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I am watching Rachel Maddow, including the clips on Rick Santorum's idiotic response first to small child asking about making medicine more affordable, then a mother of a child with cancer who noted other children at the oncology center whose families could not afford the care - let it suffice to say that Santorum seemed to weigh the profits of the drug companies as more valuable than the iives of children.

Then Rachel had a discussion with E. J. Dionne.  He noted that the Religious Right had been successful in setting the bounds of legitimacy as far as what counted as moral issues.

I disagree.

We should be reclaiming the public space. . . .

It is not moral that people read Scripture selectively to justify their greed and selfishness and ignore words from Jesus that in many Bibles appear in red, for example, that what you do to these the least of my brethren you do also unto me.

It is not moral to scorn and belittle others who may be different than you are in race, religion, politics, income, "beauty" or any other dimension, especially if you claim to be a Christian, when Jesus asked how you could claim to love God whom you could not see when you hate your brother who is visible before you.

It is not moral to judge others by a standard you are unwilling to apply to yourself.

It is not moral to deceive people to obtain their votes, to distract them from truth.

It is not moral to lie a nation into war.

It is not moral to treat another human being as less than you because of race, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, income or any other category.

It is not moral to willingly or even deliberately bankrupt a company in order to gain more profits for yourself, while the people who worked in that company and the communities in which they live are devastated.

It is not moral to claim to be "moral" and to criticize your opponents who may have honest disagreements as "immoral."

It is not moral to seek political power by dividing the people, causing them to turn on others rather than seeking to bring us together for common purpose - we are and must be one nation, one people.

It is not moral to be willing to destroy the economies of other nations in order to enrich people in ours, because it is not moral to say that Americans are more worthy than people in other nations who may have little or no choice in the form and leadership of their nations.

I do not consider myself a Christian.  Yet from my years in Christianity as well as those in Judaism I am well aware of the cautions of great figures of both religions against those who would claim to be moral yet whose actions contradicted those claims.  Since most who make moral claims in their political advocacy claim to be Christians perhaps they should remember the story about Jesus telling the crowd that one who was himself without sin should cast the first stone, then no one threw anything.  For those who might be willing to be hostile to those not born in this country, who look different, who may have entered illegally, the commands of the Hebrew God to the Jewish people not to be harsh towards the sojourners in their land because they themselves had been sojourners in the land of Egypt.

One need not have a religious basis to be moral.  One can perhaps take the command to physicians from the Hippocratic oath to First Do No Harm.  The Golden Rule exists in many forms, from that of Hillel not to do unto others as you would not want done unto you.   The idea of reciprocity exists in many cultures.  We can also read it as a categorical imperative as posited by Kant, that our actions should be such that we are willing to see them universally applied.

It saddens me that many who claim a mantle of moral superiority in their political pronouncements and actions seem so lacking in true morality.

At least for me, true morality requires one to recognize the full humanity of every other human being, and to treat her or him accordingly.

Insofar as our politics fails to meet such a standard, it is to my mind immoral.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well done, teacherken! n/t (4+ / 0-)

    _ I've spoken my piece and counted to three._

    by althea in il on Thu Feb 02, 2012 at 06:50:58 PM PST

  •  You are 100% right ... (5+ / 0-)

    I know some are hesitant to use religion while campaigning and stuff .. but religion isn't going anywhere anytime soon .. so it's a wonder we don't talk about it more .. and talk about Jesus throwing the money changers out of the temple .. and everything you mentioned above

  •  Yes, and really, to me, family values (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, Ree Zen

    don't have anything to do with what kind of sex anyone has or abortion or anything like that.  Having family values means to me that when one of my family members is in need, I will do what I can to help them.  Being moral means that when anyone needs help and comes to me I'll do what I can to help them.

    I changed by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate, perhaps that's what no one wants to see. -6.38, -4.15

    by James Allen on Thu Feb 02, 2012 at 06:56:00 PM PST

  •  A local fellow has condensed your diary into a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, notdarkyet

    Sigline, of course, he did so a while back.

    Who is that fellow?  That would be this guy.

    His Sigline?

    " Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe. "

    Very nice diary, Ken. Thoughtful and deep - unlike my comment... but hey, not all of us are Wordsmiths of your degree, my friend.


    * * *
    I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization
    * * *
    "A Better World is Possible" - #Occupy

    by Angie in WA State on Thu Feb 02, 2012 at 07:10:48 PM PST

  •  Well You Can't Disagree with What Dionne Said, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notdarkyet, teacherken

    it's a simple fact that they have indeed succeeded at defining what issues define morality.

    As a principle I agree we shouldn't let that stand, but it requires a revolution against what's already happened.

