I am a firm believer in the correlation between morality and the direction of a society as a whole. During the time of Christ, King Solomon detailed in Proverbs the fact that where there is no vision, the people perish. That is to say, when there is no public morality, a nation loses its way. And as I see it, it is an unfortunate truth that the United States of America is beginning to lose its way as it moves into the twentieth century.
There is obvious change in the morals of society between the previous generation and that of the generation in which I live today. That said, some of this change is headed in a positive direction; however, the majority of issues facing the nation today are of a more negative and threatening nature. The fact of the matter is that the greatest cause of this alarming direction is the prevalence of nonjudgmental acceptance. American society as a whole has come to understand and in some cases accept behavior that before now would be seen as simply reprehensible and in doing so fails to take appropriate action in altering this course of events.
One of the greatest examples of this transition comes when reviewing cases regarding the abuse of minors, and by minors I mean innocent young girls and boys who are unable to defend themselves. In my opinion, the abuse, sexual or otherwise, and even murder of a minor equals if not outweighs similar crimes directed toward an older individual. As an uncle of two newborn twin boys, it almost brings me to tears to see reports on the news mentioning missing, exploited, and many times dead children. I see the countless reports of child molestation, abductions, murders, and in some cases all three. For example, in my neighboring state of Florida a nine year old girl by the name of Jessica Lunsford was kidnapped, held for three days, raped, and then buried alive. And recently in my own county, a six year old boy named Christopher Barrios was found murdered alongside a road after being sexually abused and beaten to death.
The failure of our justice system to adequately prosecute these sexual predators is one of the sole reasons these disgusting people are still on our streets with the opportunity to hurt more children. The majority of sex offenders have already committed crimes against minors before escalating toward brutal rape and murder. In many cases, these individuals are lightly sentenced to a few years in prison, probation, and sometimes even rehabilitation. In short, I feel that crimes against children should be punished appropriately, keeping in mind that such an act against a minor will continue to effect that child for the remainder of his or her life.
I believe this: It is the moral and ethical responsibility of America to stop this epidemic of nonjudgmental acceptance, especially in regards to crimes against children. I pray that all states will pass legitimate legislation that provides definite, concrete guidelines for imprisonment for these sexual predators without exception. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian, stated, “the test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.” Let this generation accept this test with optimism and a willingness to do what is morally right in the best interest of our future.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.