You'll forgive me departing from the usual focus and approach of the writings on this site. But I want to say something. Here's what I want to say: Morals matter!
Look, I'm this old, retired, but not quite retired, liberal parson. Yep, I said it. I'm a liberal. I'm liberal in my theology; I am liberal in my politics. And there are some who might say I was liberal in the way I raised my kids, but they turned out okay. So, I'm liberal. But this is one liberal who insists that morals matter.
Morals matter. And because morals matter there's a red flag to be waved about this country when people applaud at a presidential debate over the number of people who have been executed under the gubernatorial term of a candidate. Morals matter. And because morals matter there is concern to be expressed when people applaud the death of an ill individual because no societal health care is available. Morals matter. And because morals matter people booing a questioner because the question had to do with a candidate's supposed sexual harassment of a woman may be evidence of the decadence of our decaying society.
What prompts this writing is not the supposed sexual harassment Herman Cain is accused of. What prompts this writing is the apparent unconcern over the issue that so many evidence. What prompts this is the way supporters of Herman Cain can cast this issue to the side as though it is of no consequence.
Sexual harassment is not about sex. Sex is but the vehicle for the expression of power. When questions are raised about sexual harassment by a candidate for the most powerful office in the world, we need to listen. We need to listen, not for the lurid details of “he reached for my genitals,” but for the expression of power one enforces over another and the apparent unconcern for the wholeness of another, the failure to see another as a human being of equal worth, the arrogance of the expression, and most of all the use of power over one vulnerable.
Morals matter. And the matter of morals is not limited to sex. The matter of morals has to do with the way one sees another human being. The matter of morals has to do with one viewing one's self as more entitled than another. The matter of morals has to do with the devaluing of another.
Isn't there a verse in the Bible about being faithful in small things in order to be faithful in larger things. There is. And because that verse is there, morals matter.
The truth is there is not, I fervently hope, a man who has not at some time or another had thoughts of dominance, of devaluing, of selfish gratification, who has not had “forbidden” fantasies when it comes to women. (And I suppose the same may be true of women toward men.) Such prurient thoughts are part of our less than perfect nature. But not all men give in to such thoughts. In fact, the vast majority do not give them expression at all because morals matter.
Morals matter. And because morals matter there is a judgment to be passed upon us as a people when we act without concern for our fellow humans welfare, when we follow our own selfish interest, when we stick to a given agenda or dogma in pursuit of a narrow goal and ignore or turn our back upon the more lofty issue, the human issue, the community issue.
Morals matter. Because morals matter I want to know about the morality of anyone who is audacious enough to seek a position of power over me and my family. Morals matter. Because morals matter I want to know if any candidate has acted in the past as though morals do not matter.
And the truth of it is, I want to know about the morals not only of a candidate for public office, but I want to know it about my neighbor, I want to know it about the teacher who is in a position of power over my grandchildren, I want to know it about anyone with whom I come into contact in this life. I want to know these things because morals matter.
And the day morals cease to matter we will be doomed.
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