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|Debating Moral Issues||
Moral issues are, once again, at the forefront of political and social discussion. In addition to the so-called "right-to-die" arguments surrounding the Terry Shiavo case, we continue to deal with other issues deeply rooted in morality: pedophilia, violence, homosexuality and abortion.
We must face these issues with strong convictions, but it is critical that we do so with wisdom, love and self-control. History's strongest moral leaders, from Jesus Christ to Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr. to Nelson Mandela, all stood up to the injustices of their times without resorting to extremism.
Far too many, on both sides of the moral debate, appear to want to exterminate those who do not agree with their convictions or share their degree of fervor. This mean-spiritedness may come out of good intentions, but character assassination, militant rhetoric or violence cannot be allowed to hijack our social and political debate.
On both ends of the spectrum we see dangerous edges. The intolerant side demands rigid uniformity. Individuals must conform to their hard-line position or be destroyed. They will turn, in an instant, against those on their own side who hold their views, but do not express them as zealously or defend them as forcefully.
At the other end, the "tolerance" movement insists that there are no moral absolutes. Those who speak out against another's behavior, even peacefully, are mocked, labeled and castigated.
Either of these extremes can lead to destruction. They must be tempered by wisdom and understanding. Communication and debate must occur between those with discernment and compassion in order to find balance and truth.
The poor decisions we make today impact the world in which our children and grandchildren live. Like an earthquake, we see and feel the tremors caused by radicals on both sides. And like a tsunami, these choices quietly build upon each other until one day we find ourselves drowning in the consequences. Let there be no doubt: we reap what we sow.
There is an effective way to address these issues. I have personally met one-on-one with numerous influential clergy, politicians, and business leaders and watched them reverse their positions on moral issues after hearing my heart and considering what I presented to challenge their line of reason. I also arranged meetings with opponents who had been taught to fear one another to the point that they had been unable to hear anyone clearly.
I realize that silence is deadly, but I also know that vitriol is damaging and can be dangerously polarizing. Attitudes and actions speak louder than words. Truth will withstand debate, but it must be communicated in love!
Hopefully, the death of Terry Schiavo will inspire the new birth of true reason, leading to rational decisions that more effectively protect precious lives. So as we work through these difficult issues, reason and understanding must prevail, even as it is based on solid moral foundation. As emotions run high, some will tend to stampede blindly down the broad way of destruction. But we, as a nation and a people, must find the narrow path to life. It is the light of love which will ultimately reveal the way.