‘Non-secular’ America deserves better than Republican nominee

Tyler Stigall, Science/International Editor

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On my drive back to Allegheny from my home near Washington, D.C. after Fall Break—the seeming epicenter of more political infighting and fractured party lines than I have ever experienced in my adult life—I tuned into a Rush Limbaugh bit on the radio. I was curious as to how the pundit would handle the Grand Old Party’s current relationship with their presidential candidate post-debate.

Limbaugh read from an article titled “The Ugly Stench of Hypocrisy,” by Michael J. Hurd, who has a Ph.D. in psychology from the Living Resources Center. The talk show host described the piece as the most insightful thing he had read concerning the audio tape yet.

First, a quick recap: on Oct. 8, The Washington Post released a 2005 recording of Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, bragging with “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush about groping, kissing and violating women without asking for consent. Though his exact remarks are framed in second-person (e.g., “You can…” as opposed to “I do/did…”) and he never named specific women, five women have since come forward with allegations against Trump.

When asked about the tapes during the second presidential debate on Oct. 9, Trump dodged the question twice and flatly denied any truth to his own claims, calling his behavior “locker room talk.”

Now at this point, any reasonable person who has not made a career promoting a clear political brand might recognize what I will call the Bill Cosby Effect, and honorably pull support from a candidate who appears to have a criminal past—and for the same reason, I wish that Democratic Party leaders had at least waited until James Comey had released his decision not to investigate Clinton’s emails before supporting her, lest the election devolve into a front of whose criminal potential is worse.

Limbaugh chose a different path. But the piece he read also reveals something important about the current political divide. According to Limbaugh, Hurd wrote, “If morality is relative to each individual—a purely subjective experience—by what standard are they judging Trump? Obviously, in such a secular climate, there can’t even be a ‘standard.’ Why should anyone listen to people who out of one side of their mouths declare the death of objective moral standards yet out of the other condemn someone for violating objective moral standards?”

The key word in this argument is “secular.” But first, a refutation: I submit that the progressive left of America rigidly follows Kantian morals—in a sentence, live by a code by which you would wish everyone around you to live by. And these morals are largely secular—but the crux of Hurd’s argument, and Limbaugh’s oblique defense of Trump, rests in the 40 percent or so of Americans who still live by a non-secular code. In no way does this code allow for sexual assault, of course—that is the point of Hurd’s argument.

A large swath of voters this year see hypocrisy in the rejection of what they believe to be immutable truths, coupled with self-ascribed morals. If there is no God, then where is your ethical reality coming from?

The trouble is that the current champion of these people does not himself uphold their own values. Non-secular America deserves better. If they are going to wage philosophical war on the left, they should have picked a candidate who better reflects their own values and mores. The voices of the right matter just as much as those on the left. Let he who casts the first stone… you get the idea.

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