The Mission of Leadership Ethics Online
To Teach Biblical Personal, Professional, and Social Ethics
For Leaders in Churches, Communities, Corporations, and Nonprofits
With Special Reference to the American Context and its Current Crises
The Ethical Crises in America
The first title of this section was the ethical collapse of America. However, that is a judgment, undeserved at this time. Some have made that judgment. We may be facing an economic collapse. However, there are many signs in America of millions of people with good ethics, and good financial judgment, who are committed to preserving and protecting our country. We take our stand with them.
We still have our U.S. Constitution as our legal contract for the principles we say we believe. Let us look at its Prologue.
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.
Union, justice, tranquility, defense, welfare, blessings. These were legal founding purposes. It is completely fair to these purposes to say all are linked by the principle, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself,” what we call the Golden Rule. Yet these purposes, this great principle within them, must be lived out in the People, who elect Leaders like them, who together believe, follow, and defend their common love for each other against enemies within and without.
This requires the human will. Will is the personal living, dynamic energy that chooses and acts. In itself, will is morally neutral. Genocides result from one group with will to annihilate another group. Moral will is the will informed by moral values and purposes. Moral values and purposes develop a healthy self-concept. A healthy self-concept includes a healthy view of the family, the basic biological and social reality. A healthy self-concept includes a healthy view of other persons outside the family: in community, society, nation, and world.
The will must be educated, trained by habit, and integrated in all these areas of morality. Any single area neglected or omitted will lead to amoral or immoral applications of the will to that area. Moral education, training, and integration in every area is required for a moral, ethical, healthy person and citizen. A person whose will is morally educated, trained, and integrated to “love and protect the family” will love and protect the family. Yet that same person, if his or her will has not been morally educated, trained, and integrated to “love and protect society” easily can become harmful to society.
Illustrations of American Ethical Problems
We ave many examples of individuals whose ethics and morality have led to criminal and harmful behaviors to others. From interrupted healthy emotional and moral formation through divorce, to mental disorders due to genetic or social learning influences, psychopathology provides insights into our American problems, a few noted below. Links from Wikipedia are cited not as authoritative but suggestive.
- Massacres in Schools
- Massacres in Society
- Mass Economic Harms (e.g., Enron, Bernard Madoff, Charles Keating, Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken)
- Presidential Crime, Abuse of Constitutional Pardon Power, and Misconduct (respectively, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and others, Bill Clinton)
The reader has a personal list of concerns related to ethics and morality. One thing is certain. From the family, to the schools, to the workplace, and in every area and level of leadership, America’s many crises are a direct threat to both domestic and national security.
Viability of Our Mission
Our millions of problems in America–being generated by millions of individuals making multiple decisions every day–also have millions of “solutions.” Some are to trust our current federal elected leaders. Some are to throw them all out. Some counsel we follow one or more of the thousands of solutions representing consensuses of special interest groups. Some say give up and become survivalists.
The Bible proposes there is a God; that God is moral; that God intelligently and mysteriously calls persons into divine fellowship; that God reveals what is good and evil, righteousness and sin, what leads to blessing or cursing. We have many atheists and skeptics among us, some partly due to false and despicable interpretations and applications of the Bible. Nevertheless, the ancient question remains. Did all that is spring from nothing, which is impossible, or from God, surely also Who has the same inscrutable origin? The paradox is identical for both.
One thing is certain, as you will see as we execute our mission here. When the God of the Bible commanded against murdering, lying, stealing, bribery, conspiracy, flattery for power, unjust laws and courts, the love of money, arrogance, and disregard for or harm against the poor, widow, orphan, stranger, and foreigner, all these prohibitions were for the protection, health, and happiness of humankind.
Our own U.S. Constitution begins with a prologue of several clauses. Each one bears direct correlation to the Golden Rule, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” That single divine law has enough revolutionary power to alter the course of our nation in this time of need. But of course, millions in positions of authority in every area of our society decline to believe that, for personal reasons. To love others as they love themselves would mean respect for others, consideration for others’ needs, and just decisions and conduct aimed at the preservation and welfare of others’ lives.
It always is easier to tear down than build up. When a nation’s legal, political, and social contracts exist in form and name, yet are divested of any controlling and regulating power for individual and corporate life, which seems to us our current national condition, only the thinnest shred of hope exists for change. We have so many self-interested individuals and special interest groups, which will lead the way required for putting content back into our national cohesion and health?
Nevertheless, our own American history offers some hope. The American Revolution easily could have been lost, but was not when the colonists united and sacrificed. The Civil War easily could have resulted in two nations with separate constitutions, but was not when persons loyal to the U.S. Constitution fought to bring back all under its authority. World War II easily could have been lost many times, in many ways, but Divine Providence aided that struggle to end in victory for humankind against racial genocide. Should a majority of Americans unite again, sacrifice and fight to rebuild again, this is a real possibility for our recovery and renewal.
Join us in learning what the ancient scriptures can teach you, in whatever position you hold, in whatever condition you find yourself in. Be blessed by faith and obedience, as our forebears were.