Leadership Ethics Online is concerned with American leadership values, in a Christian framework and context, coupled with the best of interdisciplinary knowledge from the history of ethics, personality theory, and conflict resolution theory and methods.
There is no doubt that the United States is suffering a meltdown in leadership values and practices. From recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings, such as Citizens United v Federal Election Commission (where the Court ruled corporations are “people” and campaign finance money is “speech” protected by the First Amendment), there are repeated, persistent events pointing to a moral vacuum and moral lostness among U.S. leaders in government and corporations.
The U.S. Constitution‘s Prologue sets forth the legal purpose of this nation. Though many persons never have considered this, each clause is a different legal purpose built on the Golden Rule; that is, the Common Good.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Mutual respect, if not love, for the American fellow citizen and neighbor, are contained in this short but expansive series of legal purposes. They all are moral purposes, framed in a national constitution, which presuppose strict legal and regulatory laws aimed for the Common Good, which includes both The People and organizations–like corporations–subservient to the U.S. Constitution.
Since American leaders in government and corporations apparently have forgotten the Common Good–whatever they allege as they practically collude in legally enforcing their Private Good–why should Leadership Ethics Online frame its mission within a “Christian” framework? America is a secular nation following a secular Constitution.
Rationale for a Christian Framework
The Golden Rule, “love your neighbor as you do yourself,” famously was taught by Jesus Christ. What he quoted, as an observant Jew, was from the Hebrew Bible, the Book of Leviticus , chapter 19, verse 18. The word, neighbor (לְרֵעֲךָ֖), actually means “your Jewish kin.”
However, while this is what Jesus quoted, his life and teachings demonstrate a non-sectarian expansion of the idea, “neighbor.” Jesus loved Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, healthy and unhealthy, friend and foe.
In addition, there are statements about Jesus’ mission in the New Testament which make clear his inclusive love was not an accident; for example, the Gospel of John, chapter 3, verse 16, states: “For God so loved the world he gave his only-begotten son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Jesus commanded his disciples, “preach the Gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15).
Therefore, in the Christian religion from the beginning was a universal love of God. Granted, Christian history has demonstrated how poorly subsequent Christians treated Jews, heretics, Muslims, and surely, each other.
Democracy Based in Theism
Let us return to our American Constitution. Most of the Founders were Christians of some kind. When they wrote that Prologue above, the Common Good was expressed, though not in Christian terms. Democracy earlier had been expressed by Jefferson and Madison in the Declaration of Independence‘s opening, as a theological premise:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness; that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
“All men,” the term then used to describe all human beings, “are created equal…endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights….” Again, while we must note that women were not given the vote until 1920, against the opposition of Christian (and other) American men, it was that principle of inclusion which aided that victory.
Religion has been pushed to the sidelines today in public discourse. There are many who resist, oppose, and mock any citation of religious values in the public forum. These Americans–some religious, some not, some hateful of religion–believe a purely secular, natural (pardon the pun) approach can be used to solve our problems, and restore the nation to a healthy democracy.
There are profound problems with this secular, practically atheistic approach. American leaders today are the perfect representation of some of these problems.
Social Darwinism is not discussed; however, in that system, human beings are regarded merely as one species of animal among all others. Some are strong, and will overcome weaker persons. Some are intellectually brilliant, and capable of manipulating or controlling mentally slower persons with their cunning. The idea, “the survival of the fittest,” is equivalent to “the right and appropriate domination of some over others.”
Surely this idea is not unfamiliar to readers. We hear it echoed–without citing Social Darwinism–among many Americans who speak of the “just due of the Producers” and the “just condition of the Non-Producers.” Though America has not yet descended to the Nazi regime, Social Darwinism was a foundation stone for the systematic removal, suppression, enslavement, and final destruction of “inferior races.” There is a parallel.
A Christian Framework
There is a difference between being a Christian-owned company, which values Christian principles of the Common Good–grounded in both the U.S. Constitution and the teachings of Jesus Christ–and between a sectarian, judgmental, arrogant, and divisive company.
This company rejects Social Darwinism. This company views as naive American secularists who think they somehow can avoid Social Darwinism by a subjectively-chosen “humanistic ideal.” Humanism also has been just as discredited as the sad and bloody acts of a perverse Christianity.
Therefore, Leadership Ethics Online proudly takes its position in citing a Christian framework for addressing our American problems in government, corporations, and society. That is not the same as imposing the Christian religion on others, or some hidden agenda for conversion to that religion.
To uphold our Constitution’s Common Good, and to cite a Universal Love for all persons, we hold to be absolutely superior to Social Darwinism. What we do here is to address every American leader who understands what we have said above, and who seeks to benefit from a restoration of the Common Good, and a Universal Love, for all Americans and–also unpopular today–all people in the world.
We ask YOU, leader, to look within; to examine yourself; and to consider the BEST you can do with your authority. If you believe in God, add this: “What does God expect from you?” If you are a secularist, we ask you this: “Is there anything wrong in learning principles proven true when they were obeyed?”
While Leadership Ethics Online speaks within and from a Christian context, we address any who share our concerns for a world consumed in amoral, immoral, unethical values and acts arising from atheism, mechanistic materialism, human selfishness–or whether you take this literally or figuratively, demonic values that make some human beings “more valuable than others.”
Invest in Healthy Leadership Ethics
There is a difference in consumerism and investment. In the latter, you purchase for a definite predicted return, or profit. The question we pose to you is, “Will you invest in becoming a better person, a better member of your family, a better professional at work, and a better member of American society?“
Leadership Ethics Online is here to teach you ethics, grounded in the Bible, illuminated by every human discipline. We are here then to coach you on how to develop your moral compass, deep inside you. Then on how to let that compass guide you in your family relationships. Then on how to carry your integrated ethics into your workplace, and beyond into American society.
You make the choice. Use your corporate budget, or personal funds, for an investment in continuing education in real ethics. The journey will be both easy and difficult.
John D. Willis, PhD, President