Crisis of Conscience
To act according to your own values is the cornerstone of liberty. America began as an ideal to provide each with that opportunity. How far have we fallen? What can be more important than personal conviction? The edict of a political body or the command of a commander in chief cannot…was never meant to supercede the individual’s view of right action.
The individual is granted extraordinary power under the protection of the United States Constitution. The individual rights are the purpose of the establishment of our republic. Why does our current system seek to emulate the monarchies of the past? What convinces the modern American that each person’s liberty should be dependent on a committee’s assessment? What about elected servants’ decisions holds more weight than the conscience of one?
If a Christian were to adhere to every tenet of their faith, would they go to jail? That is the concern of those who understand why our nation was founded and the individual freedoms that remained in jeopardy from the “old world.” Is Christianity necessary in America? No. But…I will contend that America was established to grant a protection for men to exercise their faith as Christians without reprisal. As Christianity has waned in popularity, it still remains a cohesive religion and cannot be discarded despite its opposition to cultural norms.
When popular society has poured out its disdain on people of faith, it has placed the ball squarely in the government’s court. Does government play ball with mainstream society or does it preserve the intent of its foundation? If it errs on the side of the popular view it has ceased to possess its lawful morrings. If it condemns those who declare righteousness to be of an independent source, it has ceased to place its authority in God and seeks rather to appease men. No greater weakness can exist than to place firm reliance on the ever shifting positions of men. No fortitude can exist when public sentiment guides the dictates of men. When mortal men are the source of authority, untethered to the acknowledgment of a higher than themselves, their basest instinct will be the root of their desire.
When a mortal man believes his cause is noble, no source beyond himself can counter his ideals. Yet, when a mortal man recognizes that temporal ambition drives him, he can defer to a source of authority higher than himself, he may be apt to concede to that archaic law established long before men. It remains an independent confirmation standing in judgment of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Once upon a time in America, those who stood firm in their reliance upon conscience were showered with adoration. They were granted due respect. Weakness (toward which man has always been predisposed) placed conscience on the second or third tier when it came to their motivations. Expedience often wins the day in the lives of ordinary men. Then again, possessing the boldness to act on personal conviction and that rooted in a conscience, set men apart…made them figures to be wondered at, admired.
Then a shift occurred. It became arrogance to set standards so high, to place conscience before cause. Expedience took precedent of right action. Those once revered found themselves in a position akin to the enemy for adhering to values, for maintaining principles that hindered movement or cause. Nobility was cast aside in favor of its savage cousin: victory. Chivalry is dead indeed. In its place, stands the conquering hero, foreign in motive and deed to the cause which propelled him to triumph.
Without conscience to guide a man to right action, he is bound by nothing. He will ride the popular tide even if it means that he adopts many of the savage traits of the vanquished.
To delegate conscience to a place of refuse should be considered the greatest of American travesties and, I would contend, it provides the punctuation mark to our decline. If we continue to sear our consciences like a doctor burning nerves meant to alert us of the damage being done there will be no recovering.
Take inventory of the following items. Right action is demonstrated through integrity, honor, loyalty, truth and selflessness. Venerate these qualities and restoration is near at hand. Those who currently act upon those qualities are playing by rules long established. Those who condemn them in favor of winning have relinquished victory, cheering as they are defeated.