As of late, I have been wondering at the change in attitude in our country towards the authority of our Constitution. While I was pondering the continuing apathy towards the document that has kept our Democratic Republic strong over the last few hundred years, I was hit with the reality that our current situation revolves almost solely around our struggle with truth. Many of us (myself included) claim to seek truth. I seriously have to question, do we though? I think that generally when we consider the issue of seeking truth we are in fact doing that, but not realizing that in reality, the issue of truth goes much deeper. I would ask that you hang with me a few minutes as I unwrap this issue because I imagine that some of you might be doubting the importance of this connection. However, if we are to fix our current situation the underlying problems must first be identified and addressed. Obviously the corrupt people leading our country play an important role, but as I just mentioned the real heart of the problem goes far deeper than merely fraudulent individuals.
The issue of what truth is, is not a new question for discussion. It is an issue that has been debated by secular society and the Church alike, off and on for centuries. You may be wondering why the issue of truth is at all connected to our unraveling Constitutional authority. In order to accurately address this question we must first look at the current definition of truth. According to the dictionary, truth is “the body of real things, events, and facts”¹ (emphasis is mine). Yet, that is truly not what we believe as a society.
I would be willing to contend that the majority of Americans don’t believe that truth is absolute. In fact, there has been a continuing push for the last few decades (although this is far from the first time our world has faced this crisis) to create a society where truth is, “what you make it,” or more technically, truth has become relative to the individual or group. From the standpoint of relativism, all views are equal as is each individual’s truth and there is nothing that can be considered absolutely right or wrong.² I cannot even count the number of times I have heard someone say, “Well, that is their truth,” or “That truth is good for them, but not for me.” Corresponding with this change in truth is the push for political correctness. The issue of political correctness has taken such a hold, that many hesitate to say that anything is “wrong” for fear of retribution or being labeled as intolerant. I want you to consider this worldview; I mean take some time and really think about it. What happens to a society where there is no absolute truth?
Before I get to the crux of this issue, I need to take a side street to illustrate the societal problem of relativism. If we as a society espouse the idea that there is no absolute truth then how can we ever say something, anything is wrong? Is a rapist okay, because per their truth they are allowed to satisfy ever violent and malevolent urge they possess? Can we even argue that Hitler was wrong? Maybe his truth stated that by murdering millions of people, he was protecting the world by creating what his truth stated was a superior race. I mean, how can creating a superior race be bad for the world and society as a whole? I realize that both of these examples are extreme, but in reality we are working our way there. Take for instance the issue of abortion. I know that the majority of people today, even if they themselves believe that abortion is wrong, maintain that it is wrong for them, but they wouldn’t impose their beliefs on other people. The technical issue of abortion lies within the definition of when a fetus becomes a baby. The transition from the term baby to fetus played an important role in the acceptance of abortion by society. With this idea in mind, consider an article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics in 2012 which argued for the idea of “after-birth abortion” based on the premise that:
Although it is reasonable to predict that living with a very severe condition is against the best interest of the newborn, it is hard to find definitive arguments to the effect that life with certain pathologies is not worth living, even when those pathologies would constitute acceptable reasons for abortion. It might be maintained that ‘even allowing for the more optimistic assessments of the potential of Down’s syndrome children, this potential cannot be said to be equal to that of a normal child’. But, in fact, people with Down’s syndrome, as well as people affected by many other severe disabilities, are often reported to be happy.
Nonetheless to bring up such children might be an unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole, when the state economically provides for their care. On these grounds, the fact that a fetus has the potential to become a person who will have an (at least) acceptable life is no reason for prohibiting abortion. Therefore, we argue that, when circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible.
In spite of the oxymoron in the expression, we propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide’, to emphasize that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus (on which ‘abortions’ in the traditional sense are performed) rather than to that of a child.³
Again, notice the emphasis on the term change from infanticide, which carries societal judgment to, after-birth abortion, which sounds more politically correct and acceptable. While, I am not here to debate the issue of abortion or even after-birth abortion the transition into this discussion is based on the fact that the issue of when a baby is deemed a baby has no longer any foundation in absolute truth. Its foundation is not at conception, when a heart begins to beat, or even when a child can survive outside of the womb anymore. In fact, because we have allowed truth to become relative regarding human life per this article it now is expendable after birth.
If you have stuck with me this long, I appreciate it and will now get to the heart of the issue. If there is no absolute truth in society, how can we be surprised when the Constitution is not treated with the respect that it has demanded since its inception? If our version of laws cannot be based on an absolute right and wrong established by the Founding Fathers, then there is no hope for future laws because they will be based solely on the truth of the individuals writing them. If there is no absolute truth, then freedom of speech, religion, and the right to bear arms (among multiple others) are at the discretion of the truth of those currently in power. I hope you now see the dire circumstances we have created for ourselves. The reality is, is that truth is absolute! There is wrong and right and they must be defined, identified, and defended. There must be a fight for truth or the rights that we hold so dear will no longer be absolute! We must learn to be okay with being criticized and be willing to stand for what is right regardless of what society says is right for the time. Regardless of what current societal norms state, the Constitution is the foundation of our rights as American citizens and must be defended. I would implore you to search out this issue within yourself and your families. Thankfully, truth is truth regardless of what others say, just as our rights established within the Constitution are lawful even if everyone in America abandoned them. The question that remains though, is whether or not you will defend truth or will you allow it to continue to be manipulated and trampled upon? You might argue that there is little correlation between the defense of truth and the defense of our liberties as citizens, but if you abandon one, you abandon the other.
¹ Merriam-Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/truth
² Merriam-Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/relativism; Dictionary.com: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ethical+relativism
³ Journal of Medical Ethics: http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/03/01/medethics-2011-100411.full
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