There is great concern surrounding the issue of equality in contemporary America. Addressing this issue in a reasonable, healthy manner is a job for reasonable, healthy people. For example, forcing lending institutions to provide loans to people who have no means to pay back said loan, under the guise of equal rights is neither reasonable nor healthy. Refusing to extend an opportunity for employment to an individual merely because of race or gender is neither reasonable nor healthy. That being said, I would like to steer our thinking in a slightly different direction, and speak of moral equality.
Are people to be held to a different moral standard based on sociological factors? Does one’s economic status qualify him or her to apply for moral exemption when it comes to the issue of stealing, for example? Does the personal or cultural abuse of a person or people qualify them to apply for moral exemption when it comes to the issue of how they treat a schoolteacher or respond to a police officer? In general, our culture has not maintained a proper understanding of moral agency and accountability. More specifically, when our goal is defending a “special interest” group, our thinking becomes even more fractured and tainted.
I have occasion to deal with men who have experienced various levels of bad influence, mistreatment, abandonment and abuse. The reality of such experience is something we can declare to be horrendous and for which we can share sympathy with the victim. However, their deliverance from the destructive lifestyle they are producing requires that they no longer use “victimstance” as a justification for unacceptable moral choices and behavior. A past of the kind just described might place an added degree of difficulty to the process of making proper moral choices but I would serve a detrimental role in their journey toward freedom if I merely sympathized. There is a need to define what proper moral choice consists of and to encourage individuals to overcome the barriers to the achievement of moral duty.
Allow me to make a grand leap. If there are physiological factors that CAUSE a person’s behavior, it is not moral behavior, if there are sociological factors that CAUSE a person’s behavior, it is not moral behavior, if there are psychological factors that CAUSE a person’s behavior, it is not moral behavior, if there are circumstantial factors that CAUSE a person’s behavior, it is not moral behavior. The question we need to ask is, “Do we want to promote proper moral behavior or encourage justification and excuses for immorality?” This is a huge question. Due to the influence of evolutionary thinking and “modern” psychology, we are increasingly tending to present physiological, sociological, and psychological reasons (excuses) for unacceptable and immoral human behavior. Good luck with that.
There are many factors that contribute to the choices people make, but we must realize that such factors cannot cause a moral choice or it is no longer a moral choice. With all the cries for equality, it seems that moral equality is missing from the list.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Ro.1:18-20)
 Please, at this point, make an effort to avoid stating that there are bad police officers, which is a separate issue.