One of the most difficult challenges we face as moral beacons for our children is remaining consistent, specifically when certain situations tempt us to deviate from our original stance.
Being consistent with our values is far more difficult than we let on to be, and it’s one of the reasons kids have trouble adapting to certain codes of conduct. If mommy and daddy can’t afford the same considerations to an individual or group of people that they do to another, then mommy and daddy are teaching little Susie that virtue is subjective; that personal opinion shapes one’s code of ethics, not the other way around.
It’s a common mistake all of us do but should be addressed and watched carefully because it’s a HORRIBLE approach to life.
Recently, the news has been inundated with situations like these. As the political climate continues to swell with emotion, reasoning has taken a backseat to anger and that’s NEVER a good lesson to teach our kids. A resolution should never be derived from acrimony.
When someone of the other political party – or, more pointedly, someone in the spotlight we simply don’t like – does something inexcusable and wrong, we acrimoniously condemn their behavior and believe the consequences should be swift and severe. But when one of our “own” does something unjustifiable, our knee-jerk reaction is to downplay the severity, then distract it by pointing to someone ELSE who got away with it. We saw it just as recently as last week with the Samantha Bae vs. Roseanne Barr situation.
And, in as little as just a few hours ago, we saw it with the Court’s decision to uphold a Colorado baker’s right to not serve a married gay couple.
Now, I’ve been somewhat outspoken in my belief that the government should have no say in gay marriage. I realize it’s not a popular position among my readers, but if my position is going to be that the government should have no say in who we should love, then I damn well better be consistent in my belief.
Because I believe that gay couples have every right to marry, you would think I would be of the belief that this recent Supreme Court ruling was abhorrent… but I don’t. I think it was the right decision.
NOT because I think it’s morally ok to turn down someone because they are gay, but because I don’t believe the government (or anyone for that matter) should tell you how to run your business or who you can or cannot serve.
If I owned an ice cream shop and a pedophile or rapist or Neo-nazi or extremist Muslim or drug addict wanted to patron my business, I certainly think I have the right to turn down their business.
Now, TO BE VERY CLEAR BEFORE THE SOCIAL WARRIORS START BLOWING UP MY EMAIL, I’m not suggesting a homosexual couple looking for a wedding cake is the same as any of the aforementioned groups. What I’m saying is that it doesn’t MATTER if they all fall into the same category or not. As a society, we have to be CONSISTENT with how we make decisions and implement laws, and if you favor one group of people over another, it becomes a dangerous, slippery slope.
If liberal groups get to voice their opinion through public forums, so should White Supremest groups. If we have to amend graduation speeches, so they don’t discuss religion or God, then that same standard better be held to others that want to inflict their beliefs on fellow graduates. If we’re going to crucify the likes of Bill O’Reilly, Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes, Al Franken, and Matt Lauer, for being sexual predators, then we can’t give a pass to the likes of Bill Clinton, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, and yes, even Donald Trump.
Why? Because a moral foundation should never be contingent or flexible based on who you LIKE or who you WANT TO BELIEVE is a good person. That’s now how virtuality works. That’s also not how the judicial system works. If it did, we would all be in a world of trouble.
And this is an incredibly important lesson to teach our children, one that becomes convoluted because it’s easy to let our emotions supersede rational and moral obligation.
In the case of Jack Phillips, the decision was actually premised largely around Phillips’ right to a fair and unbiased trial. It was declared that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission grossly mishandled the case by letting THEIR personal opinion muddle due process. And that’s probably true. Because it’s hard to stay committed to a virtual platform when someone you really dislike demands you show them the same latitude you would a person you do like. However, it’s vital that we do; it’s vital that we as a society hold everyone up to the same standards, regardless of their political, social, or economic beliefs.
The next time a public figure that you admire does something inexcusable, let your kid know it’s wrong. Fight every urge you have to say, “oh but so-and-so did the same thing and they didn’t get persecuted for it.” Because it really doesn’t matter what OTHER people do; what matters is that YOU don’t deviate from your own set of standards just because someone you like does.
Teach your kid to always hold themselves and each other accountable for their actions. Teach them that, just because one of their peers does something and gets away with it, it’s not any less wrong if THEY do it. Teach them that ethics and virtue are not subjective nor contingent on favoritism.
If a business can turn down a client because that client goes against their religious belief, then you can’t cry persecution when another business turns you down because of your religious beliefs. If a baker is forced to make a gay couple a cake, then bakers everywhere will have to make cakes for White Supremacists and Hillsboro Baptists.
Once these clear lines become muddled with personal opinion, we no longer live in a democracy with free speech.
And that’s what this country is all about.