7 Thoughts on the Numerous Recent Moral Failings of Public Figures

When Bill Clinton was elected president, I was cleaning floors in the Northwestern College cafeteria. My roommate’s girlfriend came in and told me, with tears in her eyes, that Clinton won.

“Oh,” I said, and went back mopping.

The Clinton years were a fascinating time to be a Christian. I will admit I got caught up in the hysteria. Monica Lewinski, rape allegations, “at least Nixon resigned” t-shirts, etc.

The moral outrage amongst Christians was astounding. Clinton was the devil incarnate.

Oh how far we’ve come, dear church.

“a new PRRI/Brookings poll says. In 2011, 30 percent of white evangelicals said that “an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life.” Now, 72 percent say so — a far bigger swing than other religious groups the poll studied.

Evangelicals no longer think moral failings are that big of a deal in our politicians. The “other side” apparently has no monopoly on moral failing, so our morals have adjusted accordingly.

The recent election is one possible reason white evangelicals don’t think moral failings are that big of a deal.

Hillary Clinton potentially has played into it, as well. Many Republicans find her unacceptable, and it may be that some dislike her so much that they have stretched their conceptions of who it’s OK to vote for.

Hillary Clinton carries with her all the baggage of her husband. Christians, as I recall, absolutely hated Bill Clinton. His wife is lumped in with him. We’ll vote for any louse as long as it’s not a Clinton louse.

Here are a few points to consider:

  1. Christians think they vote for the lesser of two evils. If we have to vote for someone who degrades women, so be it, at least he’s not for abortion. Although I understand the desire to protect the unborn, tying our boat to the dock of immoral, immature leadership seems tenuous.
  2. Voting typically makes Christians look stupid. Vote if you think it matters, but perhaps consider keeping it private, along with all your political views. A vote is putting a stamp of approval on a person. When the Church is seen doing that, the Church gets lumped in with the politician. This has never worked out well for the Church.
  3. Our government in America is by the people. We get what we deserve. Politicians are not going to morally reform America. They are not going to get rid of abortion. They will, in fact, continue to flush our morals down the toilet, because that’s what human nature wants to have happen. America needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If America came alive to the Gospel, politics would follow. It doesn’t work the other way. Never has; never will.
  4. Moral lapses in our leaders should be expected occasionally. Leaders are people. People are sinners. But that’s why the Bible says the people we follow should be tested and proved to have character. People make mistakes and grace should be shown to both sides of the political spectrum. Currently, however, we appear to be in a time where the majority of leaders are failing regularly. I’m not sure this is a new thing, or if it’s a result of invasive, incessant media coverage. I don’t know, but none of this makes it right.
  5. The typical way to deal with the moral failings of a person on “our side” is to bring up moral failings of a person on the “other side.” We’re in a battle now of ignoring moral failures while also comparing and contrasting them indefinitely. Moral failings are moral failings. Apologies don’t cut it in leadership. If a leader fails they’re supposed to step down. The fact that our leaders fail and don’t step down, but instead point out how other leaders do it too so leave me alone, is not a good sign.
  6. Men are disgusting. If there’s no other point to take out of the recent headlines, it’s that men are out of control animals. Good grief, men. Get a grip. It’s time to personally fight against pornography, sexual perversion in all forms, and dealing with dignity toward women. Women should also wear more clothing. But still, even if women walked around buck naked, grow up men! Get control.
  7. We are more loyal to our party than we are to our God. We’d, apparently, degrade moral standards for the sake of staying loyal to our guys. When we are in a spot like this, it’s time for an examination: Do we have our trust in God who established morals, or rulers who wield temporal power? The obvious answer here is troubling.

However, this is just a poll and polls are easily manipulated. Polls also show what the majority wants, and a majority of human nature is always going to side with sin.

Actual believers in Jesus Christ are not selling out godliness for the sake of political power. Followers of Jesus Christ are not entangling themselves with the affairs of this life. Jesus paid next to no attention to politics. What He did say is that we seek first the Kingdom of God, He’ll take care of the rest of what we need. He tells His people to let the heathen fight for power; the meek will inherit the earth in the end.

I do wish the Church were more interested in the better country to come than we are in this tottering republic. America has been good to me. I mean no disrespect. But this is not my home. I will not let go of godliness for a bowl of pottage, even if the bowl has the Stars and Stripes on it.

10 thoughts on “7 Thoughts on the Numerous Recent Moral Failings of Public Figures”

  1. Reblogged this on Onesimus Files and commented:
    Another very insightful article from Jeff Weddle. While Jeff refers to the political situation in the USA, the same principles can be applied elsewhere.

    I particularly like the last sentence of the article – it sums up the whole issue perfectly.

  2. I particularly like the last line, too. Some people have been getting all worked up about standing for the flag recently (and not kneeling, to show concern). They act like they are the final arbiters, but then they do things like have stars and stripes doggie beds (which, in the same instructions recommending standing with your hand over your heart is not considered respectful, as paper plates, and another forms of using the flag design, including clothing, are also not).

    I don’t know how much circulation a video just saw has gotten. In it, a station that has been promoting the outrage over anyone (mainly anyone black in football) kneeling to make a statement about injustices was contrastingly delighted to be showing a white baseball player dancing in a flag speedo after a game victory. So, not only were they not offended by the improper [technically speaking] use of the flag design, they also were really liking broadcasting what the guy was doing.

