What happened To Right and Wrong

the constitution

According to the recent Supreme Court decision, “We the People” are now being forced to accept a particular type of sexual behavior, as it is now the “law of the land.” And all this time I thought the Constitution said, Congress (not the Court) shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.Aren’t the courts supposed to interpret (not write) laws?

Can someone please do a favor for me and define “right” and wrong?

Do we even have universal standards for right and wrong today? If so, what are they based on? Who and what determines whether or not something violates those concepts? Is it wrong to murder someone? Steal from people? Lie about people? Is it all simply a matter of public opinion?

For the most part, a majority of people reading this would agree that certain things like disrespecting your parents, murder, stealing, adultery or lying is wrong. We have laws against most of these and court cases, lawyers, judges, etc., to ensure we do not get away with same. Why?

One of the first things I learned as a child was the difference between right and wrong. “Ben, don’t lie, steal or cheat; that’s wrong.” I also learned there were consequences for violating the rules or standards established by parents and other authority figures. It was called “punishment,” and it ranged from mild, (privileges restricted, sitting or standing in the corner) to “severe” (a spanking).

It used to be that violations of the aforementioned standards were enforced in the family and across the entire African-American community. “R-e-s-p-e-c-t” was not just a song sung by an R&B artist, but a concept implemented by all, and especially children toward adults. For violating any of these community standards, a child could be spanked by a responsible adult and sent home with a note of explanation. Depending on the severity of the “crime,” many children could receive additional disciplining. (As a point of information, the party administering the initial punishment would, in church Sunday, if not sooner, advise the parent of the actions taken against the “perpetrator.” And woe unto the child who had not delivered the note reporting the incident.)

However, apparently the times, they are a-changin’. Today, there seem to be no community standards of morality that are applicable to all. The present modus operandi is “every man for himself” or the old familiar phrase, “If it feels good, do it.”

Here is a question for you. Which person is the least dead: one killed by first, second or third-degree murder or manslaughter? Killing a person today is not simply murder; apparently it depends on the circumstances.

Perhaps a relatively new word in some modern vocabularies –”morality” – is the stumbling block. Morality is defined as “principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior; ethics, mores, standards/principles of behavior.”

Certain time periods and cultures apply entirely different meanings to this standard. As I was raised during the publicly active days of the KKK and White Citizen’s Council, etc., violations of the accepted behavioral standards by a black against a white could, and sometimes did, result in the death of the violator. Is the way women are still treated in many parts of the world today right or wrong? The responses given to that question would depend heavily on the morality of the responders.

I guess the answer to all our questions rests on the application of that word, “morality” –”principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.” This then begs the question: What is the basis for our American principles, ethics and mores? Could it perhaps be the same Book the justices swear on when they take the oath of office?

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One thought on “What happened To Right and Wrong

  1. Mac says:

    It’s commonly known as “relativism”… what may be “right” for you, may not be “right” for me; or, “as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else, it’s OK” ; or “there’s no such thing as absolute truth” ; or, “I’m the captain of my soul…” . The individual is answerable to no one except him/herself, and “morality” is arbitrary. Just like Isaiah says, “Each one has gone his own way”. The obvious result is cultural chaos and “anything goes”. Remember the adage, “Kill sin, or sin will kill you!” Personally, I believe it is too late to rein in the American horse, but God is not dead, and will bring His will to pass because He alone is sovereign. If we do not trust in Him and repent of our sins, both personal, and national, then we will reap the result, and many woes will be upon us and we will not recover from them.

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