There are some moral principles that we see in every culture. It could be a coincidence that they developed that way, or it could be they had the same inspiration. The Natural Law is the principle that there are certain acts that are innately evil and some that are essentially good. Religious minded people believe God gave each of us a conscience that knows good and evil.
The story of the Garden of Eden speaks about how our innocence was lost. Now, even good people can be deceived about what is good and what is evil. Liberals are not evil but some have lost their sense of morality. When people are taught to think politically correct, concerns like morality are not considered.
Abortion is a good example. To a liberal, the question is the right of a woman to decide what happens to her body. We should all applaud and support that right, however we recognize a moral problem, namely the right of the child in the womb. Taking a life is a moral question. It is deemed okay in a just war, or even by some in the death penalty. It is always considered morally wrong in the case of an innocent life.
Society enacts laws to protect innocents from others who would assert their right to act for their own pleasure. We have laws against incest, pedophilia, rape, etc. Society does have some say in moral matters. But as society evolves and becomes more liberal will it stop at those boundaries or cross them? The principles involved have come from a higher power.
Once God has been removed from consideration, the state becomes the authority on what is right and what is wrong. Once the state becomes the authority, the majority opinion of the political party in power writes the laws. The political make-up of the Supreme Court interprets what the law allows without a moral compass to guide it. Political idealism becomes the guiding principle. The Constitution did not make provision for regulating marriages, rather it left regulating marriage to the states. Some states considered same sex marriages wrong, but have been overturned by a Supreme Court decision that everyone has an equal right to marriage.
The highly prized doctrine of separation of church and state is interpreted to mean we cannot have religious values determining what we can or cannot do. In the past, overly zealous religious leaders over stepped those boundaries in matters that were not really moral in nature. Some will remember Sunday Blue Laws.
Moral leadership in the past made America great. Moral leadership in the future will make us better.
Father Pat Toner can be reached at email@example.com.