In my last post, I wrote about the dangers of the slippery slope. In this post, I propose to address a specific practice that leads to the slippery slope of moral decay. As with my last post, I would like to start by referencing Glenn Beck. Once again, I would like to stress that, while I believe Mr. Beck is one of the few truly sincere voices on talk radio, I have found myself disagreeing with him a great deal. In this particular case, the issue is ‘compromise.’ For some time now, Mr. Beck has been advocating for his audience to seek common ground with those who are opposed to their values. According to his own words, Mr. Beck believes that Americans have more in common than we know — namely our support for the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately, I think Mr. Beck’s religious beliefs have clouded his mind. One need do nothing more than listen to the people Beck seeks to make peace with to know they do not support the U.S. Constitution. In fact, many of them have openly stated their desire to do away with it. And yet, Mr. Beck continues to urge his audience to seek common ground with and make peace with these people. Now, there is nothing wrong with compromise — so long as it is on how one achieves a goal and not on matters of right and wrong. But that is the problem with Mr. Beck. He is advocating compromise on matters of right and wrong, and that leads directly to the slippery slope of moral and social decay.
I suppose a few examples are in order. The first example I can think of is the debate over whether or not people should boycott companies such as the NFL and Nike for their support of anti-American movements. Here, Mr. Beck defends the NFL and Nike based on the argument that they are private companies and have a right to do whatever they wish with their property. Beck has repeatedly asserted that he does not support the idea of boycotts and has offered many explanations for why he has no problem continuing to do business with companies that attack the beliefs he claims are his core values. Hollywood is another example. Beck says to boycott Hollywood would mean we could never see another movie, so he isn’t going to do it. This is what I mean by Mr. Beck’s appeal for compromise when it comes to boycotting, and he bases his argument in an appeal to the Constitution and property rights.
Another example is Mr. Beck’s defense of the media. He has made many impassioned arguments defending the ‘right’ of the media to say and do anything it wants — even to the point of destroying their political opponents. According to Beck, this is what the Founders wanted when they wrote the First Amendment: defense of any and all speech — especially that with which we disagree. As a result, Mr. Beck has strenuously defended the media’s right to lie to the public, even when it endangers the continued existence of the nation. Again, Mr. Beck has advocated a compromise between right and wrong and based it on his supposed support for the Constitutional protection of free speech.
Finally, a third example is found in Mr. Beck’s plea to for his audience to stop calling evil by its name. In this case, Mr. Beck has told his audience that the people on each side of our national divide are equally good, and have common values. He has said that we must stop calling each other evil or wicked and reach out in conciliatory terms to make peace with each other. Unfortunately, this is a clear compromise on right and wrong. In fact, it is one of the clearest examples of moral compromise on talk radio today. This time, Mr. Beck bases his appeal for compromise on Scripture and his supposed Christian faith.
[For the record: I have listened to Beck almost daily for the last 15+ years. I have heard his arguments many times. I have not committed straw man here; I have faithfully described Mr. Beck’s positions as he has stated them on the radio — many times.]
OK, now that we have three examples of Mr. Beck advocating compromise, let’s take a closer look at them. The goal here is to determine whether or not each of these examples seeks a common goal achievable without compromising values, or does compromise in these areas require compromise of what is right and wrong. We will start with the issue of boycotting.
The first example is the notion that we should not boycott a company that attacks our values. Honestly, I do not understand Mr. Beck’s argument here. He defends a company’s right to do whatever it wants based on private property rights, but then denies the legitimacy of boycotting that company even though a boycott is based in true Natural Rights: that of freedom of association and freedom to contract. First, a corporation does not have a ‘right’ to make whatever political statement it wishes — especially when it can be reasonably expected to affect the company’s stock value. This is because the company has a fiduciary duty to all stock holders: both those who agree with the political statement and especially those who do not. To use a person’s money for an agenda with which they do not agree morally is lawlessness. To cost a person financial loss by using their money to further that agenda is also lawlessness. Just as it is lawless for a company that exists only because of the permission of a society to deliberately attack that society is also lawlessness. But worse, to urge those who seek to act lawfully to ignore this lawlessness and continue to do business with such companies is to urge those people to abandon righteousness for lawlessness. In Scriptural terms, by arguing against boycotts as a means to punish a company’s lawlessness, Mr. Beck is urging people to become un-equally yoked:*
2 Corinthians 6:14-16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
14 Do not be [a]bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with [b]Belial, or [c]what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
If we do not use whatever lawful means are available to us to correct lawlessness and wrong doing in our society, we send the message that lawlessness and wrongdoing is acceptable. Boycotting a company that acts lawlessly is one such means, and the Left has repeatedly demonstrated that it can be effective. So why urge people not to boycott? More than that, why justify doing nothing in response to lawlessness? I suspect the true answer is that we do not want to deprive ourselves of the product these companies produce, so we are willing to compromise on a matter of right and wrong instead of giving up personal comforts. This is the first step down the slippery slope.
