The Danger of Compromise
Many wise men have said that life is about the art of compromise. This is particularly true of relationships. Sometimes two people canâ€™t be right but two can be wrong. Compromise allows friends, spouses and neighbors to get along with each other. And when one refuses to compromise, often relations are broken.
But, compromise can be a deadly serious thing when it involves oneâ€™s faith and principles. This past week, a notable Catholic University, Notre Dame, compromised on one of Catholicismâ€™s most sacred principles, the sanctity of human life. While there was nothing wrong with having President Obama speak at the University, it was set up to be a political forum to undermine a moral principle. The student body seemed to have been swept away by the Presidentâ€™s speech in apparent agreement with his wisdom.
The president acknowledged that the difference between those who believe in the sanctity of life and those who are pro choice is irreconcilable. He said that we â€œcan still agree that this is a heart-wrenching decision for any woman to make, with both moral and spiritual dimensions.â€ While having all the appearance of wisdom, this says nothing and it solves nothing. In fact, it says canâ€™t the pro life people and pro choice people just get along? In other words, letâ€™s compromise. And by the reaction of the audience, they were agreeable with the suggestion.
I am sure the President is pleased with compromise because that means mothers can continue to abort their babies at any stage of their pregnancy. Can you see the faulty logic here? For the pro life person, death goes on. Nothing has changed. He or she has been compromised and we are no closer to treating unborn children as the image of God. In this case, compromise literally kills. It kills unborn children but it also kills another moral principle for millions of people. It is a kind of deception that suggests that compromise is fine. We made a serious effort to be civil, to get along. Yet, we are now worse off than before because reasonable people have been compromised by a deceptive idea.
Something deeper than a deceptive compromise is going on. We need to understand that every time we compromise a moral principle, we actually chip away at our moral foundations. You cannot take away one aspect of morality without compromising our entire moral framework. So, when we accept sex outside of marriage, when we agree to homosexual marriage, when we compromise and allow gratuitous abortions to take place, we coarsen our society, we degrade human nature, and we cheapen life. Already we have legal suicide is some States. In fact, it is easier for a person on Medicare to get help to commit suicide than it is to get medical treatment. Congressmen have made speeches and literally said that people over 65 years of age have a responsibility to die and allow limited resources to be used by the next generation. As pastor I have watched the elderly receive poor medical treatment simply because they were old. Why extend the life of an old person who will die in a year or two anyway? There is a direct link between the abortion issue and the treatment of senior adults. Can we not see how the slop slips once the moral foundation is removed? We take the life of an unwanted baby even up to the time of delivery. It is natural for fallen man, once restrained by moral principle, to now take the life of the elderly because they consume too many resources. Who will be next? The mentally ill? Left handed people? Religious people? Those who oppose evolution? No one should be so naive as to think these things cannot happen. They have happened before. It was not just in Germany. There was as strong eugenics movement in the United States in the first part of the twenty centuryâ€“a natural outcome of evolutionary thinking. Planned Parenthood was founded on the eugenics movement. They were committed to eliminating inferior people from the human gene pool. You have to wonder who the inferior people were and would we be here today if they got their way?
Perhaps we have forgotten that many people were locked up in mental institutions to keep them out of society and to keep them from reproducing. This is one of the untold American tragedies. Thousands of families have missing family members. They were locked up in institutions and never seen or heard from again. They were cut off from their families, their history, their roots and no one really thought anything about it. It fact, it was a relief, they were an embarrassment.
These are dangerous days. People are willing to give up their freedoms in response to a good speech. We need to stop and listen, really listen to what is being said. Our educational system is not so bad that we fail to see bad logic. We are just too trusting of those who give smooth speeches. We have to listen and discern what is really being said.
Martin NiemÃ¶ller was a German pastor and theologian who lived through those dark days of Nazi rule. In the early days he supported Hitler because he brought results. But like many of the clergy, he came to his senses and opposed the Nazis. He is famous for a statement he made about the problem of compromise:
In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.
You have to wonder if history is not, in some way, repeating itself. I am not saying that the President has evil intentions. But bad ideas, sinful ideas have a bad habit of feeding the law of unintended consequences. It is the nature of a fallen and sinful world that evil triumph with very little effort. It is true, the world is fallen, we are fallen, sin is woven into the fabric of human society. But good, righteousness, and moral principle are fought for and maintained by hard work. It is always harder to do good but it should never deter us from doing the right thing. The Apostle Paul said, â€œLet us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faithâ€ (Gal 6:9-10 NASB). We do good for all people when we stand up for what is right.
I hope and pray that we will be ever vigilant to safeguard our moral principles.