The Wages of Moral Confusion: When Lawlessness Replaces Ordered Liberty

Written by Robert Knight

My son and I attended one of the Washington Nationals’ last home games and were walking back to his vehicle when we saw a strange sight.

It was a guy pushing a grocery cart full of goods down the sidewalk toward us at top speed, accompanied by a young woman who was laughing. Two clerks from a CVS store came around the corner and began screaming, “Stop them!”

Just then, a police car sped by in hot pursuit with lights flashing.

I don’t know what eventually happened. This took place in what is supposed to be a safe neighborhood. It’s part of the gentrified Navy Yard area where U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX) was carjacked at gunpoint last Monday evening.

The crime rate has skyrocketed in urban areas since the advent of the “defund the police” movement. Progressive district attorneys, many backed by left-wing sugar daddy George Soros, are issuing what amounts to “get out of jail free” cards.

Carjackings are at an all-time high in some cities. Fox News ran a story on Wednesday about how 45 or more teens regularly steal from a CVS in Washington’s Columbia Heights neighborhood before and after school and late at night. Footage showed aisles of empty shelves.

Customers who were interviewed had a shockingly cavalier attitude. One suggested the city give away the goods the teens were seizing.

It seems like only yesterday that we began hearing about flash mobs hitting high-end stores such as Louis Vuitton in San Francisco. Downtown merchants there are leaving one by one. Now, mayhem has spread around the country to shopping malls and smaller cities, recorded on cellphones and uploaded to social media.

We shouldn’t be surprised by the lawlessness. Cultural radicals have been hammering away at civil society’s foundations since the 1960s. Their mantra “If it feels good, do it” has been wildly successful in replacing the faith-based tenets of marriage, family, personal responsibility, private property, hard work and true charity.

Many Americans have bought into moral relativism, in which all views have equal value. Some schools actually allow after-school Satan clubs to counter Good News clubs that teach the truths of the Bible.

This is what you get when libertinism replaces ordered liberty. Individual freedom must be accompanied by guardrails against nihilism and relativism, starting with the Ten Commandments and the golden rule.

Imagine a boat full of people who swear allegiance to tolerance without distinguishing between right and wrong. This would empower lawless passengers who want to use a drill and jackhammer on the bottom of the boat “because we feel like it.”

We could expand that analogy with America as the Titanic, but I’m not ready to go there. Besides, the ship that “not even God himself could sink” was doomed in 1912 by an iceberg and incompetence, not by a deliberately destructive agenda.

The same can’t be said for those attacking the moral order. Having commandeered the media, Hollywood, education and corporate America, they’re now subverting the final enemy — the church.

Mainline Protestant churches went “woke” some time ago. As for the Catholic Church, Pope Francis issued another call for climate action and singled out America and the West as “irresponsible” even though China, by far the world’s greatest polluter, is building more coal-fired power plants.

The leader of the world’s largest Christian denomination is also sending signals that it’s time to quit making sin such a big deal. The Washington Post reported that conservative bishops fear what may come from a major Vatican meeting that began this past week.

“They see as dangerous [some] program documents such as those asking for ‘concrete steps’ to better welcome LGBTQ Catholics and people in polygamous marriages,” the Post wrote.

It’s one thing to receive all people with the humble acknowledgment that everyone is a sinner in need of salvation. It is quite another to officially bless and sponsor unrepented sin.

The Galileo Church in Fort Worth has launched a program to evade a new Texas law. That church gives grants to help send children out of state for gender transition treatments such as puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgery to remove healthy genitals and breasts.

“Jesus calls us to be good neighbors to vulnerable people,” the Rev. Katie Hays explained in an email to The Epoch Times. She cited parental rights.

Other than babies designated for abortion, I can think of few people more vulnerable than children whose own parents are fine with castrating or defeminizing them.

Like skyrocketing crime, this is the fruit of moral confusion. About 3,000 years ago, the Prophet Isaiah warned: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness.”

But he also wrote one of the most powerful promises ever recorded: “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Robert Knight is a former Los Angeles Times news editor and writer and was a Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. This column was originally published by The Washington Times.

He has been published by the Wall Street Journal, National Review, the Christian Post,,,, and many others.  He has co-authored three books and written 10, including “Liberty on the Brink: How the Left Plans to Steal Your Vote” (D. James Kennedy Ministries, 2020) and “The Coming Communist Wave: What Happens If the Left Captures All Three Branches of Government” (D. James Kennedy Ministries, 2020) . 

You can follow him on Twitter at @RobertKnight17, and his website is