Friday, August 17, 2007

Rules and conduct codes replacing morality in US

It is tough time to be a professional sports commissioner. Today's USA Today ran a story about Goddell, the new NFL commissioner, and the difficult player conduct cases that he has had to decide since taking over for comissioner, including "Pacman" Jones and Michael Vick. David Stern is dealing with the betting scandal from Tim Donaghy. And baseball commissioner Bud Selig recently had to deal with steroids scandals surrounding Jason Giambi, Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, and others.

In response, the sports leagues are putting in new get tough conduct policies. The same thing has happened in the business world, as companies set similar conduct policies and toughen accounting standards. Perhaps this will work to improve behavior, as people live in fear of losing their jobs.

But all of this is a poor substitute for moral values such as integrity, honesty, goodness, and hard work. As we become a nation that is less and less familiar with the Christian story, we increasingly lose our moral compass. There was little crime in the totalitarian regimes of Saddam or the USSR. But this was due to fear, not goodness of heart.

Rule and codes can never change hearts.