The political and economic air is charged with discussions of ethics. ACORN could well implicate a number of politicians in ethical wrongdoing. Harvard is revamping its business school courses in ethics - since a good many Harvard graduates made not such great news during the recent economic hard times. Presidential czars and advisors bring a colorful bag of questionable ethical practices to the White House, some of which have already come to light, others are just beginning to emerge. Is it ethical to lead school children in a cheer for President Obama? Or to show them a cartoon about cross-dressing? And what about health care? Lots of ethical concerns there, to be sure.
But in America these days ethics is like the weather - everybody talks about it but no one does anything about it. We are a relativistic, pragmatic, and utilitarian society where anything goes, up to a point. These seasons of ethical fussing and fuming come and go with some regularity. After each one, the ethics of the country are more in disarray than before. Why?
Because secular, materialist Americans have no means of stopping the drift of ethical behavior into complete relativism. Nor do they have much will for it. Even Christians don't have a leg to stand on to propose something different, since we have almost universally abandoned the Law of God as having anything to do with the life of faith. So the drift continues. I keep hoping that little cadres and enclaves of Christians will suddenly rediscover the Law of God - holy and righteous and good (Rom. 7.12) - and begin, like the people of Bethlehem in the time of Ruth, to discover the power of grace and transformation latent there. The Law won't save America; only Christ can do that. But the Law has power to check sin and to allow space for righteousness and grace to flourish, which should make rediscovering the Law a high priority on the part of Christians.
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