I had an interesting conversation this week with a man that I respect very much. He has been a successful businessman and has been the benefactor of many Christian Churches and the Boise Rescue Mission. He is a man of faith and deep grounded moral beliefs. He offered the opinion that he would love to see two men walking into his church, one with a MAGA hat, the other with a BLM hat. I offered the opinion that in order to have such a “kumbaya” moment there must be a shared moral predicate between people who hold different political philosophies. It is not the job of religion to advocate for institutional change. Jesus and his disciples never advocated for changing political institutions. Only by first changing the hearts of men, will temporal and civil institutions change. Our founding Fathers understood that coercion and forcing one’s will on another, is not allowing individuals to exercise their own “free will and liberty”. The moral predicate passed down for over ten thousand years through Jerusalem, Athens, Magan Carta, The Enlightenment, and our country’s great Founding Documents provides a moral blueprint for individuals to exercise their individual sovereignty and conduct institutional and civil business whose primary business should be to secure individual liberties. The primary focus of this march of humanity is personal, but never private.
Sometimes we come to strong conclusions based on wrong assumptions. The breakdown of moral Biblical assumptions—the moral predicate upon which our Founding Documents rest, and that are unique in this regard in the history of all the world, is what makes political compromise impossible in many situations. If ever there was a time when this has been proven to be the case—this is the time. Humanistic nominalism that places man at the center of the moral equation and allows for situational ethical solutions to be applied along with emotion and superstition to everyday issues involving right and wrong creates a “conduit to moral degeneracy”. A legal system that is ambiguous in its definition and application of the law is not one that encourages individual liberty or economic growth. Political systems of coercive totalitarianism that are most interested in the projection of their own power and not in individual liberty, have always failed.
I say this in light of what has happened in Israel over the past 5 days in the Middle East. I have heard arguments that the seeds for what happened can be found in the Balfour Declaration of 1917 that was simply a letter between Arthur Belfour the British Foreign Minister during WWI and Lord Rothchild a Jewish member of the British Parliament. The Balford “Accord” stated that a portion of Palestine after years of Turkish Ottoman subjugation was to be given back to the Jewish people who had a rightful claim to the land dating back 15,000 years. There has never been a country of Palestine. People who today call themselves Palestinians were never Phoenicians, Canaanites, or Philistines—all claims that have been made from CNN newsrooms to shows like THE VIEW this week. The rule of law and the Biblical predicate upon which such law rests are exemplified in the Israeli Constitution, a document that is too Theocratic and totalitarian for my tastes, but that has evolved in such a way to allow for capitalism to thrive in Israel both in Jewish and Arab populations. In 60 years, Israel has grown from being a third world country to having a standard of living and upward mobility on par with the USA. There has been more Muslim woman serve in the Israeli Knesset than in all the legislative bodies in the Arab World since WWII. Would you rather be an Israeli woman or child walking alone in The Gaza, or a Palestinian walking alone in Jerusalem?
All men and women are fallen. The proclivities that are part of who we are, are not unique to any one individual or group of people. The Veneer theory of civilization can be summed up in the words of Bill Moyers:
“Civilization is but a thin veneer stretched across the passions of the human heart. Civilization doesn’t just happen; we have to make it happen”. Civilization requires a moral predicate and a moral people.
Throughout history the thin veil of humanity has been breached by barbarous acts of evil. The acts of barbarous Hamas Muslims against Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel need to be condemned by all moral people of all faiths and all nationalities. Those who don’t speak out against such atrocities are part of the problem. The Founders and leaders of Black Lives Matters (BLM) need to condemn lead in government, business, and in academic institutions that here to for have supported Hamas, need to speak out. Confronting evil “in all its forms” is a moral obligation of all Christians, Jews, Muslims Hindus, Buddhists, humanists—you name it—even Muslim college students and professors who are reaping the benefits of an education in our country. People who called themselves Christians and Catholics and who were engineers of the Final Solution and The Holocaust weren’t called out in time. Evil in all its forms is nothing more than evil no matter what church one attends or what hat one wears into church. To not call out evil for what it is an act of moral cowardice and as such is a great evil. There is never an excuse for evil.
Evil transcends politics, political philosophy, and economics. The germs of evil do not sprout in the halls of government or in our courts, or our churches and schools, but rather they sprout and germinate in our individual hearts. If we ever get to the point in our country and world where institutions—especially ecclesiastical institutions, do not allow for WE THE PEOPLE to stand against evil, The coercive forces of totalitarianism will prevail. When the individual becomes the property of the state, the “holes in our hearts that can be only filled by God” will have to be filled in private, and there will no longer be a “thin veil” between the conscience and the state.
WE NEED ANOTHER GREAT AWAKENING!