I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: America is losing its ability to distinguish right from wrong.

Let me illustrate what I mean with a tale of two citizens.

Ward Churchill, a tenured University of Colorado ethnic studies professor, appears to be secure in retaining his $94,000 a year public teaching job, despite the following record:

  • He wrote an essay insulting 9-11 victims and affirmed the terrorist attackers who killed 3,000 Americans.

  • He secured the teaching job under apparently false pretenses – claiming he was an American Indian.

  • Not only is his writing offensive, according to a study by a professor at another university, some of it is plagiarized.

  • He trained self-styled American terrorists, members of the Weather Underground, to shoot and make bombs, skills the members used to kill police officers, attack the U.S. Capitol, rob banks and blow things up – including themselves.

  • He visited Moammar Gadhafi in the 1980s when such trips to Libya were off-limits to Americans because of his sponsorship of international terrorism and helped establish “diplomatic relations.”

  • He lied about his military service in Vietnam.

  • He publicly defended convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

  • He helped establish “diplomatic relations” with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

On the other hand, we have Marine 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano, a veteran of Desert Storm, who came home after that war, helped start a variety of businesses and used his time and resources to help feed the hungry and help the poor in his country.

Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the New Yorker decided to rejoin the Marine Corps for duty in the Iraq campaign.

By all accounts, he served with distinction and participated in the bloody assault on Fallujah.

In April 2004, he was ordered to check out a suspected terrorist hideout near Baghdad. He led his platoon to the building where he found arms, ammunition and bomb-making materials. After seizing the facility, he saw two suspected terrorists fleeing the scene in a truck. He pursued the vehicle, shot out the tires and ordered the pair to tear apart the interior of the vehicle to ensure there were no booby traps.

One of the two suspected terrorists made a threatening move. He ordered him to stop. He did not. So, Lt. Pantano shot the suspected terrorists. A battlefield investigation found he acted properly.

Now, 10 months later, the U.S. Marine Corps is filing pre-meditated murder charges against the young hero who faces the death penalty.

Amazingly, at this moment, Ward Churchill seems to have more support from the media. There are more pundits defending Churchill’s “right” to continue on the public dole than there are defending Pantano’s life.

I would submit to you that we have our priorities more than a little mixed up in this country.

One of these men should indeed be prosecuted. The other should be celebrated. But we’ve got it exactly backward.

How can a nation seek to spread “freedom” and “justice” around the world when it is increasingly obvious that it is unable to discern right from wrong, to recognize good from evil, to celebrate righteousness and punish the most contemptible behavior?

What messages are we sending young Americans when we condone the treasonous, poisonous behavior of a Ward Churchill and condemn the patriotic, noble behavior of Ilario Pantano?

One of these men is human scum and the other is a brave, self-sacrificing warrior.

Why is it that the scum is still collecting his fat, taxpayer-supported paycheck, impervious to accountability for his irresponsible, seditious words and actions and the hero is facing capital punishment?

When a nation is unable to distinguish right from wrong, it is no longer capable of self-government.

I fear America is very near that point.

A moral society would look at these two men and recognize which one poses a threat. A moral society would rally behind the real victim of a real witch hunt. A moral society would ask itself: Which of these men would you prefer as your next-door neighbor?

For me it’s not even a close call. How about for you?

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