    But that’s a bit off-topic. Back to the bowl of pottage. That’s a really good way of bringing the thought of politics together into something those with ears will think about in some degree of depth. I don’t think all people are working to accomplish bad things. Some (maybe half or even more than half) are trying to make our environment (social, economic, ecological, and on and on) livable while we wait. I think we might be at a point to notice that more crowing about purity in law gets less.

  3. But it’s not only law, it’s also authority. This particular article is difficult to share. I am a home schooler (or was, my children are grown), and I’d prefer the types of things you’ll read not be conflated with home education. These things did not happen in my home (as in my home where I had authority, as opposed to my home when I was growing up and helpless and not homeschooling but being trained in conservatism on the cutting edge with what I would term as a hypocritical mother). I was more of a liberal home educator — not “liberal” in terms of the caricature the right ascribes to the left, simply what might be called an un-schooler. In fact, I discovered this was the case for our loose-knit fellow home education friendships in the area as well. I suppose there was something about the landscape that attracted similar people. I was aware of another tack that many home schoolers took, but that wasn’t me (or my friends). To be brief, many people choose to hide their children in homeschool and drill them with expectations. Sometimes it’s referred to as “school-at-home” — but it is often more gruelling (gruelling, not edifying) than having gone to school.

    This article doesn’t touch on the even more extreme situation of children in communities of supposed Latter Day Saints* and others who also push for “religious freedom” but bastardize the concept. So, we have to be careful about ignorantly supporting whatever parents or religions say or want. The article I’ve been referring to is the second one below. I’ve decided to include another.

    https://abovethelaw.com/2017/10/roy-moore-was-a-complete-joke-in-law-school-too/

    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-brightbill-roy-moore-evangelical-culture-20171110-story.html
    … pursuit of a young girl is the symptom of a larger problem in evangelical circles

    * Not to be confused with mainstream Mormons, who tend to be very nice.

  4. Note: Once people get wind of certain terminology, it has been demonstrated, they may play around with the words and become confusing or distracting. For instance, someone who I would see as doing school at home (with a vengeance) could say they don’t have “school-at-home” because they are in no way secular (which would be more like the evangelicals above).

  5. Paul tells us to provide things honest in the sight of all people. Therefore I believe we should abide by the laws of the land. Plus throwing in the numerous commands to be in subjection to the government. I know some Christian types who think they don’t have to pay taxes, which would seem to be a similar idea with young marriage, on such a basis of “listening to God rather than people.”

    Both, with a common sense reading of Scripture, would be deemed to be not living honestly and in subjection to our government. What Moore did was a violation of law, and thus, even if he’s convinced God thinks it was ok, is still supposed to submit to the government’s punishment for not obeying their law.

    Using biblical ideas to circumvent human law has a place, but not nearly as often as many think. I don’t think Moore’s situation has a legitimate biblical case. Not sure about the broader supposed evangelical notion of young marriage. I doubt it does, but perhaps there could be exceptions. Not sure.

  6. In the extreme communities I’ve heard of, what eventually happens is the older men are claiming the younger women (and even girls) while the young men (or older boys) tend to run away or be kicked out. The link I shared above is not that extreme but still pretty extreme, and I think the author is correct that it’s not as uncommon as we would like to think. But I would add that it’s not only going on with the specific environment of which she speaks (writes). In other words, the attitudes and impositions happen in evangelical/fundamentalist communities even if the families are not home schooling. Also, I think men who are perverse in their thinking are drawn to create or capitalize on these situations as much or more than they are truly trying to live up to bible standards (yet, young people can certainly be confused if they are indoctrinated with such definitions of bible verses).

  7. Religion can easily be used to allow those in power to take advantage of those without power. Islam does allow grown men to marry adolescent (and younger) girls. I think it’s a religion thing more than an evangelical thing, but crosses over since Evangelicalism is an established religion. Not denying the existence or the weirdness, and where it exists in Christianity it needs to be confronted to avoid abuses. Religion can give many disgusting people cover to promote their disgustingness. All religious people are susceptible to abusing this cover in numerous ways.

  8. It’s a “religion thing” (in that it includes other religions too); it’s a power thing as well (even if the power can be at the scale of a parent over a child). I brought up evangelicalism because of the article… and the man, Roy Moore. And the people supporting him.

    I also try to figure out what they are after. When Moore was a judge and was putting in his view of a child rapist by a grown worker in a day care center (toward a verdict), HE was the voice of leniency. For all his attention-getting, when it came down to it… weak.

  9. Messed up the grammar there. I suppose one can derive my meaning…
    his view of child rape… [perpetrated upon a four-year-old] or
    view of a child rapist [someone seventeen, a grown worker] …

  10. Well, now that I look at that, I could improve the syntax… or not try to be so brief. Actually… of my two possible corrections, the upper one is better: his view of child rape…

    A rape was perpetrated on a person of care at the age of four. My second possible correction could be taken in ways that I didn’t mean or that just look quite unclear. I didn’t intend to get into this, and the resembling words are completely incidental, but Roy Moore wanted to envision the rapist as a child. To me, that is ludicrous and nonsensical. If the seventeen-year-old was working in day care and capable of sexual rape, that worker was not a child in relation to the four-year-old.

    At the same time, Roy Moore viewed girls at the age of seventeen (and younger) as his own dating, molesting, and rape material. [And he married someone not quite that young (not a teen) but like fourteen years younger than himself. She’d have been in her twenties.]

    So he was a judge. What can be the point, people?

    Is the point simply to have laws on the books and flout them?

    I don’t “get” his big claim to fame — the ten commandments monument.

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