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Why Are Moral Absolutes Important?

It's not easy proving to a generation that does not believe in moral absolutes that moral absolutes are important. After all, how can you prove something to someone without any standards of proof? What kind of authority can be quoted?
  • A university professor? Everyone knows you can find a professor who will say anything.
  • Shall we quote the President of the United States? Hah! Not in the post-Lewinsky era.
  • How about a special commission of the United Nations? No, that's the organization that gave George Bush permission to kill 250,000 peasants in Iraq just to keep America's gas prices down. U.N. sanctions have killed an additional 750,000 people.

Who can we turn to to prove to you that moral absolutes are important?

It's impossible. You've been brainwashed.

Sounds like a crazy accusation. You're insulted.

But the combination of mind-numbing Television and secular mass-schooling 5 days a week has had its toll on you. You are completely out of touch with the thinking of great minds two centuries ago, who spoke courageously of "unalienable rights" and

with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

What do the most popular celebrities in our day speak of? You tell me. Drugs, conquest of women; you've heard the lyrics. And if you were to meet a group of thugs on the street at night who looked like the people on the covers of the most-popular record albums, you would fear for your life.

It's time for re-education.

An important part of our political understanding throughout our early history was recognition of moral absolutes and the important societal effect arising form publicly acknowledging God as absolute Judge and Law-giver. For example, in 1798, John Adams explained:

[T]he safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend upon the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety without which social happiness cannot exist nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed. 1

What good are "rights" if you can't walk the streets at night?

In 1799, Adams similarly explained:

[N]o truth is more clearly taught in the Volume of Inspiration, nor any more fully demonstrated by the experience of all ages, than that a deep sense and a due acknowledgment of the governing providence of a Supreme Being and of the accountableness of men to Him as the searcher of hearts and righteous distributor of rewards and punishments are conducive equally to the happiness and rectitude of individuals and to the well-being of communities. 2

"The experience of all ages" doesn't mean squat to the "ME generation."

This truth was not only proclaimed by civic leaders like John Adams but also by religious leaders at the request of government. In 1803 Governor Jonathan Trumbull and the Connecticut legislature asked Reverend Matthias Burnet to the Connecticut Capitol Building.  He re-affirmed the basic political reality which informed all statesmen in that day:

Feeble. . .would be the best form of government . . .without a sense of religion and the terrors of the world to come . . . . Banish a sense of religion and the terrors of the world to come from society and you . . . leave every man to do that which is right in his own eyes . . . [T]he man who . . . is not actuated by the fear and awe of [God] has in many cases no bond or restraint upon his conduct. 3

Delivering an "Election Day Sermon" before the Massachusetts Legislature in 1791, Rev. Chandler Robbins declared,

How constantly do we find it inculcated in the sacred writings, that rulers be "just men -- fearers of God -- haters of covetousness." That they "shake their hands from holding bribes," because a gift blindeth the eyes of the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous."4

And in 1854, the House Judiciary Committee similarly declared:

Laws will not have permanence or power without the sanction of religious sentiment--without a firm belief that there is a Power above us that will reward our virtues and punish our vices. 5

If you would like to read the United States Supreme Court's decision in 1892 which declared that America was "a Christian nation," click here. Be prepared to enter a world long-forgotten.

Moral Absolutes are important because a nation that cannot distinguish theft from productivity and murder from charitable service of others is a nation which soon be swallowed up in crime and chaos.


1. John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, Editor (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1854), p.8. (Return)

2. Id. At Vol. IX, p. 172, March 6, 1799. (Return)

3. Matthias Burnet, An Election Sermon Preached at Hartford on the Day of the Anniversary Election, May 12, 1803 (Hartford: Hudson and Goodwin, 1803), pp. 7, 9, 16, 27. (Return)

4. Chandler Robbins, A Sermon Preached Before His Excellency John Hancock, Esq and the Honourable the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, May 25, 1791, Being the Day of General Election (Boston: Thomas Adams, 1791), p. 18.

5. Reports of Committees of the House of Representatives Made During the First Session of the Thirty-Third Congress (Washington: A. O. P. Nicholson, 1854), p. 8. (Return)

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