---What are the sources of obligation? Many and varied, though I would even want to question the language of “obligation” as a primary way of speaking about morality. I’d prefer to refer to concepts such as our freedom to love within moral community.
Opportunities to nourish the good and redeem what is evil are granted by God as gifts. They are occasions to reflect something of divine generosity and faithfulness and so to express our true humanity and creatureliness. Put in slightly less theological language, moral virtues are excellences in character that belong to what is properly humane and their development constitutes part of the gift and privilege of becoming more human, more ourselves.
A crucial aspect of human existence is our identity being formed in community, being received from those around us (not in a deterministic way, since the reception is not purely passive but can be creative). And so relationships of trust and mutual care are at the heart of ethical deliberation. We are therefore to honour the relationships into which we are born precisely as a reminder that our existence and identity are received, not self-forged.
These relationships may begin with a family circle (“honour your father and mother”) and move out from there. At higher levels of abstraction, such as a nation, then the appropriate honour may be quite limited. For a modern nation-state, as an invention of modernity, the appropriate form of honour may be quite minimal indeed. Established political authorities are part of the network of relationships into which we are born and which we are to receive with thanksgiving, though not without critical and creative receptivity to possibilities of growth and reform. And the necessity of such critical and creative work regarding the contemporary nation-state is evident in all kinds of ways, not least the ways in which most contemporary governments fail miserably in their appointed task of minimising evil in the ecological sphere, and so collude (with corporate power amongst other things) in the undermining of the conditions under which human society can flourish.