Armstrong Williams, the conservative columnist and radio talk show host, wrote in Townhall today that America will soon “be set adrift upon a sea of relativism with no direction, no purpose and no destination.” While positively comparing a television show in Afghanistan that revealed the story of a pregnant woman who had to quickly marry the father of her child to avoid a heavy jail sentence for pre-marital sex to the Casey Anthony case (which apparently represents most American families), Williams suggests that America has abandoned the “moral standards” that he believes still exist in Afghanistan.
Williams, who was sued by his male personal trainer for sexual harassment (they settled out of court), praised ancient Greek and Roman civilization for having homosexuality “shunned” because they realized pederasty had “weakened the state from within.” He even scorns the popular show American Idol for endorsing “idolatry” over the worship of God. Williams concludes that while laws to punish “moral crimes” in Afghanistan may be “draconian,” it is better than the U.S. where they go unpunished!
An utterly riveting cable TV show called the “Love Crimes of Kabul” follows the stories of Afghan women who have been imprisoned for breaking strict Sharia law governing sex outside of marriage. Their crimes would be hardly recognizable in the United States: adultery, fornication, prostitution and lewd behavior have become pretty much the norm here.
People naturally chafe under rules and customs that limit their choices. We all want immediate gratification. But moral wisdom teaches us restraint. The essential choices we call virtues were distilled over centuries of trial and error – from the time when homo-sapiens were not even aware of the biological processes of reproduction, through the Roman times when polygamy was the norm. Homosexuality was ultimately shunned because of its effects upon the social structure, when, in ancient Greece men’s passion for boys became a distraction that weakened the state from within. It is interesting to note that among meditations of the Roman ruler and philosopher Marcus Aurelius is a passage praising his father for overcoming his love of boys.
The media is partially to blame for this. Rupert Murdoch’s English tabloid shamelessly hacked into the private emails and phone messages of crime victims. As long they were selling papers, they could care less about how many lives they tore apart in the process. As we watched this spectacle we were all disgusted; and naturally so. But why are we not disgusted by a television program that actually calls itself ‘American idol?’ Why is idolatry celebrated in the public realm, while God is shunned?
I fear for this country in these times. I fear that as we lose our moral compass we will be set adrift upon a sea of relativism with no direction, no purpose and no destination. When that happens we might as well pack up and move to Afghanistan or some other place where at least they have moral standards. While their customs may be strange and their laws may be draconian, at least they have retained some sense of honor.