Santa Clarita Signal • Ethically Speaking Column • For March 12 weekender, 2016
Where Are We Headed?
David W. Hegg
Seldom have I seen so many opinion pieces, articles, and blog posts focused on the same issue. The current race for President may go down in history as the tipping point in American political theory. Where once we demanded insightful solutions to real problems, it seems all we want now if for someone to be as mad as we are.
Suddenly we are recognizing a deep-seated, seething frustration that is broad based among groups that have little else in common. But the greater question is what does this say about our society? If our common frustration is fueling a new social revolution, just where is it taking us?
Perhaps it is better to ask where have we been taken? The appreciation of vulgarity, the depreciation of human life, and a shameless attempt to eliminate anything related to God in academia are just a few of the myriad signs pointing back to what has been a swift and steep slide down from the moral high ground America was once known for.
Regardless of party affiliation, most bloggers, pundits, and common conversationalists count our present political season as the most vulgar, shameful, and downright embarrassing ever. What happened to civility? Who gave insight and truth and poignant political discourse the day off? And how in the world can millions of people support men whose lifestyles are what they’ve raised their sons to reject, and warned their girls not to marry?
But the vulgarity and downright uncouth character of our political discourse is nothing compared to the sustained devaluation of human life that has been steadily sucking the quality out of our American experience. Yes, abortion continues to be the number one cause of death in our fair land, with 50,000,000 beating hearts stopped intentionally. But there are other signs of our wanton disregard for the sanctity of human life as well. We are just beginning to have a public awareness of the plague called human trafficking, but its presence in our communities is wide-spread, largely unrecognized, and nothing short of diabolical.
A good friend of mine who labors daily attempting to rescue young women from the slave market of human trafficking, told me he recently made an amazing discovery. He compared the lists of those countries where CSEC (Commercially Sexually Exploited Children) activity is highest with the list of countries most aggressive in persecuting religious activity. It is no surprise there was almost a one-for-one correspondence. When the morality of religious faith is erased, the value of human life is diminished.
A third area where the moral downgrade is evident is higher education. Recently, I had a conversation with a brilliant young woman working to finish her doctorate in an area of the social sciences. She is a Christ-follower, and wished to write her dissertation on a subject relating religious faith to mental health. But her proposal never had a chance, and she was told her dissertation would never be accepted if there was any religious or faith-based overtones in it. Where have we come? And where are we headed?
All of this points to something our founding fathers recognized. Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, and a host of their brothers knew democracy could only work if the electorate were informed, and held to some kind of agreed upon ethical standards. They knew, once the people realized they could vote in whatever type of government they wanted, democracy would only remain viable if a majority wanted a type of government that was honorable. But if the majority ever became dishonorable, democracy would die by its own hand.
Ask yourself this: Is the general ethical soul of America becoming more sound, or are we becoming more and more selfish, less and less disciplined, and more and more easily duped? Are we more given to sober reflection, careful analysis, and courage in making hard choices? or are we more ready to get angry, shout vulgar invectives, and live by shallow platitudes?
I greatly fear we are losing what is left of our national soul as it is being plundered by our own selfishness and wonton desires. We are sleepwalking, “sloughing toward Gomorrah”, as Bork so aptly put it. And I don’t think anyone is going to sound the alarm and bring us back to our senses. That job belongs to each of us, first in our own hearts, then in our families, and then in the community where we’ve been placed … for such a time as this.