Say What?: KevinH
“How did our beloved nation find itself in this sorry mess? I believe it began not with the Lewinsky affair, but many years earlier. There was plenty of evidence during the first Presidential election that Bill Clinton had a moral problem…..”
“…..As it turns out, character DOES matter. You can’t run a family, let alone a country, without it. How foolish to believe that a person who lacks honesty and moral integrity is qualified to lead a nation and the world! Nevertheless, our people continue to say that the President is doing a good job even if they don’t respect him personally. Those two positions are fundamentally incompatible. In the Book of James the question is posed, “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring” (James 3:11 NIV). The answer is no…..”
“…..I am left to conclude from these opinions that our greatest problem is not in the Oval Office. It is with the people of this land! We have lost our ability to discern the difference between right and wrong…..”
“…..We are facing a profound moral crisis — not only because one man has disgraced us — but because our people no longer recognize the nature of evil. And when a nation reaches that state of depravity — judgment is a certainty.”
– James Dobson in 1998
“The topic of private vs. public behavior has emerged as perhaps the central moral issue raised by Bill Clinton’s “improper relationship” with Monica Lewinsky. Much of America seems to have succumbed to the notion that what a person does in private has little bearing on his public actions or job performance, even if he is the president of the United States…..”
“…..But the God of the Bible says that what one does in private does matter. Mr. Clinton’s months-long extramarital sexual behavior in the Oval Office now concerns him and the rest of the world, not just his immediate family. If he will lie to or mislead his wife and daughter, those with whom he is most intimate, what “will prevent him from doing the same to the American public?”
Private conduct does have public consequences.”
– Franklin Graham in 1998
“What we have come to find out, however, is that we have a man in the White House who has for his life a habit in which he has engaged and that habit is a habit of lying and deception and hypocrisy…..”
“…..To put it simply, to have a ruler who is a liar is an extremely serious matter. In Proverbs 29:12, God says, ‘If a ruler is given to lies’ – this is translated a number of ways, but this is the basic Hebrew of it, ‘If a ruler is given to lies, all his servants become wicked’…..”
“…..We’ve got a problem here. God’s given us up. That’s what it says. When a society reaches the place where all the sins in verses 29 to 31 are normalized, where all those sins are practiced, even though we know the righteous judgment of God and that those who do those things are deserving of death, we not only do them, but we applaud the doing, and it’s not just on the Jerry Springer show that we applaud it, we approve of it in the White House. Why? Because it’s a reflection of how we behave…..”
“…..I just am praying that maybe this whole thing could be an unbelievable wake-up call to this society, to chase it back toward truth, when the house of cards built by lies begins to collapse. But let’s be people of the truth.”
– John MacArthur in 1998
“Our founding fathers understood the absolute necessity for this nation to elect moral and upright statesmen to lead the people. Listen to the words of James Madison, from the Federalist #57, and pray that God will again rise up men and women who will embrace their roles with dignity, faith, and truth: ‘The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust.”
– Jerry Falwell Sr. in 1999
“If I were to support, much less endorse, Donald Trump for president, I would actually have to go back and apologize to former President Bill Clinton. I would have to admit that my commentary on his scandals was wrong. I don’t believe I was. I don’t believe evangelicals who stood united that time were wrong.”
– Al Mohler in 2016
In 2011, a PRRI Brookings poll showed that 30% of white evangelicals agreed 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.” A mere five years later in October of 2016 before Donald Trump had even been elected president, according to the same polling organization, now 72% of white evangelicals agreed with that statement.
This was a stunning change of opinion, the degree of which is almost unheard of in such a short time in our culture. No other religious demographic group that had been surveyed moved anywhere near as much as white evangelicals had. To this day, numerous polls have shown that white evangelicals have maintained, if not grown even more since 2016 in their belief that the character and morality of an elected official is of small importance (unless of course it’s a Democrat, in which case it is open game to decry how terrible of a person they are).
Maybe your experience has been different, but what I have not come across over the past eight years is any Christian, from high profile to commoner like most of us, give a reasoned, biblically-based explanation as to why they are now right in their belief that character and morality in elected officials is not nearly that important, especially when compared with the importance of “policy”, and why they were previously wrong in thinking that character was of significant importance, even to the point of believing that candidates for office should be disqualified if they exhibited bad character and/or immoral behavior. Not only have I not come across anyone who has attempted to give such an explanation, I don’t think I have ever come across anyone who even acknowledges that they changed their mind in these regards. I have not seen or heard anybody who now says, “We’re electing a president, not a pastor,” or, “It’s all about policy, not character,” that admits that before 2016 they never would have said or believed such things. And I also highly doubt that Al Mohler ever called Bill Clinton to apologize to him.
So here’s the rub….. the rest of the world sees this and they see the blatant hypocrisy. They see that so many Christians, most especially white evangelicals, changed their minds about the importance of character and morality in a political candidate, not because of some intellectual and spiritual wave that powerfully and compelling came across the faith, convincing Christians that they needed to change their minds for righteousness sake, but rather because politically partisan Christians needed an excuse to support Donald Trump.
We often like to say that God is number one and the Gospel is the most important thing in the universe. Yet, when the world observes such zealous, unapologetic, large-scale hypocritical behavior, what do we possibly think that does to our witness for Christ?
We have given in to trusting in chariots and horses, and pretty corrupt ones at that, all the while giving lip service that we’re trusting in the Lord our God….. and the world is not fooled.
“And the Lord said: ‘Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,” – Isaiah 29:13
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:17