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Re-Thinking Moral Values

A few Sunday nights ago while tooling around my radio dial, I got a surprise. I heard Dr. Robin Meyers say he had been a columnist for six years for the Oklahoma Gazette and he held the record for the most number of angry letters to the editor. I could identify with this guy.

I was listening to an <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Oklahoma City radio station. The following is my take on remarks Meyers, the Oklahoma City Mayflower Church pastor, made that night.

During the presidential campaigns of last year we heard a great deal about “moral values.” Meyers was angry “for having watched as the faith he loved had been taken over by those who claim to speak for Jesus, but whose actions are anything but Christian.”

Many say it was the so-called “moral values” that swung the 2004 election to Bush. It is time to re-think our moral values.

Of all the moral values discussed and dissected last year I heard no mention of war as a moral value. And a war begun under false pretenses, justifying it as God’s will, is blatantly immoral.

I was ordained to preach the gospel 1951. In these 54 years I have pastored seven churches and taught in six Baptist universities. I have had my faith strengthened by many fine Bible scholars and evangelists. I do not claim to know it all, nor to have “arrived,” but I do know when I am having the wool pulled over my eyes on so-called “moral values.”

America helped establish the international rules for war in 1949, and the treatment of prisoners of war. The Geneva Conventions contain the most important rules limiting the barbarity of war.

U.S. Senator John McCain, who spent years as a POW in North Vietnam, introduced a bill to abide by these rules and not to permit torture to detainees in our present war on terror. The Senate voted 90 to 9 approving it.

Immediately, Vice President Cheney wanted an exemption for the CIA. There is no justification for such a immoral exemption. To have secret prisons in other countries so “enemy combatants” and “suspects” can be tortured can only be labeled immoral.

The present Bush Administration won the White House on “moral values” of their choosing. It is immoral to turn from the Sermon on the Mount (where Jesus taught we should not return violence for violence and those who live by the sword will die by the sword).

We do not want to sink to the level of our jihad-crazy radical Islamists who lop off heads without a second thought. We live by a higher standard. Our history has proven to the world we live by a higher ideal. Masses have immigrated to our shores because this was a place that respected law and humanity. I don’t have to dive into a garbage dump to know it is filthy. Moral values says treat others as you would have them treat you.

Meyers: “Every human being is precious. Arrogance is the opposite of faith…. Believing that one has never made a mistake is the mark of a deluded man, not a man of faith. And war–war is the greatest failure of the human race–and thus the greatest failure of faith.”

Britt Towery is a former pastor, teacher and missionary who writes for the Brownwood Bulletin in Brownwood, Texas.

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