Private Morality vs Public Morality
JH Goossens, Pretoria – I refer to the interview with Rev Dr Walter Brueggemann, “Why we must learn to read the Bible anew” (May 24).
This is an interview with a Protestant theologian who explains that in studying the Bible we detect two trends of morality: one of private morality and one of public morality.
Private morality relates to sexuality, abortion, gays and all that stuff. Public morality relates to poverty, the environment, immigrants and justice.
Dr Brueggemann admonishes us to opt for public morality instead of private morality. Should we?
It is well-known that up until recently the Catholic Church stressed private morality, but since the papacy of Pope Francis the accent is on public morality, much to the displeasure of several cardinals and many Catholics.
The Protestant Churches, on the other hand, favour public morality. But it was not like that in the beginning.
Martin Luther emphasised private morality, for example, by calling birth control a form of sodomy. John Calvin called it the murder of future persons. These two prominent Reformers also maintained a strong stance against abortion.
We see the same distinction of morality in the different political parties. The Republicans in the US prefer private morality.
President Donald Trump cancelled expenditures for abortion and closed the transgender toilet in the White House.
He withdrew from the Paris agreement on climate change — proof that he did not give in under pressure to the moral blackmail of the climate change lobby.
Mr Trump wants a total overhaul of the public morality policy of his predecessor, President Barack Obama.
The Democrats are pro-choice (euphemism for pro-abortion), pro-environment, pro-Islam and supportive of same sex-marriage and gender issues.
In Germany we see that Chancellor Angela Merkel also favours public morality. She is pro-immigrants and rebuked Pope Benedict XVI for his critical stand on Islam in his Regensburg lecture. She never disapproved of abortion. No wonder she gets along well with Mr Obama and has a strained relationship with Mr Trump.
In May this year, we saw Mrs Merkel and Mr Obama celebrate their public morality during the German Evangelical Conference in Berlin, together with thousands of their German Protestant adherents.
Absent from this conference were Mr Obama’s supporters and fundraisers, the billionaire philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, George Soros and Michael Bloomberg, who hope to relieve with their billions the poverty of the world by supporting abortion and same-sex marriage worldwide.
That is the Protestant sort of public “morality”.
Let us pray that Cardinal Robert Sarah will be the next pope. He will remind us that poverty does not stand in the way of happiness, that happiness is a clear conscience, that we get a clear conscience by confessing our sins.
So what shall we choose, private or public morality? Both, but without perpetrating the transgressions that are irreconcilable with natural law, which happens to be the same law as God’s law.
That means no masturbation, no contraception, no premarital sex, no pornography, no abortion, no in vitro fertilisation, no divorce, no polygamy, no euthanasia and no transgender agenda.
In short, no sins of the flesh. Because that is the stuff of which hell is made.