Five Consequences of America’s Moral Collapse

Aug 14, 2015 by

By John Hawkins, Townhall.com: Americans have become so “non-judgmental” that many people can no longer tell the difference between good and evil. We congratulate ourselves for being “nicer,” more sensitive and less prejudiced than past generations of Americans, but we don’t stop to consider how much more there is to morality than that. An America that isn’t full of good people won’t remain a good nation, nor will it remain strong and free over the long haul. Our country’s lack of morality has real consequences that are capable of eventually sinking us as a nation. 1) The Collapse Of Marriage: There used to be quite a bit of social stigma attached to getting a divorce or having a child out of wedlock. That’s no longer true and consequences for society have been horrific. Although there is some dispute about the numbers, roughly 40% of marriages now end in divorce and “half of all children born to women under 30 in America now are illegitimate. Three in 10 white children are born out of wedlock, as are 53 percent of Hispanic babies and 73 percent of black babies.” That’s important because children raised without a mother AND a father are statistically worse off in just about every area imaginable. Read here...

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Capitalism as a moral force

Jun 21, 2015 by

Tim Montgomerie interviews Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. The former Chief Rabbi also speaks about his new book, “Not in God’s Name”

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The mysterious case of the missing morality

Jun 12, 2015 by

By Robert R Reilly, MercatorNet: Why have the pro-natural family forces been losing in court? Intentionally or not, Judge Richard Posner explained the reason in a 7th Circuit Court ruling (Sept. 4, 2014), in which he decided against the Indiana and Wisconsin laws restricting marriage to a man and a woman: “The state [Wisconsin] does not mention Justice Alito’s invocation [in the Windsor case] of a moral case against same-sex marriage, when he states in his dissent that ‘others explain the basis for the institution in more philosophical terms. They argue that marriage is essentially the solemnizing of a comprehensive, exclusive, permanent union that is intrinsically ordered to producing new life, even if it does not always do so.’ [US v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675, 2718 (2013).] That is a moral argument for limiting marriage to heterosexuals. The state does not mention the argument because as we said, it mountsno moral arguments against same-sex marriage.” [Baskin v. Bogan, 766 F.3d 648, 669 (7thCir. 2014) (emphasis added).] While Justice Alito recognizes that there is a moral argument for limiting marriage to heterosexuals, it was not only the State of Wisconsin that failed to make such a case. Neither have the States of Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, or Tennessee in Obergefell, the decisive case now before the US Supreme Court. I believe that this is one of the key reasons that the pro-natural family position has been losing in most of the cases thus far. With the moral foundation missing, an air of unreality pervades the federal court system. Let us see how unreal by looking at a couple of examples. When invalidating Oregon’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage (May 19, 2014), US District Judge Michael McShane wrote in his opinion, “I believe that if we can look for a moment past gender and sexuality, we can see in these [same-sex] plaintiffs nothing more or less than our own families. Families who we would expect our constitution to protect, if not exalt, in equal measure.” [Geiger v. Kitzhaber, 994 F. Supp. 2d 1128, 1147 (D. Or. 2014).] This is an extraordinary remark. What Judge McShane calls “gender and sexuality” is the only means by which families are generated. Since families come from parents, you cannot look past parents and still have a family — because there would be no family there. Homosexual acts cannot generate families; therefore, their “families” cannot be the same. If there are children present, we may be sure that both parents of the children are not present in that family. That is a lot to look past. Read here...

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The Liberalism of Adult Autonomy

