The struggle for moral clarity


In a recent column, syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. painted a vivid picture of the breathtaking hypocrisy of liberal ideology when it speaks of morality. According to Pitts, social conservatives, with their "bumper sticker" morality, are certain of the moral clarity of their position, while so-called "progressives" like him appreciate and struggle with the nuances of "complex moral issues."

Pitts argued that it is wrong for social conservatives to have such a degree of moral clarity. This is ironic, because for him to say someone is wrong implies that he is right. Such a position is itself a moral claim and must have come from a place of clarity in his mind regarding what is moral.

The question is not whether one has moral clarity, but from where one's morality is derived. As a Christian my moral clarity comes from God's Word, specifically the moral law as it was given to Moses in the Ten Commandments. Because I believe human life begins at conception, the commandment, "You shall not murder," compels me to protect the life of unborn children. Pitts' moral clarity appears to be defined by whatever a majority of voters (or a majority of Supreme Court justices) say is moral.

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The specific issue in Pitts' column was the recent referendum in Mississippi where voters were asked to amend the state constitution to define a fertilized egg as a human being. It was defeated. Pitts gloatingly pointed to this defeat (in a very socially conservative state, no less) as a repudiation of the knee-jerk morality he so despises in conservatives.

What would have been his response had it passed? Do we really believe he would have said, "The people of Mississippi have spoken, so we must now live in this new moral landscape"? Of course not! That the actual vote supported his moral position is merely convenient. Had this amendment passed, you would have seen (and heard) the liberal left rail loudly at the injustice and wrong now inflicted on society.

Without a majority or the courts on its side to buttress its position, liberal ideology is left without a moral or ethical foundation. Strongly held, passionate beliefs, by themselves, are insufficient. All human beings feel strongly about their views. Liberal ideology also requires power: legislative, judicial, and, especially, media buy-in is essential in creating the "moral clarity" so coveted by liberals.

They use this power, not only to silence external critics and opponents, but, sadly, to also silence the voices of their own consciences, the true seat of the moral law of God.

Michael Cochrane
Michael Cochrane

Michael is a retired Defense Department engineer and former Army officer who is an adjunct professor of engineering management at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. He is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute's mid-career course. Follow Michael on Twitter @MFCochrane.


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