Understanding Morality and Values-Based Leadership

Robert Greenleaf wrote in his essay “The servant as leader,” that a leader who seeks to serve people places that desire as his or her top priority. The desire to only lead, according to Greenleaf (1977), can be derived from feelings of power and a drive to acquire material possessions (Greenleaf, 1977). According to Greenleaf (1977), the two differ in the sense that the servant leader is motivated by ensuring human beings’ most basic needs are met, and that they are essentially being guided towards their best interests. Greenleaf asks if the people being served are becoming healthier, wiser, wealthier, and freer. History is replete with examples of leaders who, at their peaks of power, believed that what they were doing was in the best interest of their people. Communists, for example, believe that the people should put all their faith in a state that is there to look out for them because the state represented the highest level of authority. They believed their values were representative of truth; therefore, failure to adhere to those standards meant there was something defective about you. National Socialist Adolf Hitler’s highest value rested in the creation of a super state at the head of a world socialist government, run by a master race no less. He was a very charismatic leader that had the ability to get people to follow him. He believed, in the beginning, that he was serving his people’s best interest. Communism and Nazism (national socialism) both represent situations where charismatic leaders motivated by the belief they were meant to serve ended in disaster because they placed their values and beliefs above the reality of ultimate truth. That ultimate truth being the existence of God.

There is something off in the world today. Society seems to be drifting further and further away from any semblance of truth and into chaos. America is thought to have been founded on the ideals of Christianity, and it was believed that men could be free because our belief in this truth kept us grounded in a “universal morality” that taught the virtues of personal responsibility and mutual respect for our fellow man. As John Adams said, “our constitution was made for a religious people and is inadequate for any other.” According to the John Adams center, Adams believed that morality cannot exist without religion. Religion, Adams reasoned, was a source of instruction on morality for men, and morality as a philosophy started from the given understanding that the world was created by God. (John Adams Center). The idea of universal morality which unites men in a common understanding is only possible when the belief in such a concept is commonly shared (Luz, 2003).

The question of morality is currently debated from the perspective of either the religious, or post-modernist viewpoints (Luz, 2003). The differences lie in the past-present context or relative way the word is applied. For example, the religious perspective is that morality represents the way people conduct themselves day to day in accordance with an understanding of a pre-existing moral standard (Luz, 2003). In comparison, post-modernists tend to view morality as a fluid, ever-changing concept that can be molded to fit changing circumstances (Luz, 2003).

By contrast, post-moderns often analyze morality by deconstructing action, intention, and consequence, all in the context of specific real-life situations, including all the participants and their histories. Where the former would argue that any claim to universal morality precedes the narrative context of the actors, the latter would argue that the only viable universalism that can be applied to morality is that it always derives from the situation itself (Luz, 2003).

Understanding morality on a situational basis is something that is also referred to as moral relativism. The world is full of many religions, cultures, and moral beliefs. Moral relativism posits the idea that they are all equal without one being superior to the other (Cook, 1996). The moral relativist believes there is no universal truth that guides human morality and the concept of right and wrong, good and evil can all be defined by where you happen to be at the time, the generation you live or the situation you find yourself in (Cook, 1996). Moral relativism itself is an example of western values ̶ in a way ̶ because it sprang from our society’s desire to be tolerant and understanding of different cultures and beliefs (Cook, 1996). This is a value that unfortunately, is not shared by many of the cultures we seek to understand. Greenfield (1977) said that a defining characteristic of a values-based, or servant approach of leadership is the fact that Christians should not identify potential enemies and blame them for society’s ills. In fact, he attributes many of the problems of today’s world to the idea that many people are not exercising their abilities to be servant leaders in accordance with God’s desires (Greenleaf, 1997).

Another cause of moral relativism, according to Cook (1996) is our society’s declining religious beliefs. In 1962, the United States Supreme Court struck a blow to religious freedom in the public school system. In the case, Engle v Vitale, the court ruled that the schools are barred from imposing Christian prayer because it violates the constitution’s separation between church and state principle (Melouka, 2018). This, of course, is a false argument. It is based on a re-interpretation of Thomas Jefferson’s letter to a religious minority, the Danbury Baptists, stating that they need not fear the government imposing a “national religion,” and that there was a “wall of separation” between church and state (Melouka, 2018). Jefferson meant of course, that the government had no right to interfere in the religious beliefs of Americans at all. Freedom of religion and not establishing a national religion does not mean it is the government’s job to protect you from religion. Melouka (2018) describes this action as being a deliberate attack by atheists and other secular forces against the decent moral character of the nation. This is not hard to imagine as decades later we see more and more young people turning away from religious beliefs (Pew Research Center) and pornography, homosexuality, violence and a desire for socialism is taking its place.

Saul Alinsky, community organizer, and mentor to Hillary Clinton wrote in his book “Rules for Radicals” that using the enemy’s rules against him was the most effective weapon to use in the pursuit of social change. In fact, he said that the Christian Church is unable to live up to its own rules, making this tactic especially effective.

“Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.” (Alinsky, 1971)

What are the rules Alinsky is referring to? Tolerance and understanding. As mentioned earlier, moral relativism derives from our desires to be tolerant and inclusive of other cultures, beliefs and religions even though they do not share such desires. As Greenleaf (1977) stated, Christians do not identify an enemy and exclude them in pursuit of a better world. In fact, he believes doing so only guarantees that they will return. This is the biggest difference between Christians and those that despise Christianity. To them, we are an enemy and they have demonstrated throughout history a relentless desire, driven by pure hatred it seems, to eliminate believers in what they believe is a pursuit of a perfect, Utopian world.

“It is not in the nature of things that a society can be cleaned up once and for all according to an ideal plan. And even if it were possible, who would want to live in an aseptic world? Evil, stupidity, apathy, the “system” are not the enemy even though society-building forces will be contending with them all the time. A healthy society, like a healthy body, is not the one that has taken the most medicine. It is the one in which the internal health-building forces are in the best shape.” (Greenleaf, 1977)

In the movie “Lord of the Rings-The Two Towers,” Theoden, king of Rohan, asks how men are supposed to survive such reckless hate as his castle is stormed by marauding Orcs whose one purpose is to destroy the world of man. The king understood the Orcs were his enemy and what their purpose was, and yet he was powerless to stop them because their power had grown too strong in the absence of any opposition. Today’s Christians, attempting to be compassionate, fail to understand the differences in moral beliefs and attitudes between those that follow Christ and those who do not. The hard-political left, driven by the motivation for societal transformation is willing to do anything in its pursuit. They are guided by a moral belief that suggests that corrupting themselves for what they believe is the greater morality and is the true path to salvation. Alinsky refers to this as the means and ends of morality.

“In action, one does not always enjoy the luxury of a decision that is consistent both with one’s individual conscience and the good of mankind. The choice must always be for the latter. Action is for mass salvation and not for the individual’s personal salvation. He who sacrifices the mass good for his personal conscience has a peculiar conception of personal salvation; he doesn’t care enough for people to be corrupted for them.”(Alinsky, 1971)

This may be true on some levels; however, without real leadership and a willingness to stand for values that may seem unpopular or politically incorrect, we will end up with someone else deciding which values are in mankind’s best interests. Right now, it isn’t Christians leading the way. It seems not identifying an ideology that contrasts traditional Christian values only enables them to keep taking advantage of our tolerance and compassion. We have reached a point in American society where transgenderism, as one example, has pushed its way into the mainstream and boys, who are now able to identify as female, are using girl’s locker rooms, restrooms and competing in girls’ sports. This could be attributed to Greenleaf’s belief that not enough people are living up to their calling to be servant leaders (Greenleaf, 1977).

One place in American society that is in desperate need of spiritual, value-based leadership is the public school system. America’s public schools are a place where a lack of leadership has resulted in a value system antithetical to Christianity taking hold. Many people argue that schools should focus exclusively on academic subjects such as math, reading and writing (Lindevaldsen, 2011). They fail to realize however, that is virtually impossible to not infuse a system of morals into the curriculum (Lindevaldsen, 2011). The morals represent the beliefs and values of those who are developing and enforcing the curriculum (Lindevaldsen, 2011). Unfortunately, the lack of principled value-based leadership has resulted in a public-school system where godless radicals are intent on pushing the issues of homosexuality and transgenderism onto our children (Lindevaldsen, 2011).

One of the arguments made in pushing this kind of education revolves around the issue of bullying and alleged suicides committed by school-aged kids. This is an example of the Alinsky rule where the Christian value of compassion is twisted and turned against us. The argument is homosexuality and transgenderism must be addressed at these early ages to stop bullying and prevent suicide. Homosexual and transgender teens, the school system argues, are being targeted and harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. There is other research that suggests the exact opposite. According to the Family Research Council, a faith-based organization focusing on strengthening families, students identifying as different genders or homosexual commit suicide at higher rates because of the early exposure and the belief they are born that way (Sheldon, 2001). Ignoring this research while continually pushing the politically correct agenda is putting children’s lives at risk. If it is true that homosexual teens are targeted simply for their sexual orientation, why would the school system insist on pushing the issue? Elementary-aged school children should not be exposed to any sexual education let alone taught that homosexuality is natural and healthy behavior. Perhaps the reason people face this kind of scrutiny is because the act itself is unnatural-

“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” Leviticus 20:13:

1 Thessalonians 5:22 tells us that we are to reject all forms of evil. This is occurring in our public schools because we have failed to stand and insist upon the implementation of Biblical values.

Values-based leadership, if implemented correctly is the opposite of the Alinsky approach to change. Alinsky, who dedicated his book to Lucifer, argued that the ends justify the means in the pursuit of societal transformation. The left has a vision where their moral standard represents the way society should be and because they believe it is morally superior, whatever they must do to achieve it is fair. Alinsky argued that corrupted means would not corrupt the ends. Believing so he argued, means one believes in the “immaculate conception of ends and principles” (Alinsky, 1971). How could corrupted means not corrupt the ends? The left believed that introducing homosexual education to elementary school children would eliminate harassment and suicide. Yet, decades later the issue still exists. Whether kids are being bullied and committing suicide because they are gay, or being introduced to homosexuality too early is irrelevant in the sense that it is the lack of a value-based education system, based on morally sound principles that is leading to the situation in the first place. Teaching elementary school children about homosexuality as a means is corrupt. The results are getting worse; therefore, corrupted means do corrupt the ends. Only the godless could think otherwise.

