Perspectives: The new absolute is there are no absolutes

OPINION –  An LGBT rights billboard from Equality Utah raises eyebrows as well as cheers in St. George. A campaign visit from presidential candidate Fred Karger prompts an angry email from the wife of a local political leader.  These are recent examples of how Southern Utah has become part of the front lines of a growing cultural rift in American society. But the ongoing culture war has a lot more at stake than simply gay rights.

Consider the following question: Which is a greater threat to the sanctity of marriage, same-sex marriage or a 50 percent divorce rate?

A reasonable person would be tempted to answer with one of the two choices presented without realizing that they’ve been offered a trick question. The reality is that both answers are merely symptoms of the larger societal problem of a culture that is deliberately discarding its ability to distinguish between right and wrong.

Demands on the part of same-sex activists to use government force to redefine marriage and the divorce-is-just-a-phone-call-away mentality both find their roots in an unwillingness to exercise self-control, an unwillingness that naturally follows the idea of “if it feels good — do it.”

Both mindsets are at complete odds with the concept of sanctity which Merriam Webster defines as: 1: holiness of life and character. Godliness 
2: the quality or state of being holy or sacred. Inviolability

While it’s true that many marriages today are lacking the quality of sanctity, it’s also true that those that have it are successful.  The greatest threats to marriage aren’t in the commitments it requires, but in the unwillingness of some to live up to their lifelong vows by governing their appetites.

Instant gratification and self-worship often masquerade as true freedom. But those who pursue a pure lack of self-restraint to its logical conclusion find that the destructive consequences of their actions are inescapable.

This is readily observable in individuals who destroy their lives through substance abuse; through excessive debt; through contracting and perpetuating sexually transmitted diseases; through preying upon and abusing others to satisfy their own lusts.

Anyone who has ever witnessed a devastated young mother tearfully confronting her husband’s illicit lover, after learning of his affair, will have an indelible appreciation of why self-control and sanctity in marriage are far from being outdated principles. A spouse who maintains inviolability in their marriage protects not only their own peace of mind, but also the peace of mind of their family members, neighbors, and community.

Those who wish to enjoy the greatest amount of personal freedom must be willing to exercise a greater amount of personal moral restraint in eschewing personal pride, irresponsibility and selfishness.

The truth is that exercising moral self-control allows us to continue to make choices that actually enlarge our freedom to act for ourselves. On the other hand, following the counterfeit to freedom, anything-goes kind of thinking, serves to paint individuals into an ever-shrinking corner of despair and unpleasant consequences.

Modern day sophists find a perverse sense of pleasure in tearing down the moral boundaries created over the course of thousands of years by the combined brainpower of billions of individuals. The arrogance with which they pursue this goal does not allow them to ask why those boundaries were established in the first place.

When our moral boundaries have become sufficiently eroded to the point that we can no longer define wrong or right with any degree of certainty, our society has effectively sown the seeds of its own destruction.

Few things are more certain to invite denunciation and condemnation today than asserting that there remains a clear line between moral and immoral behavior. The self-appointed “enlightened” and “value-free” members of society subscribe to an increasingly inflexible tolerance that is expected to trump both truth and reality by replacing the old absolutes with newer, more progressive ones.

In the same way that patriotism is said to be the first refuge of a scoundrel, moral relativism is proving to be the first refuge of the culture warriors among us who insist that the religious morals of every generation before us were dead wrong and must be overthrown.

We would do well to remember that a key role of religion is to provide an effective moral authority that, unlike the state, does not use force to accomplish its goals.

It’s no accident that the most murderous governments the world has ever known first sought to eliminate religion in order to remove any moral restraints upon the state itself. Society should give this some serious thought before heading down that same path.


Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright 2012 St. George News.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!


  • Murat July 5, 2012 at 11:04 am

    The problem with religion is that it’s all make believe, so its role as an “effective moral authority” is not credible. And while it may not use force to accomplish its goals, it does leverage the fact that people in general are dimwitted and superstitious. Hardly noble.

  • Cody July 5, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    It is obvious that you are somewhat deluded. First of all, to call St. George, UT, one of the “front lines” in gay rights is absurd. You are also extremely insensitive and close-minded to say that homosexuality is about nothing but sex (your comment “if it feels good, do it.”). And your writing skills, ignoring the questionable & opinionated content, are lack luster. When will St. George have a good news crew. Every news organization in St. George is just a sorry excuse to rant about their opinions in a public forum. In other words, this is not news.

    • Daniel July 5, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      Cody, this an opinion piece, it’s not being presented as facts. You are not obliged to agree or accept it as fact (as you clearly pointed out what you felt was incorrect). However, your opinion doesn’t become fact either, no matter how often you state it as fact, your opinion is just as opinion, just like the author of this article opinion is still just his opinion.

  • Amber July 5, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    This is an interesting thought:

    “We would do well to remember that a key role of religion is to provide an effective moral authority that, unlike the state, does not use force to accomplish its goals.”

    It would appear to me that the history of religion is full of “force” to accomplish its goals. I seem to recall that is was through the justification and influence of religion that many governments chose to use force (Crusades, Jihad, etc.) .

