11. Be able to consider ethical issues thoughtfully.
In starting to explain this item, references need to be discussed. In writing this blog, I have no idea what you know, what you do not know. I will write this portion as if you know about the concept of ethics. I will help somewhat, but the following reference can help:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics I realize wikipedia is not the greatest source, however, in this case it covers the subject in 19 pages, enough for a better understanding. Wikipedia also gives a pretty complete Notes and References area for further research.
Ethics is not a course in most high school curriculums. It is however a subject touched on to receive a college degree. Ethics can not only be read about, it must be discussed in a classroom- like setting with a moderator that can help direct the discussion.
"Ethics (also known as moral philosophy) is a branch of philosophy which seeks to address questions about morality; that is, about concepts such as good and bad, the noble and the ignoble, right and wrong, justice and virtue."(Wikipedia)
What do you do about the "prisoners" in Guantanamo?
What about abortion?
What about the death penalty?
Do we close the border?
Do the ends justify the means?
If you have been watching TV news lately, you have seen groups that have gathered together to support pieces of legislation, or not support that legislation. People in these support groups have made an ethical decision based on their "frame of reference" about that particular decision and are willing to get in a crowd to voice their opinion, or mail/call their Congressman about the way they feel about "pending " legislation. This is what an educated citizen does. He follows current events, watches TV news, reads periodicals, listens to radio talk shows, WHATEVER HE HAS TIME FOR AND THE DESIRE TO STRENGTHEN HIS FEELING FOR A PARTICULAR SUBJECT.
People who have had religious upbringing usually have been involved with moral discussions. They attempt to follow what their church leadership has already sorted out for them. As you grow older and start thinking for yourself, you will be stronger for having the church up-bringing, however, you must be able to keep an open enough mind to alter some of these learnings if new data is presented. How you value the data in your specific instance will determine your actions.
Perhaps the most polarizing issue in America today is abortion. How do you feel about that issue?
There are two main items to this discussion: Do you feel the woman should have control over her own body? OR, Do you feel the "fetus" has rights and should be protected by the state? If you have not made up your mind, you need to; the reason, in the new book, The Nine, Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin, he brings out that there are two kinds of appeals that are being brought to the Court today, in a 50/50 ratio, Abortion Issues and All others. As you can see, abortion is a very important ethical issue.
Please, anytime you discuss ethical issues, start with your frame of reference and an open mind. Starting with your frame of reference and a closed mind does nothing to help the greater good.