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The magnetic poles have disappeared. Compasses are spinning wildly, madly. There is no true north. Or at least there isn’t in America.

We are losing our grasp on the difference between right and wrong. Worse yet, we can’t even agree on what is right or wrong. For instance: It is either always wrong to deny service to someone in a public place or it is not. Case in point (and without naming names), a Virginia restaurant that recently turned away a public official. Some people are fine with this decision. Others are irate to the point of flinging human waste. Several years ago, a bakery refused service to a former Democratic Vice President. Its owner was lauded as a hero and champion of first amendment rights and invited to speak at a rally for the current Speaker of the House. So which is it? Is it right (in which case apologies are due to the Virginia restaurant) or not (in which case apologies are due to the offended patrons)?

Because here’s the thing: It can’t be both. So often I read (usually in the comments section of a news article, which I should never, ever read) “well, it was okay when so-and-so did it.” Or “you didn’t get mad when [your guy] did it.” Morality is not built on “buts” and “yets.” Either a thing is wrong, and we all treat it that way, or it is right — and we accept it.

The problem is, we’ve lost all ability to suss out what we collectively believe to be right or wrong. Is it wrong to take children from their parents if they commit a misdemeanor (like shoplifting or illegally crossing the border) or no crime at all (seeking asylum, just walking down the street)? If so, it is always wrong, no matter what the skin tone of the child or parent. If it is always right, God help us.

I strongly believe in the separation of church and state. However, I think a country should have a moral backbone; we should stand for something. So what does America stand for? If it is civility and decency, those things must come from the top down. If it is making money and closing our ears to the plights of the less fortunate, it is time to own that position. Because if we don’t — if we don’t come together to decide what is acceptable moral behavior and what is not — not only do we become the biggest hypocrites on earth, we fail one another. We also fail God.

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I wouldn’t say that it is shame that keeps me from doing right.  It would be more accurate to call it aggravation.

It seems like so often when I feel the need to step up and step in someone is going to be irritated.  “We’re a green church.  We shouldn’t use styrofoam plates.” “There’s no need to try to intimidate her just because she’s Muslim.  You need to step back.”

Clearly, I get why someone is irritated when I step in.  When my husband and I saw the intimidated woman in the grocery, it was obvious that stepping in was sending a message that the other people were bullies and racist.  Even when one of us reminds people that we are supposed to be going green, I get it.  It can be really embarrassing to have another adult call you out on something.

And that’s something that I’m going to remember the next time someone says something to me.  We all make mistakes, myself included.  No one but God is perfect.  And it may well have taken a lot of nerve to say something to me.  After all, I’m not known for keeping my big mouth shut.  Keeping true and doing right.  It’s never easy.

–SueBE

 

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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