensues.  Martin Luther King Jr. awakened our nation to peaceful protest—the method used by Gandhi and Mandela to win freedom and justice in their countries.  Our segregation battle was won by sitting at lunch counters, taking a seat in the front of a bus, and a peaceful march of thousands . . . kneeling at the games is in the same category, and I praise it.

Clearly the imbalance and injustice we are being asked to look at is very real and multifaceted, it will take time and agonizing efforts to resolve, but let us look at the peaceful way this protest is being expressed and admire the courage of those ‘stepping outside the box’ to bring it to light.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

YouTube Song

My daughter sent me a message about a song on YouTube, “My World Needs You” . . . so beautiful . . . so true.     Listen to it.

Our secular world has moved away from God; and the world is in crisis!  It is God that focuses us on the good.  Religions—so needed to help us keep God in mind—have alienated so many thinking people because they have misinterpreted God and encouraged an absolutist mentality that insists, ‘only this way is right’.  Our God is the God of Love and infinite diversity, not a god of vengeance nor a god of magic, bestowing special favors on those who ‘pray correctly’. 

In rebelling against those false concepts many have rejected not only those concepts, but also God.  The error is in human misinterpretation, not in God’s being.   God is God of this incredibly wondrous complex Universe . . . mystery beyond our knowing; the source of all that is good and true.

Consider the ending statement in Genesis 1:31, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

Indeed, ‘my world needs you right now’.  Too long we’ve been shortsighted, failing to heed your directive to ‘love one another’.  In seeing and hearing how, through the recent tragedies of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and mass killings, people have reached out to help and comfort one another . . . in this we see the face of God.