Jun 5, 2015 by

By Ross Douthat, New York Times: Reflecting both on Caitlyn né Bruce Jenner and the Gallup data that inspired my own sojourn into polygamy, Damon Linker argues that social conservatives (in particular, his friend and mine Rod Dreher) are wrong to portray the rise of social liberalism as a matter of individualism unbound from all moral restraint. Rather, it represents the triumph of one distinctive moral code, the morality of rights, over another, the morality of ends: Consider that [Gallup] poll … Same-sex relationships, sex between an unmarried man and woman, having a baby outside of marriage, and divorce — many more Americans are morally accepting of these behaviors now than they were in 2001. But note that all of them can plausibly be said to harm no one, as long as the parties involved have consented. (Divorce is tricky when kids are in the picture. Though it’s also the case that many now believe it’s worse for children to grow up in a household with parents who are trapped in an unhappy marriage.) As we move down the list, we come to actions that haven’t budged at all — perhaps most surprisingly extramarital affairs, which were approved of by a mere 7 percent of respondents in 2001 and a statistically indistinguishable 8 percent today. If we were well on our way to becoming Autonomous Eroticized Individuals, wouldn’t our negative judgments about adultery be receding as well? After all, what’s wrong with cheating on your spouse if that’s where you’re led by eros and individualism? But of course we’re not becoming Autonomous Eroticized Individuals — or at least not simply. We might like to think of ourselves as autonomous individuals, but we’re also devoted to a strict morality that treats inflicting harm as a bad thing. That very much includes the emotional harm suffered by someone whose spouse has betrayed a promise of marital fidelity. This is true but not entirely sufficient. Clearly, contemporary liberal individualism is not an ethic of nihilism or pure relativism. (If it were such it would be hard to mobilize so much righteous zeal on its behalf.) It’s a morality of rights, as Linker says, with an important list of harms organized around an ethic of consent, and though many taboos have fallen before its unfolding logic liberalism is still perfectly capable of generating taboos and maintaining prohibitions of its own (as well as finding sinners and crimethinkers to condemn, of course). And the rights/ends distinction he makes does indeed explain not only some the current division between traditionalists and progressives, but also why a few issues, where competing rights are in play, have not shifted to the “left” in quite the way that others have. Read...

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Christians are neither prudes nor libertines

Apr 15, 2015 by

By Michael D O’Brien, LifeSite: It is sometimes asked, usually whenever sexual morality is being argued: “Are Christians prudes?” “If only we were!” sighs many an exasperated parent, wishing we could go back to a time when sexual temptations of the most extreme kind did not assault the young at every turn, to a time, moreover, when our present state of affairs would not for an instant have appeared to be normal. Of course, the longing for an age when Christian morality was the norm in society is to some degree a hankering for a golden era that never really existed. It was never perfectly lived by any Christian society. Yet in those older and wiser periods of Christian civilization, whenever individuals violated moral law they knew that there was a law, and they had some sense that this law was an unshakeable truth based in the divine order, the very structure of reality itself. Even as recently as a generation ago, the extent to which our present culture has become a pornographic one would have been unthinkable. Though sex has always been in the atmosphere, my parents’ generation could not have imagined whole peoples consumed by obsession with sexual pleasure as if it were the most important element in existence. In my youth, my peers may have been tempted to pore over certain sections of the Sears catalogue, or to rifle through National Geographic magazine in search of articles about hottest Africa, or to pursue their academic interest in Art (at the age of thirteen) by familiarizing themselves with the pictures in well-thumbed volumes on Greek sculpture which our parents thought harmless. But my children are now living in a society where anything—simply anything—can be seen with the tap of a computer key. Read here...

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How schools are training our kids to reject moral truth

Apr 11, 2015 by

By John Stonestreet, LifeSite: Already this year, we’ve seen a lot of evil: suicide bombings, the attacks in Paris, religious persecution, Boko Haram and ISIS. These have all outraged the world—and rightly so. But here’s a question worth pondering: will our kids be able to recognize evil when they see it? Do they even believe in moral facts? Well, that’s the question one educator asked recently in The New York Times after making a surprising discovery about what his child was learning in school. Justin McBrayer, an associate professor of ethics at Fort Lewis College, says he couldn’t figure out why the high school graduates showing up in his classroom had no concept of moral truth. The overwhelming majority of freshmen, he says, “view[ed] moral claims as mere opinions that are not true,” or are true only in a relative sense. McBrayer was puzzled about this until he visited a school open house with his second-grade son. It was there that he encountered a pair of signs hanging prominently in the classroom. The first read, “Fact: Something that is true about a subject and can be tested or proven.” The next one said, “Opinion: What someone thinks, feels, or believes.” Startled by this oversimplification, McBrayer was sure it must be a fluke. So he went home and Googled “fact vs. opinion.” And sure enough, he found lesson plans from educators around the country that alarmed him. “…students are taught that claims are either facts or opinions,” McBrayer writes. “They are given quizzes in which they must sort out claims into one camp or the other but not both.” The problem with this, he explains, is that many claims don’t fit nicely into either category. Many claims are both facts and opinions, because opinions, of course, can be true or false. And he decided to test whether his son understood this. Read here...

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