"I don't know where the moral center of the universe is any more," said the president of the Boston anti-poverty agency last week in a New York Times column by Bob Herbert. At issue: budget cuts that hurt the most vulnerable and neediest in our society as politicians make sure there are tax breaks for the rich while social services are slashed. Don't people matter?
Apparently not, at least in Florida, where our GOP governor, who proclaims his faith in Jesus but fails to live it, reduces the pay of teachers and other essential state employees with ruthless budget cuts.
Other examples of people living without moral standards:
1. Bernie Madoff, interviewed today for the first time, claims to be a victim of a corrupt system and suggests that the people he swindled knew perfectly well what was going on in his Ponzi scheme. Like the self-serving sinners in Dante's Hell, he remains deluded, locked both in prison and in his own ego. He belongs in the lowest circle of Inferno, in the icy realm where traitors continue to betray themselves and others.
2. John Boehner, asked if he should correct people in his party who claim that Barack Obama is a foreign-born Muslim, responded, "The American people have a right to think what they think." So much for moral leadership. True leaders confront lies and speak the truth. When Holocaust deniers make their absurd claims, they must be corrected. How else do we prevent racism and hatred? The Obama-haters take pleasure in, and get empowered by, seeing the president as an outsider; they need to be ignored, at best, or silenced. By refusing to condemn such hatred, the Speaker of the House revealed that he has no moral center; he is hollow at the core.
People matter; values matter. Enough said for now.