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