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Feb 21: Two Different Kinds of Moralities

The Late Hans Sennholz Vision Viewpoint Hartford WI

What is it that our pulpits aren’t addressing? Vision Viewpoint, a Christian radio program and ministry of Reformation Hope Church in Hartford, WI, presents a new series addressing the current political and economic struggles facing Wisconsin, offering biblical explanations concerning both how we arrived to this point and what the Word of God instructs us to do about it.

A subject our pulpits aren’t addressing? One such subject is brought to us in the first chapter of Proverbs, as will addressed in a moment, and which we may term “two different kinds of moralities.” In a passage from the late Dr. Hans Sennholz, the brilliant economist and professor at Grove City College, we are given a description of these two moralities – appropriate for what we’re facing right now here in Wisconsin:

"Most of us are considerate of the rights of our fellow men. In our personal relations, we try to be careful, thoughtful, courteous, and judicious. We may assist each other in many ways, and be a Good Samaritan, offering aid to people in need.

"Yet in our political lives, we often tear each other apart like wild beasts. We attack incessantly and seize other people’s income and property, without remorse. Indeed, there seems to be two modes of behavior, two standards of morality: one for our personal relations, and one for our body politic.

"Politics is strife of interest masquerading as contest of principles. To be a lawyer, you must study the law. To be a physician you must study medicine. To be a carpenter, you must learn your trade. But to be a politician, you need only know your own interests, and those of your electorate.

"As voters, we ourselves we live by a similar standard of morality in our political choice and decisions. We seize as many benefits and privileges as we possibly can, always at someone else’s expense, and we impose as many restrains and restrictions on our fellow citizens as we possibly can.

"When death comes to our neighbor, we may weep with the widow and her children. We honor the dead and comfort the living; we deem it our “special duty” that if they need our help, we give it to the utmost of our ability and our power. But as members of the body politic, we dispatch our state sleuths, and collectors will seize most of their belongings.


"We plunge in the politics to make our fortune. We join an association to fight for license and privilege, and we sign up with a labor union in order to earn more and work less. In a labor dispute, they may man a picket line and use brute force against all its workers, their employers, and their customers. The difference between personal and political morality is clearly visible in the behavior of a teamster who is faithful member of his congregation, attends Mass on Sunday, but blocks traffic, throws bricks at passing trucks, and slashes the tires of automobiles Monday through Saturday. 

"The organized steel worker, long shore man, bus driver, educator, and coal miner may attend church on Sunday but waylay independent workers on Monday. The hospital worker may care for the sick most of the year, but desert them at bargaining time. Many businessmen belong to the same church or synagogue as their workers, and in their personal lives they may be married, wise, honest and true. They may be tolerant and benevolent, devoting a large portion of their income for charitable ends.

"But many also are skilled in the use of political force. When they are putting one dollar in the plate of charity, they’re taking two from the coffers of politics. They vote for every conceivable restriction on the business activities of their competitors. They vote to reap benefits at the expense of others. The managers, stockholders, and the steel company, for instance, favor import restrictions which will benefit them at the expense of consumers. Crossing a picket line of angry steel workers may expose your car to willful damage, violating a business restriction they incite at the wrath of a judge, and may fine you and send you to prison.

All of these are actions that take place in the public realm. “So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof,” says Proverbs 1:19. But in the personal realm, we pride ourselves that we are oh-so-charitable.

Earlier in this first chapter of Proverbs, the father warns the son: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. In that very same chapter, he goes on to explain that in the public sector, that same wisdom – the wisdom that fears God – calls and utters her voice in the streets. “She cries in the chief place of concourse, at the openings of the gates: in the city, she utters her words. How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity…and fools hate knowledge?”

Two different kinds of morality
: it’s appropriate that the pulpits address the issue, for the Word of God has authority over the scope of all that is moral, and over all realms wherein it ought to have a standing.

Vision Viewpoint, a Christian radio program and ministry of Reformation Hope Church in Hartford, WI, will present a series of broadcasts addressing the current political standoff in Wisconsin, and seek to provide biblical answers to a dilemma that a whole nation will likely soon be facing.

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