Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Moral Compass

For as long as I can remember, I have had to put up with the bigoted assertion that society must beware of the atheist, because he lacks a moral compass. The atheist's lack of a moral compass allows him to sail into any waters no matter how heinous or wrong. At the same time, these same speakers assured all who would listen that their absolute morality will be their unfailing guide, and the people can trust them in positions of power.

News organizations have now released updated figures on Bush's popularity. Thirty-one percent of the people still approve of the job that Bush is doing while in office.

Thirty-one percent of the people still support a regime that endorses:

• torture sometimes until death

• kidnapping and 'rendition'

• imprisoning American citizens based solely on the President's assertion that he wants a person imprisoned and feels that the imprisonment is justified

• secret prisons where the rules of law and morality can be ignored

• secret orders suspending the 4th Amendment to the Constitution (prohibiting warrantless searches and seizures) whenever the President wants to suspend it

• recklessly or intentionally starting a war on false pretenses, with the corresponding loss of life, limb, and the opportunity to save lives that we could have had if we had used those hundreds of billions of dollars differently

• borrowing the wages of our children and grand children through a soaring national debt and redistributing the wealth of our descendents to wealthy campaign contributors

• abusing 'signing statements' so as to turn them into a tool that allows the President to rewrite any law and to prevent the enforcement of those laws through the courts.

Plus, we must consider that this administration has told one lie after another.

• They assured us that they were seeking to avoid a war that had already been 'penciled in.'

• They assured us that nobody in the Administration had anything to do with leaking the identity of a CIA operative who was monitoring Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

• They assured us that Hussein was pursuing weapons of mass destruction when the evidence for that claim had already been discredited.

• They authorized the 'leaking' of lies by claiming that an official government report included 'key findings' about Saddam Hussein's pursuit of nuclear weapons that were not in that report.

• During the campaign for the 2004 elections, they assured us that the government could not spy on Americans without a warrant while they were spying on Americans without a warrant.

• They have rewritten scientific reports on global warming and other threats to the life, health, and property of Americans -- presenting science fiction as science fact -- because they apparently value protecting the wealth of their campaign supporters more than protecting the life, health, and property of the average Americans from these threats.

These are only the things that we have discovered in the past five years.

It is almost certainly the case that this Administration has engaged in other abuses and lies that we have not yet heard about.

The people that we find still supporting this Administration and its policies are those very same people who once assured us that their unfailing and absolute moral compass meant that they could be trusted with power, and would not abuse it. The people who make up the bulk of the 31% who still support Bush are those who condemned people such as myself for years with the charge that our lack of religion meant that others should fear what we may do.

And this is what they give us.


Anonymous said...

Confucius once said,
"Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men."
I feel that this still is the universal definition of morality, religous or not. Most people would realize this. Those who demonize atheists and other "immoral" people lack these qualities themselves, and that is why I feel they lash out at us.

Roya said...

I totally agree with you AE. I am not an ethicist but I wrote about morality and religion on my blog as well.

Anonymous said...

Would be interesting to see how you think the "moral compass" of the Obama administration stacks up to your criteria for judging the Bush administration.