Monday, December 05, 2022

The New Morality of Self Indulgence

Face the Nation moderator, Margaret Brennan (YouTube)
Anyone that denies there’s a culture war going on in western civilization isn’t paying attention. The ‘war’ is between those of us that believe that there is a Higher Power Who determines the code of human conduct and those who see humanity determining it. And the latter is winning. Big time!

For those of us that believe in the former, these are troubling times. This is not to say that the latter are a bunch of atheists or agnostics (although some are). It is that even if they believe in a Higher Power, He has given over that determination to humanity. And that the bible (or the Koran) is not necessarily the word of God. That in essence, scripture was written by man at time when morality was defined differently without the benefit of the new discoveries of the modern era.   

Biblical values have thus been discarded as not only irrelevant, but as grossly immoral themselves. Influential media people buy in heavily to the new morality and promote it with near abandon. This sad fact came through to me yesterday when Face the Nation moderator, Margaret Brennan, asked Secretary of State, Anthony Bliken, how the US could support an incoming (politically and religiously) right wing extremist government in Israel that would dare to cancel a Gay Pride Parade (among assorted similar challenges an incoming Israeli government would do to her humanistic values). 

It wasn’t so much about the question itself as it was about the way she said it. The outrage over favoring a biblical value over the ‘more moral’ humanistic value was written all over her face. 

(To his credit, Blinken said the US will continue its relationship with Israel as it always has no matter what kind of government it forms. And that he doesn’t care so much about what potential extremist government officials have said.  He only cares about what they will do - what their policies will be.)

This is not to say that gay people should be discriminated against. That itself would be sinful. It is to say only how normalized values antithetical to the scripture of the 3 major faiths have become in recent years.

Brennan is not the only media personality that has expressed this attitude. I have yet to see anyone in the mainstream media challenge that view. In the rare circumstance where they interview someone of faith who holds biblical values dear, you can practically see their indignation - if not ridicule - written all over their faces. Same as Brennan!

In a related issue the media was all over Qatar for adhering to their religious beliefs.  Islam sees homosexual sex as sinful. Same as Judaism and Christianity do. Still, Qatar did not ban gay athletes from participating in the World cup of Soccer.  But they did ban gay symbols from being displayed. Which I’m sure they felt would seem like an endorsement of a lifestyle conducive to sin in the eyes of Islam. 

This was universally protested and condemned by the media. No one defended Qatar’s right to practice what their religion preaches. The media saw their religious beliefs to be immoral since it forbids gay people from expressing their self identification as indistinguishable from heterosexuals. Conclusion? Traditional biblical values are immoral! 

And finally there is what’s going on in Iran with the ‘Morality Police’. An Iranian woman was arrested and later killed because she did not fully cover enough of her hair according to Islamic law. 

To be absolutely clear what Iran did in pursuit of their religious beliefs is an outrageous abuse of their power to enforce the Islamic law by which the country runs. I strongly doubt that Islamic laws says that women should be executed for not covering their hair properly. 

Their ‘Morality Police’ is not at all dissimilar to  the Vaad HaTznius one finds in the more extreme segments of the Charedi world. A lot of atrocities have been committed by this group. Or by people in their community that sympathize with them. While there are differences in scale, the idea is the same. In both instances the punishment does not fit anywhere near the crime.

So I actually agree with the outrage expressed by the media and the rest of the civilized world over how extremist Iran treats women that violate their modesty laws. Same outrage I have when our own extremists do it.

But the media isn’t just protesting the manner in which sanctions in Iran are carried out. Or even the Modesty Police. They are protesting the modesty standards themselves – ridiculing the idea that anyone living in the 21st century would consider a woman’s exposed hair to be immodest.

But it doesn’t matter that uncovered hair is not considered immodest in western culture. What matters is a nation that is governed by religious law ought to be able to determine what is and isn’t immodest based on their religious beliefs. Not what others think about them. And their beliefs ought to be respected. Not ridiculed.

This is a sad commentary on the world in which we live. It is one thing to protest the way Iran carries out enforcement of their religious laws. It is anther to ridicule their laws themselves. Even if it is only done in the subtlest of ways as is often the case. That may in fact be worse than of they would openly ridicule it. A subliminal message may very well be make a deeper impression than an overt message.

When a nation so completely rejects biblical values in favor of humanistic values, self indulgence becomes a value in and of itself. As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. ‘If it feels good, do it!’ quote a phrase made popular in the the late sixties. That is the new moral standard. And that can rapidly descend the nation into an immoral abyss. Immorality and self indulgence destroyed ancient Rome. Is that where we are headed?