Posted on 16. Dec, 2011 by Joe Duty
“One who condones evil is just as guilty as the one who perpetuates it.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Serendipitously, a friend texted the above quote yesterday. It arrived like an arrow piercing convoluted thoughts of personal moral obligation. I went to my favorite dictionary, Merriam Webster, which states that evil is morally reprehensible behavior arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct. Considering that definition there may be some of you out there who would eagerly agree that, from time to time, the label ‘evil’ could be applied to anyone of us as well.
At this juncture I would like to suggest that it is in our DNA to know some form of morality and that an unspoken moral barometer exists in each of us. Although we may turn a blind eye to behaviors we’d rather not see. Is this ‘blind eye’ syndrome because we do not want to be reminded of what we have or could become? Do deviant behaviors exist in each of us, all the while lying dormant until just the ‘right’ set of circumstances present themselves?
Most of us are familiar with the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. Abel comes up missing and God questions Cain. Perhaps God is giving Cain an opportunity to be the man Cain thinks he is and come forward with the truth. Yet, Cain becomes belligerent and with an insolent tone fires back – “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Perhaps at this point we could introduce a discussion: Do we have a moral responsibility to hold each other accountable? When a ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ in our community crosses the boundary lines of decency, does that flip our moral switch? Or do we complacently go on hurriedly about our Christmas shopping list because we are too busy to think about that right now?
Every action is akin to throwing the pebble in the pond. Once the pebble is in, the ripple effect begins. My actions and my choices matter. All that I do affects someone or something else. I have a moral responsibility to all things; including children. My question would be: Is there a code of conduct, respect and honor that exists between humans; and especially between adults and a minor child, regardless of sex? Seems to me the boundary lines have become blurred for society at large.
In Wise County this week a defendant received 10 years probation from 12 of his peers for sexual assault of a minor child. What message have we sent our children, our community and our county?
The musical group Chicago may have said it best. Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?