“Is there any basic law of morality?”
When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in downtown Dallas on November 22, 1963, Rabbi Olan was one of approximately 2,600 community leaders awaiting the president’s arrival at the Dallas Trade Mart. Two days later, Olan’s sermon “There Is No Compromise With Evil” aired over radio stations KRLD and WFAA. Because this address does not mention the assassination, it is reasonable to believe that it was written and recorded prior to November 22. The sermon does note with disdain the October 24 assault of U. N. Amabssador Adlai Stevenson in Dallas. Olan called it “a horrible example of what happens when hate is let loose.” An even more devastating example would soon shake the world and mar the name of Dallas, Texas.
In “There Is No Compromise With Evil,” Rabbi Olan spoke of declining moral standards, general disrespect for authority, and the ambiguity of conscience. He asked, “Is there any basic law of morality?” and aswered in the affirmative: “The law of consequences determines for us the nature of morality.” In other words, the law of morality is “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.” Don’t expect good results to come out of bad thoughts and conduct. Evil is immoral because it leads to the destruction of life; love is moral because it is life-giving.
Perhaps this sermon should have aired a week prior to President Kennedy’s visit.
(Rabbi Olan quotes Pirkei Avot 3:19, Galatians 6:7, Job 4:8, Proverbs 22:8, and Leviticus 19:17.)