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Moral Authority

Steve —  4.22.2010 — Leave a comment

Today, I heard Rush Limbaugh talk about how he doesn’t think “positionally” when he thinks about politics. He was describing how he doesn’t think about the need to elect/appoint people based on filling a quota or making sure some sense of positional “fairness” is obtained.

This made me think and immediately disagree with El Rushbo based on the fact that we (conservatives) do desire people in office that subscribe to and believe in a moral authority. Let me explain what a moral authority is. Morality is our sense of right vs. wrong and is built in us from a very early age most notably from our parents. Their morality is impressed on us and shapes our morality and somewhere along the way, we build a moral authority in our minds that then helps us filter decisions based on right vs. wrong.

The problem with individual morality is that there is no consistency from one person to another and that leads to what seems right to one person is heinously wrong for another. It is in that tension where trouble is born. This discrepancy played out in politics is the recipe for corruption and closed-door deals that are not in the best interest of the majority.

The way through this seemingly natural difference between what is right and what is wrong is to agree to subscribe to a higher moral authority – one that isn’t subjective and based on our own experiences, but rather objective and based on timeless principles. For followers of Jesus Christ, this moral authority is God and His Word.

Even without the proclamation of faith in Jesus, we see proof of a even more basic moral authority and the evidence of that is when we can all look at something and all identify it as wrong. Take the World Trade Center (WTC) attacks of 2001. The majority of Americans identified that attack as wrong and most went on to call it evil. How on earth were we all able to agree on that if it weren’t for some basic moral authority we all subscribe to?

What separates that morality from the morality of God is the source from with the determination of right vs. wrong is made. General morality is man-based and isn’t universal. Again, look at the WTC attacks – apparently the terrorists that carried out the plan didn’t think that was wrong and it is that kind of disconnect that prevents us from being able to trust general morality to ensure we all make the right decisions – it is still subjective because it is a construct of man.

The morality of God is a construct of the One who exists outside of time; who is completely consistent; who is all powerful; and who isn’t surprised by anything. So when He says something is wrong – we can all trust that it is.

So, when we vote people into office without looking at whether or not they subscribe to God’s moral authority, we should not be surprised when they act in a way that is inconsistent with how we would act. Their decisions are based on a personal moral code.

So, Mr. Limbaugh, I disagree that we shouldn’t elect/appoint people based on positional qualities. I do agree that we shouldn’t care about their race, color or gender; however, we should care a great deal about their character and to which moral authority that character submits. Most notably, you’ll find submission to the higher moral authority in people that profess to have a faith in God. In light of this, religious position must be a characteristic by which we choose candidates. At least then there is hope that they will act in a way that is consistent with an objective standard of right vs. wrong. No guarantee, but still hope nonetheless.