Paul R. Lehman, Moral Relativism, a misguided perception of American History and society

June 26, 2012 at 12:41 am | Posted in Bigotry in America, equality, Ethnicity in America, fairness, justice, Prejudice, public education | Leave a comment
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Frank Lipsinic (The Oklahoman, Your Views 6/22/12) offered some comments on the earlier comments of Jack Werner (The Oklahoma Point of View, June 9)   entitled “Moral Relativism.” Werner’s comments centered on the hypocrisy he saw in the Republican Party and as a Republican felt he should point out those negative elements in hopes the party would see them and try to correct them. Lipsinic said:”I object to the notion that somehow only the Republican Party needs cleansing.  After reading Werner’s comments, I came away feeling he requires politicians and voters to separate their beliefs and morals from public policy.” That is actually what Werner thought politicians should do in order for all citizens to be treated fairly.

Lipsinic continued: “We’ve slid down that slippery slope of moral relativism for decades, eliminating God and moral judgment from things we do in public.” To be on solid ground concerning what Lipsinic thinks moral relativism is and the reality of it, let us look at the comments from a creditable source:

Within the U.S. justice system, constant values or rules (represented by constitutional, statutory, or case law) are intended to be structurally tempered to accommodate moral relativity. For example, Oliver Wendell Holmes, who served on the U.S. Supreme Court from 1902 to 1932, is credited with being the first Supreme Court justice to state that the U.S. Constitution was an organic document—a living constitution subject to changing interpretation. Many times since, Supreme justices, in their opinions, have referred to the notion of “evolving” law when modifying, refining, or in rare circumstances, overruling earlier precedent. Likewise, statutory laws are enacted or repealed by Congress or state legislators in an effort to best reflect the principles and mores of their constituency (

In essence, moral relativism has been a vital part of our society for many years. What Lipsinic probably objects to is the decisions made that do not coincide with his personal beliefs. For example, God has not been eliminated from the public—just the references to a particular sectarian god, as in Christian God. If the god of one sect is permitted in public than in fairness the god (s) of other sects should be permitted as well. Lipsinic wants only his God used. The same can be said about his morals and those in the public—those that he does not accept, he feels should not be permitted.

Lipsinic continued: “The Democratic Party’s mantra of ‘choice’ on abortion and women’s rights has done great damage to women.” One must question the logic of that statement if he means that women benefit from having their “choice” taken away from them as well as other legal and constitutional rights. Most women would want to enjoy and appreciate the “choice” and “rights” afforded them the same as those afforded men.

Next, Lipsinic noted that “The Founders were only concerned about the state sanctioning a national religion. This great nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Shall we throw out the founding principles?”What is missing from this statement is a total understanding and grasp of American history.

The Founding Fathers had no desire to create a national religion, nor did they want to force one on the state (s). If Lipsinic checks the Constitution he might be surprised to discover that this country was not founded on Judeo-Christian principles, but on greed and bigotry. All the Founding Fathers were European Americans of wealth and property who actually looked out for their interests. No other American man could vote or hold elected office if were not European American with wealth and property. Slavery was written into the Constitution—Judeo-Christian principles? We certainly did throw out many of the principles that restricted the rights and privileges of those Americans who were affected negatively in the Constitution by the Founding Fathers.

Evidently Lipsinic overlooked the part of history that tells how the American Indians were systematically eliminated from their native lands by people who practiced the Judeo-Christian religion. He must have skipped the section of history that dealt with slavery and the civil war. Actually, what moral principles does he have in mind? He stated that “Can we not live out our moral principle in public life? I refuse to leave my moral principles at the door!” If by moral principles he means denying other American citizens their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as they see them, and not as he would prefer, then his views and understanding of American democracy are totally misguided and confused.

Finally, Lipsinic believes that a lack of morals, his morals, has been the cause of America’s downfall. He noted that “That’s exactly what’s gotten this nation to the edge of the cliff where we now stand.” Sad to say, but too many American citizens share the perception of American society and its status. Unfortunately, their minds are shackled to a make-believe American society that has never existed except in degrees or small sections. For example, if Lipsinic was born, raised, and continue to live in an all European American town, his perception of America is conditioned by his experiences in that environment. He more than likely grew up believing that America belongs to European Americans and because of their generosity, allowed other foreign people to come here to share in their bounty. But these other people need to know their place—behind the real Americans. These people need to know also that the morals of the real Americans are the only ones that are acceptable and suitable for society.

For his information, America is not about to fall off a cliff, so he can stop worrying; neither is the world coming to an end in the near future. We live in a society with a democratic form of government. What that means is for every one problem that is solved, two more are created; so, if one wants to participate then he /she must be informed in order to make appropriate decisions. And as for moral relativism, we know that it is “The philosophized notion that right and wrong are not absolute values, but are personalized according to the individual and his or her circumstances or cultural orientation.” We also know that “It can be used positively to effect change in law (e.g., promoting tolerance for other customs or lifestyles) or negatively as a means to attempt justification for wrongdoing or lawbreaking “(legal-dictionary). So whose exercising moral relativism?

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