America's founders never believed that rights and freedoms were a government process but rather were God-given. Our constitution was clear that government, laws, courts, and morality were all grounded in a Creator's belief. These held that the primary function of government is to protect those God-given rights. Although the First Amendment prohibits any state-sponsored religion, there is no prohibition of a national moral code rooted in Judeo-Christian Scripture.
Atheists, secularists, and humanists may openly deny and ridicule such a "moral law." But this is a deception. Everyone believes in the moral law. We can see this by a person's REACTIONS rather than by his or her ACTIONS. Let me illustrate. You may not acknowledge moral law if you steal, lie, or cheat someone [your action]. But when someone lies to you, defrauds, or deceives you, then you believe in it. Being lied to or cheated upsets you---you don't like it [your reaction]. What I am saying is this. The moral law does not proscribe how we behave, but it does describe how we want others to act.
Let me give an illustration. For decades, pro-abortionists and homosexuals insisted that all they wanted were equal rights, fairness, and left alone. These demanded the absolute right and opportunity to do their own thing without government or "moral law" or culture interfering. They have now attained all this. But what about those of us who, despite the legality of something, our convictions put us in opposition, and without harming others, demand that we not endorse, but rather renounce abortion or the gay lifestyle?
Where is the "liberality" and "freedom" for all? I ask this while Christian caterers, floral shops, bakers, and so forth, who believe that homosexuality is immoral, are sued, slandered, and their businesses ruined. Where are the Constitutional rights for these and others opposed to sodomy, abortion, and other moral and cultural aberrations?
By culture or "cultural restraints," I refer to the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and community prohibitions. It is the acceptable behavior and lawful restrictions and customs in a given society. So what is changed in recent decades? How is it that the legitimate demonstrations over the wrongful police killing of George Floyd and other blacks have degenerated into total lawlessness, mayhem, savagery, and chaos? More astounding, many courts are unwilling to punish those arrested and found guilty of criminal conduct. But what of the moral law and its condemnation of this looting, burning, physical assaults, property destruction, and places rightful blame on the guilty?
The current assaults and demands on our sensibilities and morality are relentless. Many have grown numb and resigned to what is now acceptable. This stupor is the mental hangover introduced by some new world "disorder" that is apparently beyond our control. There seems to be no limit to the deviant behavior that a community must now endure. As behavior worsens, all that a society can do is adjust its standards. Of necessity, the adjustment is always downward. Thus, conduct once universally thought degraded; no longer is appraised to be so.
Deceased pundit, Charles Krauthammer, referred to this new lowering of cultural standards and ethics as "moral leveling." Krauthammer claimed that "moral leveling" means that "it is no longer enough that a previous deviant behavior demands to be considered normal. It is also necessary that our former moral standards and beliefs are now to be considered evil. Many liberals and groups, including BLM, ANTIFA, and other radicals, are not content with condemning their opponents as merely being wrong. Regardless of the issue debated, these characterize any opponent, or the disputing of their arguments, as morally evil, racist, bigoted, homophobic, misogynistic, etc.
Individualism and human dignity are cherished elements promoted by the Bible, our constitution, and traditional culture. These ideals, throughout our history, have nurtured a national character that would abide no tyranny. But a great transgression has happened. Our legacy of liberty and the right to legitimate protest was never without limitations. Personal freedom does not mean moral nihilism, nor can it justify contempt for Divine authority. A ubiquitous haughtiness in America has replaced our original individualism. It is an evil spirit that despises censure and opposes restraint of self-assertion in any aspect of life.
This attitude is especially apparent in the pursuit of "pleasure." The new amoral assertion is that "pleasure" is only obtainable when there is complete freedom from rules, authority, or moral limitations imposed by others. There can be no limits on our pursuit of pleasure imposed on us by our traditions, religion, family, or civil regulations. "If it feels good, do it" is the current rule of conduct. We are growing closer to the moral chaos like unto the times described in the Book of Judges when "every man did that which was right in his own eyes."
In previous times of great peril or assaults on our way of life [culture], most Americans turned to God or religion. But today, modern theological liberalism denies and negates historic Christian doctrines and traditions and preaches a false gospel. This "new Christianity" is nothing more than an emasculated and bogus imitation of Biblical Christianity. It is without merit or power and has legitimized the degrading "moral leveling."
William "Ed" Nicholson is pastor of Grace Baptist Chapel in the village of Little Summit in Dunbar Township.