    Sometimes politics fails because a society is formally and forcefully attacked. That's not a moral failing. It's a failing of awareness in our case but not morality.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Feb 02, 2012 at 07:21:29 PM PST

  •  Teacherken, even though your diary doesn't (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ree Zen

    have 99 theses, it should be nailed on the doorpost of Congress. Perhaps it would lead to a badly needed political reformation.                                                          

  •  "and your wise men don't know how it feels, (0+ / 0-)

    to be thick as a brick."  Jethro Tull

  •  I was amused to watch an AL legislator (0+ / 0-)

    who tried to use Bible verses to justify limiting teacher salaries and then turn around and use other verses to justify increasing legislator salaries by 50%.  Over in KY, the legislature has found $50M in incentives and tax breaks for the Ark Park while cutting $50M from education.  SD legislature has fostered a resolution calling for the Bible to be included in every subject while IN is trying to force ID into the classroom.
    I would say the extremists are now setting the parameters of the debate on morality as the majority religions have abdicated their responsibilities

  •  Romney care has definitely not lowered (0+ / 0-)

    the cost of medical care in Massachusetts. A state that I believe has only 2% uninsured.

    We have double digit premium increases for the last 5 years that it has been in place.  Out of pocket cost are up. Etc..

  •  I've been working on this quietly for a while (0+ / 0-)

    Finally, I've started to hear other people say...We need to have a conversation about VALUES.

    99% isn't enough. We're all in this together.

    by Frank Lee Speaking on Thu Feb 02, 2012 at 11:01:09 PM PST

  •  Eve of Destruction (0+ / 0-)

    well, as Barry McGuire so effectively encapsulated in that final refrain from his classic:

    "...Think of all the hate there is in Red China
    Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
    You may leave here for 4 days in space
    But when you return, it's the same old place
    The poundin' of the drums, the pride and disgrace
    You can bury your dead, but don't leave a trace
    Hate your next-door neighbor, but don't forget to say grace
    And, tell me over and over and over and over again, my friend
    You don't believe
    We're on the eve
    Of destruction..."

    The only way they can win is to define the rules of the game in their interest.  A level playing field is anathema to them.  Just how evil does one need to be that one distorts the rules in order to make oneself feel better about the actions being pursued?  Perhaps we should all take a mirror to demonstrations so that such people can see themselves for once.

    "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

    by PrahaPartizan on Thu Feb 02, 2012 at 11:18:22 PM PST

    •  They do not see themselves, even (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      when they look in the mirror. It is because they have no self-awareness that they have no awareness of others.  They have no basis for comparison.  When there is no sense of 'I' there is no sense of 'thou.'
      I do believe there's a sensory awareness deficit (SAD).  There is a difference between attention and awareness. Attention watches but does not process or comprehend what it sees.  There is no understanding or knowing.
      Donald Rumsfeld famously said:

      [T]here are known knowns; there are things we know we know.
       We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.
       But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don't know.    ”

      He left out the unknown knowns -- the things people know instinctively but aren't aware of cognitively.

      People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

      by hannah on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 12:50:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Groupists perceive the approved (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    behaviors of whatever group they belong to to be moral.  So, if a person wants to belong to a group, s/he has to behave as the group demands.  Because what holds the group together is obedience.

    I suspect groupists have no sense of themselves as individuals.  They don't really feel attached to the group either, but they want to belong.  So, they go along to get along and do what they're told as a matter of convenience.  It's better to be in a group than to be alone.  Being solitary is the bane of their existence. They exclude to punish because being excluded is the worst thing they experience.  Bad enough that they often feel like outsiders.

    Groupists do not have an objective moral standard that assigns value to actions in an abstract manner.  That's why they have no problem, for example, with state authorized killing of other humans, whether in warfare, as collateral damage or in retribution for a crime. What makes this killing moral is that it is authorized and the executioners are being obedient--i.e. not acting on their own hook.

    The culture of obedience replaces good and evil with just one criterion--obedience.  The problem with those tried and convicted at Nuremberg was that they were "just following orders."  The insertion of the word "just" implies that following orders was an excuse, not the primary impetus. That is, they recognized their behavior was immoral and did it anyway because there was someone to blame.  Their obedience was not pure.

    If you look at the faces of the cops in NYPD and OPD, you can see that they have been trained to discount and disregard the effect of their actions or the individuals they are acting on.  The protesters are disobedient and deserve to be punished.  After all, that's the regimen they've been trained to follow.  Obey.  Which is why, when the protesters scatter or go in another direction, the cops are often left randomly milling about.  They do not know what to do next without orders.  Eventually, they fall back into formation. The cops have been trained to behave like robots. The question is was that the inclination of the recruits or did it have to be infused?

    Looking at robotic Willard, one gets the impression that some people come that way.  Poor Willard's program is not sufficiently dynamic for what's trying to be accomplished.

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 12:41:39 AM PST

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