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Situation Ethics
September 24, 2017 @ 5:33 AM by: Richard Steinecke

I grew up being taught that morality was absolute. It is always wrong to lie or steal. Ever. I heard only bad things about Joseph Fletcher’s books on Situation Ethics during the 1960’s. As a university student I struggled with the story told by a church elder of the only time he heard his mother tell lie. She lived in Holland during World War II and gave false information when the Nazi’s asked where her husband was.

Recently one of our community members explained why she felt it was OK for her to take two cans of mushroom soup (there was a limit of one can per family) while it was not OK for another community member to take more fresh produce than indicated. Her explanation involved the apparent adequate supply of soup generally that day, her forgoing of soup on other days when there was no mushroom soup and the manner in which the other community member reacted when confronted about his actions. I felt I was in no place to judge anyone given all of the privileges that I enjoy. Maybe I am becoming a heretic.


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