Situational Ethics and the Hypocrisy of Judgment in the Last Election

By Janice Barlow

We are faced with choices every day.

We hear all the time that we should not judge; it is up to God to judge. That’s not the case. It’s up to God to impose judgment, but we discern many times daily. We should, however, not change how we feel about something based on the situation. That is called situational ethics, and it turns us into people who have no solid core values or beliefs. We have become a nation of moral relativists.

Some examples will illustrate this point. Do you ever see a guy who is covered in tattoos, maybe has a nose ring, and greasy grunge hair? Maybe you are at the mall, and he passes you and your spouse. You look at your spouse and say, “Wow, I hope our daughter never brings home a guy who looks like that!” But if that guy owned an extremely profitable IT firm worth several million, and went to church every week, would you overlook his appearance?

You continue walking through the mall. You hear some hip hop music coming out of a media store, and you think, “Oh, yuck! I hate that music!” But if your nephew was the lead singer in a hip hop band that was making it big in NYC, would you listen to his hip hop songs? Would you brag about him to your friends?

What if you go with a friend to a long-planned lunch. You haven’t seen her in a few years, and you think, “Oh man, she packed on the weight.” Or, “Wow look at her wrinkled skin! I know I don’t look that old.” But if she was thin and wrinkle-free, would you be jealous or happy for her? And, of course, you have no idea how you appear to her!

You are driving home, and an old man pulls out in front of you without looking and nearly clips your bumper. You cuss, either out loud or in your head, and think, “That old geezer shouldn’t be driving!” But if it was the nice man with a prosthetic leg who sat next to you in church every week, would you give him a pass?

Those are all judgments. And you didn’t give them to God.

Perhaps most blatantly right now are the political arguments where you see or hear people try and quote John 8:7. They say, “Those among you without sin cast the first stone,” or some other misinterpreted form.

It’s strange to note that those who argue against judging not only use Biblical passages out of context, but they don’t apply it to their own judgment of, say, Donald Trump. The mantras are always such that if someone didn’t vote for Trump, the vote by default went to Clinton. That’s another beat-a-dead-horse fallacy.

The vote went to whomever it was cast for; it was a vote of conscience. Besides, since when should grown men FEAR an old hag in pantsuits so much that they have to judge the votes of conservatives who didn’t vote for Trump as votes for the person whom they themselves FEARED? 

“So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?”  – Hebrews 13:6

I’m no fan of Hillary Clinton, but I do know that if someone says that we are not to judge, it should also apply to judging her. Her sins will find her out. We don’t need to help God in how he metes his judgment on Hillary. God did not prevent her from gaining the presidency any more than he put Donald Trump in there. But Russia more likely had a role in both.

Situational ethics are almost always wrong, and this is why.

If a person changes his core values/beliefs based on the situation at hand, then what good are those traits? It goes against our very character as humans to change how we feel based on a situation. The truth at the core of character is to form and maintain our beliefs first, then apply them to any situation, regardless of what it is.

For instance, I can’t be pro-life today and pro-choice tomorrow if suddenly, I knew a bunch of women who were pregnant with babies that they didn’t want. I need to stay solid in my own belief.

If a Republican formed a belief shortly after this last election began that she could never vote for Donald Trump because of his character flaws and history, then the only way she could rationalize changing her ethical position would be if Trump changed his character to be acceptable. The fact that Hillary was Trump’s opposition shouldn’t matter. She always was. It’s irrelevant. A snake is a snake regardless of whether a giant lizard or a buzzard is going to eat it. 

Obviously, the character of Donald Trump has not changed for the better, ten months into his presidency. He may have selected a conservative Vice President choice (who was not his first choice, Chris Christie was). But the Donald Trump of the beginning of the presidency is still the Donald Trump of today. He has failed to become boringly “Presidential” as he promised, which is blatantly evident in his numerous attacking tweets on the NFL, Bob Corker, and Puerto Rico, to name just a few.

Some folks felt a need to vote Trump with a heart-rending and agonizing battle inside. Others actually supported him vocally and saying that he MUST win at all costs! And they turned around and attacked the very people that they stood toe to toe with a few short months prior. The bottom line is, no matter how much weight they placed on their Trump vote, they changed their core values and beliefs from when they were for another primary candidate to say, “Okay then, Trump.” And they did this without any obvious change for the better in Trump himself.

Let us not forget that the budget funds Planned Parenthood. And that budget gets handed to Congress from the president each year. And the president is free to remove things from it first – like Planned Parenthood funding….

If anything, this last election should separate the wheat from the chaff. As principled Americans, what we can hopefully learn from it to stand strong in our beliefs, regardless of which way the wind is blowing. Otherwise, we are no better than the promise-breaking politicians whom we judge every day.


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4 thoughts on “Situational Ethics and the Hypocrisy of Judgment in the Last Election

  1. Okay. I see your point, sort of. I mean, before the election, you rarely heard anything bad about DT. He was not considered a racists or any other “ist,” but then suddenly he becomes the nominee and now he’s labeled all these horrible things. Look, I didn’t have him as my first, second, or even third choice; but I could see what kind of person HC has been, is, and will probably be in the future. She’s committed so many crimes (whether intentionally or not, we may never know) and she’s never been held accountable. I didn’t particularly care for Trump, but my feelings toward Clinton were much, much stronger in the negative because of her past behavior and her utter lack of concern for the rules she broke repeatedly. So it seems like you’re saying I should have picked her over him when she’s been proven to break laws and he’s not. Is he brash? Yes. Does he say what he thinks? Yes. But at least he doesn’t seem to flip-flop on an issue whichever way the wind blows, something she’s been known to do. I’d call that standing on his principles while she seems to be “firm” on whatever the flavor of the day seems to be.

    1. if you are of the impression that Donald Trump has been “standing on his principles” and “doesn’t seem to flip-flop on an issue whichever way the wind blows”, I have to wonder if you have been actually paying attention to his presidency. That is ALL he has been doing and there is no “principle” he will shrink from betraying. That is assuming he actually has any principles to begin with. There is no evidence for that. I recommend a reality check, which you can review here:

  2. Excellent explanation of situational ethics, Janice! Wow! Nail hit squarely on the head. I could not vote for EITHER of these two liberals. I voted 3rd party. The “lesser of two evils” argument is so ridiculous. Lots of my friends in the “tea party” said they understood that. Until they turned their backs on EVERYTHING they said they believed in. And yes-I was called lots of unflattering names because I didn’t support the liberal trump over the only slightly more liberal clinton.

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