Is American morality being redefined?
I never really understood the power of the culture to change and redefine morality until I watched the film, “The Bridges of Madison County,” with two of my girlfriends.
The movie was basically about the plight of a desperately “unloved” wife who discovered a passionate “love” with a drifter, but ultimately stayed in her marriage for the sake of her family.
At the end of the movie, I sat there thinking, yes, the characters are sympathetic, and it was a powerful performance, but the ultimate message was wrong, because it empathizes with a woman having an adulterous affair.
I expressed my displeasure to my girlfriends, and was utterly shocked when they proceeded to defend the woman’s affair because of her desperate circumstances. After all, they said, her husband did not love her, and the drifter was her “true” love.
I was stunned because both of these friends served together with me in church, and here they were, after watching a two-hour movie, extolling the virtues of having an adulterous affair in certain situations.
This incident with my girlfriends happened years ago, but it serves as a very powerful reminder to me that it is not simply young people who are susceptible to the moral influences of our culture — everyone is.
All of this came back to mind as I watched the latest political convention. As ones who care about the future of our country and culture, my husband and I watched many of the speeches over the three-day event. The speakers gave emotional and passionate pleas, and the audience responded with great enthusiasm.
But as I listened to some of the words, I started to feel like I did that evening when I was watching “The Bridges of Madison County.” I felt like I was witnessing a deliberate attempt to redefine, not simply my values and morals, but the values and morals of our nation.
This attempt to redefine America’s morality, was evident, for example, as speakers talked about a woman’s “right” to proposed health services like contraception and abortions — while ignoring the rights, or even existence of an unborn child.
We heard it as speakers talked about the “right” to love and marry whomever one loves — referring to homosexual couples — while ignoring the fact that every state which has voted on the issue overwhelmingly voted to keep marriage defined as it has always been — a union between a man and a woman.
We heard it when enthusiasts spoke about the “right” to everyone having healthcare and implying that the federal government should regulate and control the costs and services provided in the healthcare system, and when advocates stated that, rather than the individual, it was the responsibility of government to be “my brother’s keeper.”
Ironically, none of these so called “rights,” are written in our constitution. Rather, they are utopian ideals promoted by many who believe they should be the moral and cultural goals of our society.
These ideals are an attempt to redefine America’s morality, and in essence, change who we are. However, I am grateful that Americans recognize this and fight, not just for the physical safety of this country, but our moral compass as well.
Perhaps the greatest example of attempting to redefine our country’s morality, however, came when all references to God — and Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — were removed from the convention’s platform.
After receiving public scrutiny for a day or so, leaders quickly moved to amend this position and reinstate references to God and Jerusalem.
But the spectacle resulting from the amendment process, again, brought back memories of when I was shocked by my girlfriends’ reaction to “The Bridges of Madison County.” It also made it clear that there are definitely elements of our society who/which explicitly want to re-define America’s morality.
While it is true that America is a nation that is constantly changing, I thank God for the wisdom of our Founding Fathers, who sought to make us a noble nation, and when there were questions of whether America’s laws or rights should change, these changes were guided by adherence to our constitution and the votes of the American people.
In the future, I know that America will change — she always has, and everything that is alive and well does. But I pray that the portions of our society that would seek to redefine America’s morality will not succeed.
[Bonnie B. Willis is co-founder of The Willis Group, LLC, a Learning, Development, and Life Coaching company here in Fayette County and lives in Fayetteville along with her husband and their five children.]