Is America losing its moral values?
People often ask, "Is America losing its moral values? A more appropriate question is, "Are American's losing their moral values." America, in and of itself, can not be moral. We often speak of America being built on moral principles. We say that America was built on strong Christian values as put forth and executed by the founding fathers of this country. If we were to follow this argument, then yes, we can say America has lost its moral values. America lost its moral values when the citizens of this country introduced slavery as an institution of bondage and control rather than a means to pay back a debt as in the Bible. America lost its moral values when the founding fathers adopted a constitution that belittled a man, one of God's children, to a fraction of a person. The founding fathers of this country lost their moral values when they participated in adultery, had children out of wedlock, knowingly accepted slaves that were stolen from their homes, coveted the land of the Indians and stole whatever parts they wanted for themselves. I am not a Biblical scholar but the aforementioned actions break at least four of the Ten Commandments.
That brings me back to the question of, "Have Americans lost their moral values?" The problem with this question and the reason why it will be debated now and for years to come is because we are America, the melting pot. We have citizens in this country from all over the globe and everyone brings with them a different frame of reference for what is "moral" or what is "right". A prime example of this is the issue of marriage. In this country, marriage is considered the union of one man and one woman. If you go outside the marriage you are termed and adulterer and said to be immoral in some people's eyes. In other countries, however, marriage is the union of a man and woman but there is no specification on the number of wives a man can have. And in most instances, the man with the most wives is the most powerful of the group. They are not seen as immoral. Another example of our conflicting moral frame of reference is the issue of people's lives. In other countries, many believe that a person's life can be taken immediately if they commit a crime, commit a hardship on the family, or if their life would be a good sacrifice for their God. In this country, most people believe that killing a person is a moral sin. The dichotomy of it all is that most of those same people believe that it's okay to kill someone on death row or to kill people who are casualties of war.
The reality is that this country is populated by people from all over the world with different backgrounds, beliefs, views and morals. It is easy to say that they live in the United States and should act and be bound by the laws of this country. However, the laws of morality are not man made laws, they are God's laws. When you go to visit another country, you do not leave your Christianity at the airport, you take it with you because it's in your heart. I'm sure the same holds true with other religions as well. They are not going to drop their beliefs and moral code just because they live in the United States.
On the other hand, we have politicians who are spouting the importance of morality in this country but they are not living a "moral" life. You have politicians who introduce laws against lewd acts and then are later charged with soliciting sex in a public restroom. We have politicians who make laws against corporate stealing and then we find that those same politicians hold a large interest in one of those same companies. We have pastors of churches that preach God's word and "morality" and then later they are convicted for having relations with a minor. When our children look to these individuals for guidance of what is right or moral, they get conflicting messages.
Many people confuse morality with laws and opinions. Morality comes from God's law. For Christians, the moral code comes from Exodus 20 and the Ten Commandments. For others, the moral outline may come from the Quran, the Tipitaka, the Sruti, or the Tanakh to name a few. And yes, I do believe that many Americans have swayed from their moral teachings. The number of murders and kidnappings in this country alone would support that belief. In order to change this we must all look at ourselves and how we are teaching our youth. Are we setting good examples of morality or are we giving mixed messages. Do you tell your children it's immoral to steal but then you bring home paper, pens, etc. from your job that you didn't pay for? Do you teach your children not to covet your neighbor but then you run out and buy a new car because Ms. Smith down the street got a new car? Do you preach morality but teach your children to hate certain types of people?
Perhaps our country has become so immoral because we continue to blur the lines of morality. We do not walk the walk. We make exceptions for what is moral to fit our personal lives. We must continue to teach our children to be upstanding and productive members of our society. We have to teach them to respect the value of human life. We have to teach them to love their God as they love themselves. Children are always watching, live your life in a moral and upright manner and hopefully our children will be encouraged to do the same.