The Moral Minority

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The
results of the recently concluded national elections made one thing
crystal clear. It is that morality in society and government is
the most important political issue today in the minds of many, many
Americans.

This represents the latest victory of sorts for that group of our
citizenry that has coalesced under the banner of the "Moral
Majority." The purpose of this essay is to argue for another
coalition of people to represent a heretofore-submerged "Moral
Minority" in America today.

As a Christian I look to the Gospel and the teachings of Jesus as
my moral compass. And if the New Testament is clear about anything,
it is that in most times and in most places those who practice the
morality espoused by Jesus have been and are in the distinct minority.

This fact is a persistent subtext within many of Christ's parables.
After all, several people passed by the man in the ditch before
the Good Samaritan stopped to help him. Even more telling in terms
of minority participation is the fact that only one of the ten lepers
that Jesus healed returned to thank him.

It is my belief that a Moral Minority is ready to coalesce under
principles such as those listed below. It is also my belief that
these principles are grounded in the Christian faith. People of
the Jewish faith and other faiths are invited to add their moral
perspectives. Even secularists – at least a few of which, it is supposed,
might have moral insights – should feel free to contribute their thoughts.

A Moral Minority in America today could stand for the following:

Changing
people's hearts. In the seventh chapter of the Gospel of Mark,
Jesus notes that the world is and always has been polluted with
immoralities. He mentions among these obscenities, lusts, murders,
adulteries, depravity and carousing. But look what Jesus also lists
in this category: thefts, greed, deceptive dealings, mean looks,
slander, arrogance and foolishness.

Jesus goes on to maintain that all immorality flows from what is
in the hearts of human beings. We must do all we can to change hearts – beginning
with our own – to create truly moral societies and governments.

Honoring
the aged. Helping our elders to age with dignity, independence
and grace is a widely recognized moral imperative. Most of us have
been taught from an early age to honor our fathers and mothers.
The best way to do so (whether our fathers and mothers are living
or dead) is to help – in their names – those in need and less fortunate
than us.

Nurturing
the young. Jesus rebuked his disciples for attempting to turn
children away from him. Jesus said that those adults with outlooks
as innocent and hopeful as children would comprise the Kingdom of
God. It is not good enough for our society to make feeble attempts
at leaving no children behind. We must seek out and embrace all
of America's children in whatever ways we can because they represent
our society's future salvation.

Abortion is without question one of the greatest moral issues of
our time. But it is painful to watch so many who are "pro life"
act as though they are really just "pro birth." In other
words, it is as important that we protect and promote a life after
it is born as before it is born.

Helping
those in need. The aged make up those of us who are living in
the "dusk of their lives." Children represent those among
us living in the "dawn of their lives." The third group
in need of our constant attention and assistance consists of those
who are living in the "shadows of their lives." Among
these are the poor, the disabled, the imprisoned and the outcast.

Jesus instructs us to give drink to the thirsty, food to the hungry
and to both visit and comfort those in prison. After all, it is
the same as giving drink, food and comfort to him.

Seeking
the outcast. It is not only those in prison that are outcasts
in our society. One of the greatest moral sins is a belief in one's
own moral superiority. We are all God's children and must seek each
other out in the hopes of creating a more humble – as well as moral – America.

Blessing
the peacemakers. Over 2,000 years after the birth of Christ
the world has never had more pruning hooks turned into swords and
plowshares turned into shields. As Dwight D. Eisenhower said when
he warned us about the military-industrial complex, dollars spent
on excessive armaments take money away from education, healthcare
and other social needs. This is to say nothing of the death and
destruction they cause when used. Over forty years later, isn't
it about time we listened to one of our greatest generals and began
to question the morality of the excessive militarism that pervades
our society?

Neither
borrowers nor lenders be. We have replaced the "tax and
spend" policies of the New Deal and Great Society eras with
the "borrow and spend" policies of the supply-side economic
age. It is as immoral to leave the bills for our spending to future
generations as it is to be poor stewards of the land, water and
skies that we will pass on to those same generations.

These are just a few of the principles around which a new Moral
Minority can gather. Would anyone be interested in signing up?

January
19, 2005

Kirk
W. Tofte [send him mail] is
the manager of the BWIA Private Investment Fund and the author of
Be
Principled and Grow Rich: Your Guide to Investing Successfully in
Both Bull and Bear Markets
. He lives in Des Moines, Iowa.

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