We’re going to shift gears a little today and talk about moral values, especially Christian moral values. I want to talk about a news item I found yesterday regarding a hit-run accident in Hartford, Connecticut which occurred on May 31 during the evening rush hour.
A 78-year-old man is tossed like a rag doll by a hit-and-run driver and lies motionless on a busy city street as car after car goes by. Pedestrians gawk but appear to do nothing. One driver stops briefly but then pulls back into traffic. A man on a scooter slowly circles the victim before zipping away.
The chilling scene – captured on video by a streetlight surveillance camera – has touched off a round of soul-searching in Hartford, with the capital city’s biggest newspaper blaring “SO INHUMANE” on the front page and the police chief lamenting: “We no longer have a moral compass.”
Video shows bystanders ignoring hit-and-run victim
Think about this incident in the context of the parable of the Good Samaritan. For the actual text and a fairly orthodox exposition, click here. Dr. Ralph Wilson’s exposition will give you the necessary background to understanding my comments.
Samaritans were social outcasts in Judea during New Testament times, even though they followed the teachings of the Jewish faith. I suspect that they may have been people of color, like modern-day Sephardic Jews. [cf. Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews ]. The victim of the hit-and-run accident was Hispanic, which may or may may not be relevant, but I suspect it was. Connecticut, like much of New Englans, has a very strong Puritan tradition. Puritans and their fundamentalist descendants pride themselves on being “Good Christians.” I suspect that a lot of our modern-day Puritans can quote the parable of the Good Samaritan, chapter and verse. And I am sure that they hear this parable several times a year in church either directly as a reading or as part of a sermon on living the Christian life.
Apparently, though, it appears that the good Christians of Hartford do not practice what they preach. Yes, four of them did call 911 to summon help. But, was that enouh? Was that being a good Samaritan? What would Jesus say about this incident? He would say something similar to what the Hartford police chief said after viewing the video: “We no longer have a moral compass. ..We have no regard for each other,”
He’s right and the blame lies in the political and moral leadership we have had in this country for the last couple of decases – the right-wing, fundamentalist Republican party who has controlled the White House and/or Congress for that period. These self-serving, self-righteous Pharisees, this “nest of vipers,” have defined and shaped the moral values of America since the days of the Regan Administration, and this country has been on a downhill slide, both politically and morally ever since.
Their back-biting and hypocritical finger-pointing, while indulging in all kinds of “sin” – their definition – has set a moral example for the American population that puts profits before principles. They have taken the moral teachings of Jesus, who they see as the “only begotten Son of God” and distorted them to fit their own vindictive, bigoted agenda, turning America, once a bastion of libery, hope and compassion into one of the most hated countries in the world. All in the name of Jesus Christ and the Founding Fathers.
We can only hope that between John McCain’s “maverick” Republicanism, assuming he can buck the conserbative element that currently controls the Republican Psrty, and the election of Barack Obama as President, which will happen, we will see a major shift in the political and moral direction of this country. We may even see a return to the days when this country was guided by strong moral principles, as it was during the Great Depression and the Second World War, rather than being guided by profits, which led to the current economic crisis and the war in Iraq.