Now let’s look at the press/media. Do we have an un-limited right to free speech? Well, can you yell “FIRE!” in a crowded theater? The answer is no. Do you have a right to advocate violence or the destruction of property? No, that is also against the law. Do you have a right to advocate the killing of others, especially public officials? Again, no, that is against the law. I could go on, but I shouldn’t have to do so. By now, it should be obvious that one cannot claim a right to do something that is illegal for an individual by claiming to be the press. Well, in recent years, the American press has called for violence, the destruction of property, murder and even political assassination. So why would anyone defend them based on the First Amendment when the things they are publishing are clearly not protected by the First Amendment? This extends to political attacks. If you or I slander or liable someone and it causes them real, tangible harm, we can be sued. This is based in our Natural and Constitutional rights. Yet, by some twisting of logic, the Courts have said this protection does not extend to a public servant. Why? Do they somehow lose their rights when they are elected? Or is the media just immune from the same laws that would apply to an individual doing what they do? No, the truth is that this mess with the media has been created by a slide down the slippery slope from the lawful to the lawless. So, to defend anything the media says or does based on the First Amendment is to compromise on matters of right and wrong, and it quickly leads to lawlessness — especially when the press becomes an openly hostile enemy of the very society that allows it to exist (as for God’s Word on slander and liable, I would strongly suggest the article below. It is one of God’s most stringent no-no’s**).
Finally, we have the matter of whether or not we should refrain from pointing out that people are doing evil just for the sake of making them more willing to talk civilly with us. I sort of like this meme, both because I think it nails the current condition of the Church, but also because it makes the point upon which I am about to expand:
Calling people to repent is the same thing as telling them to stop doing evil — pure and simple. But Mr. Beck is not alone in urging others not to call each other evil. You know what? I just can’t do that — not when they are clearly doing evil. For example. A great many people in our society are advocating for Socialism. Well, the Lord sees that as theft, and the Lord has a commandment against stealing. So how — or better yet — why would I want to make thieves feel more comfortable in their lawlessness? Did Jesus seek to make the Pharisees comfortable in their sin so they would be more willing to listen to and agree with Him? No, in fact, I think He called them sons of Satan! Well, the same principle applies to those people calling for the theft of other people’s property. But what of the poor, you ask? Aren’t believers supposed to help the poor? Once more, I have a cute little meme that answers that question rather pointedly:
(The same principle applies to voting for the government to take from the rich and give to the poor. Christ did not tell people to take the rich young man’s possessions and give them to the poor; He told the rich young man to sell them and give to the poor, himself. Otherwise, it is not charity, it is theft.)
This same principle applies to those who advocate for abortion. Abortion is murder — period! Why would a righteous person ever want to refrain from calling it for what it is? Why would we not want to call the people who advocate for it murderers? If they are supporting murder and you fail to warn them of that, then you are not showing them an agape love. What’s more, Scripture warns that, if you see danger and fail to warn (Spiritual or physical), then the blood of the lost will be on your hands. But how can we warn people they are doing evil if we are not supposed to point out that they are doing evil?
The point here is simple: a righteous person (or a person who seeks to be righteous) must never compromise on matters of right and wrong. This means you can either stand on the side of right, or you stand on the side of wrong. If you do not choose, then you automatically place yourself on the side of wrong. That’s just how it works. Yet, for the sake of finding “common ground,” many would say we have to stop calling lawlessness by its name. I’m sorry, but I cannot do that. If I did, I would be placing myself squarely on the wrong side of Isaiah 5:20-23:
20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who [n]substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who [o]substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
And clever in their own sight!
22 Woe to those who are heroes in drinking wine
And valiant men in mixing strong drink,
23 Who justify the wicked for a bribe,
And take away the [p]rights of the ones who are in the right!
God has two sets of Law: Natural and Revealed (Romans 1 and 2). Both sets of Law establish right from wrong. This is the source of what we call morality. The Laws governing morality are universal and eternal: they apply equally to all, for all time. If society starts to compromise on these Laws, then it starts down the slippery slop of decay. That decay is the result of the lawlessness that results from moral compromise. It starts by accepting that a girl should be able to wear a mini skirt around adolescent boys. Then we accept the notion that teenagers need to be trusted by themselves. Afterward, we accept the notion that we need to teach sex education and provide condoms because…. Well, you know: “They’re going to do it anyhow, so…” Until, finally, we are telling society it needs to pay to help all the un-wed teenage mothers raise their children — not to mention the treatment of STD’s and all the other social problems created by the children who get into trouble because they did not have a responsible father figure in their lives. You see, the whole process is a series of “not calling things for what they are.” In this particular case, the steps toward sexual immorality in our society were based on the removal of any and all personal responsibility for the consequences of sexual immorality. And this is just one example of how the slide down the slippery slope works, and it all starts with a little compromise on right and wrong.
The truth is, when it comes to matters of right and wrong, everything is black and white. There is no grey. If you think you see grey, that is a sure sign that you are on the wrong side of right.
It’s just that most of us do not want to suffer the personal consequences of doing the right thing. It’s far easier to just tell others they are doing wrong than to actually live by example, but then, this is exactly what Christ calls His disciples to do: live by example. It is what is meant by being a light to the world.