    The “moral boundaries created over the course of thousands of years by the combined brainpower of billions of individuals,” as you say, is what has perpetuated our patriarchal society that has for many years held women and those of differing races as lower class. Their “brainpower,” in my opinion, is something we should be distancing ourselves as far away from as we can.

    I hope someday to live in a world of equality, kindness, and freedom from the tyranny of organized religion…

  • Damie July 5, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    When are we going to get a real paper in southern Utah and not yet another embarrassing right wing rant fest?

    • Joyce Kuzmanic July 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm

      I don’t know, Damie – I think we offer thinkers on multiple sides of issues, and even see them have respectful discourse. Have you checked out our “On the EDge” column this morning?

      • Damie July 5, 2012 at 5:47 pm

        You’re pulling a Spectrum here- publishing aggressive nasty hard right ranting that attacks a sector of society and then claiming because you have Ed Kociela on the staff it’s all okay. Just cover the news and the real issues, These “enemies of rightness should not be tolerated, drive them out” pieces get old and tiresome very quickly no matter which group they’re aimed at, but I expect nothing else from southern Utah newspapers at this point.

  • Sean July 5, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Kudos Brian…this is an excellent piece. Opponents of religion might consider that their anti-religious beliefs are also a “religion” of sorts. People who practice religion (or people who practice anything, for that matter) are bound to do so imperfectly. But having a moral code and a relationship with a higher power helps us aim and hit higher than we would otherwise, speaking generally.

    • Mike H July 6, 2012 at 8:29 am

      Your argument here is fallacious. I subscribe to no religious dogma but I feel I am a moral person. I always have been. I don’t need a fancy book to tell me what is right or wrong especially when you look at how the “moral code” in the Bible has evolved (oh! look out, I just rolled out the *whisper* “evolution” word). Just take a stroll through Leviticus to see what I mean. This of course is the oft quoted section of the Bible that people use to defend their “God supported” hatred of the gay community. But if you look at it in its entirety you will see a lot of admonitions that have nothing to do with sex but more with subjugating classes of people be they female or of darker skin or gay.
      It kills me that so many “religious” people seem to think that having a background in such a mythology makes them the moral compass of society.
      I was not raised with any specific religious background; my father was almost an avowed Atheist and my mother was at best a holiday Christian. But I was raised to recognize right and wrong and brought up with a set of mores that I uphold to this day, more so than many of my “good Christian” -read Mormon peers (I was raised in Utah), many of whom appear on the bookings site with some regularity and are more faithful to their favored sports teams then they are to their spouses, male and female. Of course I am not making a broad sweeping generality about all religion or anything like that. I am just pointing out the obvious fact (to me anyway) that to assume only religious people can be moral is to assume non-religious people cannot be.
      Before a person assumes that religion is the sole provider of morality and “sanctity” they should really look around at the people sitting in the pews next to them and take a long careful look in the mirror. They may not really like what they see.

      • Sean July 9, 2012 at 7:04 pm

        Hi Mike,

        Nowhere in my comment did I say that religion was the sole source of morality. I said, and I believe, that religion helps people hit a higher level of morality. That’s a general statement; not every religious person is moral, and many non-religious people are very moral.

  • Sleuth July 6, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Thanks for the great piece Brian, and thank you for calling it like it is. Apparently by drawing a line between right and wrong you’ve offended many of the readers here, (refer to the comments above). A similar piece was recently published in the NYT opinion column, (, so criticizing this piece as the backwards rant of an insular southern Utah paper is misguided.

    I love the comment above, “But religion is just make believe”. This is the classically stupid line so many people use to try and attack religious morals. Translation: “I don’t want anyone telling me what to do, or judging me, or telling me how to live my life, so I’m going to attack the basis upon which their claims are made.” Sorry Murat, but if you’re a jack***, people are going to tell you as much. Murat claims to KNOW that religion is make believe. Does anyone else see the contradiction in that comment? If it’s unknowable, and I can’t know it’s true, how can you know it’s false? I couldn’t agree more with Brian’s article. The supreme arrogance with which these cultural warriors disregard thousands of years of collective knowledge is baffling, and they do so without even bothering to read or study any of the countless classics upon which these morals are based.

    Apparently MSNBC and Huff Post are authoritative enough for them.

    • Cody July 6, 2012 at 7:23 pm

      You must be so edgy!! With a name like sleuth.

    • Murat July 7, 2012 at 11:50 am

      I could make up nonsense all day and it would have the same credibility as Mormonism, Witchcraft, Christianity, Satanism, Islam, LSD-induced hallucinations, Zoroastrianism, take your pick. Tack on ‘moral values’ and it’s legitimate? Hardly.

  • Wanda July 6, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Fabulous and thoughtful piece, Bryan! And yes, southern Utah is indeed at the forefront of an equality evolution for the LGBT community at large and especially in Utah and among LDS-dominant cities and townships. Respectfully, the LGBT community is developing a presence to be proud of – one characterized by kind and honorable individuals, family members, friends and loved ones of those who identify as LGBT and/or those who support equality without bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Southern Utah can be proud to be recognized as a religious community that is being acknowledged for its efforts to reach out and exemplify the very base and fundamental Christian principal: Love thy neighbor.

  • gay June 26, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Great post.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.