One of the attractions of being a regular Facebook user is coming across new quotes that have a certain wow factor and, while I may not entirely agree some of them, they often stir me up and make me think (as they say – outside the box). One such was something that Robert Reich was supposed to have said: “The moral crisis of our age has nothing to do with gay marriage or abortion. It’s insider trading, obscene CEO pay, wage theft from ordinary workers, Wall Street’s gambling addiction, corporate payoffs to friendly politicians, and the billionaire takeover of our democracy.”
When I checked good old Wikipedia in order to find out who this guy is, the answer came back that he is a political economist. This figured as the examples he gave as to what contributed to the moral crisis were around that particular area of interest. If I were to look for other examples pertaining to moral crisis, these might well include those from the areas I am involved with, typically around homelessness and asylum seeking – but I get the point.
Having got the point, I came across a group discussion concerning this quote, where one person posted: “I agree 100%. Any opposed?” I might have been tempted to say “50%” and “me”! Regarding gay marriage and abortion, I happen to think these are relevant to the discussion but, since I have already written on the subject (check here and here), I do not propose to say much more about these. I also happen to think that while all the examples Reich mentioned are pertinent, the moral crisis of our age is none of these things per se. I remember once listening to the renowned Christian sociologist, Tony Campolo, speak on his subject of expertise. Feeling a bit irritated because of his liberalism, I took him to task in the Q&A session (although I can’t quite remember what my question was). I do remember, however, part of Campolo’s answer and, as I reflected after, had to recognize that he had made an important point.
What Campolo was saying was that Christians (especially those in the camp I had long been associated) tended to attach a lot of importance to what happened just before life and upon approaching death and tended to neglect what happened in-between. All phases of life, he argued, were important. As an example, while I still see abortion as a moral evil, the fact that equivalent numbers of children die from preventable diseases is also a moral evil, and it is hard to say which of these is worse. While I will campaign against the former to my dying day, I must not neglect the latter. These are relevant considerations given the strength of feeling and arguments taking place between those with conflicting ideas, especially among Christians, sometimes regrettably ending in acrimonious impasses.
But back to the moral crisis, I would argue it is, as I have intimated, none of the issues mentioned above, although all of them may be contributory factors. The crisis, as I see it, is that as a society we fail to recognize and do what is moral but rather we endorse what is not moral, either explicitly or as a result of our inaction. Even when we do come down on the right side, too often we both fail to reward and encourage the right and fail to penalize and discourage the wrong. Given that is how it is, much of the unchecked evil and many of the bad things we see around us are consequences. Living a righteous life according to God’s word is what is needed. I can only say it as I see it and try to do just that and by example to avert whatever the moral crisis which happens to exist, urging others to do the same.