Two articles that recently appeared on the front page of this newspaper should cause all of us concern.
One stated that the rate of violent crime in the county had declined, but property crime had increased. Unfortunately, the crime rate per capita in Scotland County remains one of the highest in the state. The second article dealt with the rate of teen pregnancy, which is also one of the highest in the state. As the late Rev. Louis McClean once said, Scotland County leads the state in the wrong things.”
What is the reason for this? The two articles pointed to the economy and the problems caused by long-term unemployment as being at least partially to blame. While there is no denying that unemployment and poverty are contributing factors, is this really where the problem lies?
For most of our history, American society was directed by what academics call the Judao-Christian Consensus. This was a belief that there were moral absolutes that governed society. Consequently, there were certain standards that people were expected to live by; there were behaviors that were right and those that were wrong and the great majority of Americans accepted this. But during the 1960s, people began to reject these beliefs as to confining to self expression. Some said that there were no absolutes at all.
This trend has continued so that we now live in a society where right and wrong is whatever one says it is. It is as if we have gone back to the time of the Judges described in the Bible where “Every man did what was right in his own eyes.” The result is that we reap the whirlwind of crime, addiction, family disintegration and the list goes on and on. This situation will not change until our society again acknowledges that there are true, absolute standards of right and wrong. But how will this happen? It will happen when individuals accept that there are moral absolutes and begin to live by them.