Values-based leadership suggests that leaders should indeed focus on the means of attaining their goals as opposed to simply the ends (Rao, 2017). The ends do not always justify the means. Rao, (2017) says that creating a better future for mankind depends on our ability to live out our values and apply our principles. Failure to do so can lead to disaster in any society.

“People flout norms and rules and deviate from basic ethics and morals because of various reasons such as to ensure their survival–a desire to excel at any cost. It is a complicated situation for many leaders who occupy higher positions. Empathizing with their situation would be tantamount to justifying their deviation from basic values. However, wrong is always wrong.” (Rao, 2017)

We see this concept playing out as a matter of truth in public schools. For whatever reason, principled leaders have failed to take a hard stand against the introduction of an education curriculum that corrupts the minds of our young children. Whether they did it to ensure the survival of their own careers or because they were afraid of being portrayed as uncompassionate and intolerant, their inability to say no is reaping its consequences. We have progressed from a seemingly innocent suggestion that kids should be taught about homosexuality to prevent bullying, to the idea that men can identify as women and violate the privacy of young girls, and you’re a bigoted intolerant person for suggesting otherwise.

Real values cannot exist without truth. In our world of moral relativist philosophy where truth exists merely as a social construct values can be diluted and can slip away without any real, moral anchors holding them in place (Hester, 2010).  Truth, as mentioned by Luz (2003), can only have any real meaning if it is a universally accepted belief. Over the past two hundred years, since the era known as the “age of enlightenment,” mankind has taken a drastic turn away from what was once the defining standard of morality, a belief in God (Ahmad, 2003). Man has placed his own ideas of morality and right and wrong over God (Ahmad, 2003) and the results have been devastating.

Hester (2019), also suggests that value-based leadership is largely dependent upon the term “value-based.” People have different values which they all prescribe to their morality (Hester, 2019). Hester (2019) for example, describes the feminist movement along with the so-called #me too movement as movements that allegedly push the nation in a more moral direction. Others would argue that feminism has destroyed the American family and the #me too movement as being responsible for destroying the American principle of jurisprudence or being innocent until proven guilty. Piper (2013), suggests that the passing of Obamacare was a moral and ethical thing to do even though its initial designer, Johnathon Gruber, later admitted on television that they depended on the stupidity of the American voter and a lack of transparency to pass it into law (Viebeck, 2014, November 10).

Joseph Stalin, Pol-Pot, Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Lenin, and many others placed their values in an atheistic system of governance. They are examples of leaders who placed their moral principles and philosophies higher than God’s to get the people to follow their dictates. Communism became viewed as a morally superior system that preached total equality. All men were to be the same, none being better or worse than another. Failure to conform to such ideas or believing that some men were more capable than others came to be viewed as intolerance and standing in the way of a perfect society. Communism is now known to be a crime against humanity and a system of total tyranny (Courtois, Werth, Panne, Paczowski, Bartosek & Margolin, 1999) where over one hundred million people were murdered by their own governments. It is a prime example of how corrupted methods will indeed corrupt the ends, despite what Alinsky teaches in Rules for Radicals. The issue of homosexuality being taught in public schools is another example of the term “values-based,” describing the morality of those employing the term. Public schools have been absent a Christian-based morality since Christianity has been barred by the Supreme Court. Even if this was a deliberate attack against the nation’s moral character, as Melouka (2018), suggests, there are those that genuinely believe they are working to prevent the harassment of young children who identify as homosexual or transgender. Their values may be misplaced however, it can be argued that they are employing values-based leadership.

The only way to set society on the correct path, and to correct the problems we face is to return to a Biblically-based morality. Greenleaf (1977), argued that Christians should not identify opposing ideologies as enemies and blame them for society’s ills. This is true in many ways. Calling a schoolteacher who is empathizing with the troubles of homosexual youth, for example, an enemy, will not solve anything. Neither will ignoring the problem or introducing to the existing curriculum, the topic of homosexuality to school children. The truth will speak for itself and a correlation must be drawn by principled “faith-based” leaders between Biblical truths and the problems associated with homosexuality, and other problems we face today. Ignoring the problem or not speaking up is the real cause, as Greenleaf (1977) suggests. Hester (2010), said that real values cannot exist without a moral anchor that supports them. There is no moral anchor supporting the teaching of homosexuality to young children. This is especially true when you consider the fact that problems associated with homosexual youth are many and still growing. If homosexual or transgender teens are committing suicide, why introduce them to the concept at all? Christians must reject the idea that their insistence on Biblical-based morality is intolerant and uncompassionate. The exact opposite is the truth, failure to defend Biblical morality is what is causing society’s downfall.




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