It's really easy to be moral, ethical, kind and generous when everything is going well. When life is good, it's easy to be charitable. When you have plenty of money and you make a mistake, it's easy to make it right.
The real test of character isn't how you handle yourself when times are good. It's whether you can keep up your principles when life sucks. When you make a promise in times of plenty, do you keep it later on when times have turned tough? If you make a mistake when you're broke, do you make it right even though it's not easy?
It seems like every time I turn around these days, yet another pastor, bishop or pope is making the wrong choices, showing that when the chips are down, their morality was a mere facade. Rather than having the deep, solid morality that we expected from these pillars of the religious community, they've shown that their morals are shallow. Rather than deeply held principles, they have situational ethics.
The Pope's cover-up of the pedophilia scandal, which CNN has exposed even more last week, showed us that when the Roman Catholic Church was faced with protecting its children or itself, it abandoned the children. The truly honest response would have been full disclosure, the very day the first pedophile priest was caught.
It seems that every time Congressmen, Senators or Presidents are caught with their pants down, instead of honestly admitting his mistake, their first response is to deny it happened. Rather than being honest, they rationalize and lie.
When BP's oil well blew up, their first response was to pretend it wasn't all that serious, that the leak was something like ten percent of the actual flow. A truly honest response would have been to say, "We don't know, but we'll find out. It looks bad," and then get to work to fix the problem and let their scientists speak without censorship.
Where do these people learn their morals? In church? I only went to church a few times in my youth, mostly when visiting grandparents who insisted. In fact, none of my brothers and sisters, children, nieces and nephews spent any significant time in church, yet I'm proud to be part of this family. When the chips are down my family members always do the right thing. When we make a mistake, we apologize and make it right. If we hurt someone or something, we do whatever it takes to fix the hurt. We back each other up. If someone has a trouble, we're all there to help.
You don't have to go to church to know what's right. You just have to be a good person.