(originally written and posted in 2003, even more relevent today)
Recently Martin Kelly wrote an article entitled “The Death of Shame” in which he claims our moral decline comes from the death of shame. And, interestingly, Bill O’Reilly soon followed with his own spew that the loss of shame is negatively shaping America. It’s not that simple.
Yes, virtuous shame is dwindling-- I will guarantee you there were no braggart bumper stickers in 1960 that -shamelessly- announced, “My child made the honor roll at ... .” But the loss of virtuous shame is a by-product; one of many by-products of the loss of humility brought on by progressive statists..
The seven deadly sins are growing in popularity: PRIDE, magnified by LUST and ENVY for everything that satisfies our growing GREED, fueled by GLUTTONY, made more desirous by our ANGER for not “keeping up with the Joneses” has shamed us into losing our humility. We are much more than (perceivably) a country without Christian roots; we are a country specifically in the midst of turning our backs on our founding principles—a very different psychological/socio condition. And in our need to ignore the related shame, we are evolving into materialistic and bombastic relative individualists with the knack (desire?) for ignoring the obvious. As our faith declines, due to the constant bombardment from progressives, we are becoming ashamed of our shame. Faith, hope, and charity abate.
We exhibit loads of shame: We must not be seen without our makeup, or WITH our hair combed. We must not be seen holding a Bible or suggestively praying in public. We are regularly shamed into not speaking out against homosexuality for fear of being labeled intolerant and homophobic. We suffer from all kinds of image problems due to shame over excessive body fat, being too short, too tall, too thin – our society is full of shame, but shame’s roots have changed its orientation from a spiritual to a physical foundation.
Neither is it the loss of shame that misdirects our compassion. A Cardinal recently was heard stating that he has a “sense of compassion” for Saddam Hussein; based on the humiliating photos of Hussein with matted hair while having to submit to a physical. Compassion, for a dictator who use to slide human beings down the shoot of a giant plastic shredder? Compassion, for one who murders his political detractors? Compassion for an exterminator and a philanderer? Tis my guess this Cardinal has a head full of book learning and a heart totally lacking in real-world experience; an all too often recipe for progressive, secular, intellectual leadership. The recent images of Saddam provoked loads of shamefulness from the Islamic world; shame is in our face everywhere. But instead of fixing it at its core, we are redirecting it and finding ways to justify immoral desires and actions.
What is waning is THAT which gave us DIRECTION for our compassion and our shame; we are losing touch with our Western Instruction Manual: biblical principles. What we are losing is that line in the sand, the one we use to know what line should not be crossed. Once the majority chooses to no longer serve God, they shall serve Man; serfdom renewed, and shame redefined.