A hope note
Let’s see if I heard this right.
A stranger, over the phone, pretending to be a policeman, tells an assistant manager in a restaurant to take one of the teenage employees into the back office and stripsearch her. The assistant manager obeys the voice on the phone.
When the assistant manager orders the girl to remove all her clothes, the girl complies.
The assistant manager calls in her fianc’ to help in the investigation. He continues taking orders from the voice on the phone, orders that include having the teenager perform sex acts.
The fianc’s defense at his trial: ‘I just did what the caller told me to do ‘ I’ve always been the type of person that’s very easygoing, and I’ve always followed authority, always.’
We teach our children to honor some boundaries in following authority ‘ not to believe everything just because some adult says it. We teach them not to be a sheep.
Many people have found themselves way down the road to destruction because they trusted implicitly in a minister, a teacher, a relative, a boss, a commanding officer, a president, the government.
Adolf Eichmann and other Nazis who were put on trial at Nuremburg unsuccessfully used the ‘I was only obeying orders’ defense, as did William Calley after the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, as did those involved in the more recent Abu Ghraib tortures.
To be moral means, among other things, to think critically. Don’t check your brains at the door when you enter a church; don’t mistreat certain people even though the culture may condone it; don’t blindly follow orders.
As my dad would say when I tried the Nuremburg ‘ ‘I was only doing what they told me to do’ ‘ defense: ‘Would you jump off a cliff if they told you to?’