Topic category: Other/General
This weekend Ken Burton, one of the pastors in the church where I serve, prayed for "righteous men" to serve our nation. I thought of a very unrighteous man, Republican Mark Foley, the Representative from my Florida Congressional District. Someone asked me how I felt about the fact that, with Foley's resignation, a Democrat would probably get his seat in the upcoming elections. My answer? I would rather have a righteous Democrat in the seat than a homosexual Republican.
Righteousness is not a prerogative of any party. Throughout our nation's history there have been people of high moral character and people with no concept of character in every political party. In recent decades Democrats have openly courted homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and "trans-gender individuals," calling theirs the "Party of Inclusion." So the Republican Party has been able to claim moral high ground in this area.
But this has been a false claim. Although Republicans don't send out engraved invitations to card-carrying deviates as the Democrats do, Republican leaders have supported known homosexuals for public office. President Bush himself has appointed homosexuals to high offices.
And the problem is not limited to politicians with sexual identity problems. (That's a good phrase; much easier than listing the various perversions that political correctness demands we embrace.) Both parties have more than their share of old-fashioned regular sexual misconduct to try to hide. John F. Kennedy, with his numerous mistresses in the White House, and Bill Clinton, with his many affairs both as Governor and President, are the best known.
Here again, the problem crosses party lines. Both Democrat and Republican "leaders" have supported and protected immoral politicians if they were considered electable. If the "strategists" determine that a scandal has made it impossible for the politician to be elected or re-elected, they throw him under the bus, as the Republicans have done with Foley.
Granted, there is a large degree of hypocrisy evident in the Foley situation. Democrats are calling for a Congressional investigation of Foley's alleged email harassment of a male page. Who would the Dems want to chair in inquisition? How about Democrat Representative Barney Frank, who had sex with a page, but was allowed to keep his seat?
But the fact that Democrats have traditionally gotten away with behavior for which Republicans are crucified doesn't make the bad behavior any less bad. In fact, I am glad that Republicans are held to a higher standard. It tends to make them think twice before straying. This in turn makes the Republican Party somewhat "cleaner" that its counterpart.
But do we want to choose between politicians who are dirty and ones who are somewhat clean. Must our choices come down to the lesser of two evils? Americans deserve better.
Ever since JFK's widely publicized sexual escapades, the press has adopted a "hands-off" policy toward most immoral behavior. The attitude seems to be, "What difference does it make if an elected official is a pervert or sleeps around, as long as they are good politicians?"
I would frame the question differently: "Is it possible for an immoral person to be a good politician?" If our understanding of a good politician is that the person is a good leader, the answer is a resounding "NO!" If we feel that "getting the job done" regardless of how that happens, defines a good politician, then the answer is "Yes."
Do we want another generation of our children to learn about oral sex from the President of the United States (and hear him lie that "It's not really sex.")? Do we want them to see us re-electing politicians who abuse interns and pages, who lie under oath, who abuse their offices? Remember, every time we elect or re-elect an immoral man or woman, we are condoning their behavior to our children.
Do you doubt this happens? This is a quote from a 1998 article in The Advocate, a homosexual advocacy magazine: "Rep. Gerry Studds, a Massachusetts Democrat, used an early-'80s scandal in which he admitted having sex with a 17-year-old male House page to publicly identify himself as a gay man. Voters rewarded his honesty with six subsequent re-elections." Rewarded his honesty? These liberal voters rewarded his perversion.
In fairness, I should mention that during that same period a Republican, Dan Crane of Illinois, was found to have had sex with a 17-year-old female page. He didn't fare so well with his Republican constituency, which voted him out of office in his next election. Crane tearfully apologized for his transgression, but homosexual Studds insisted that he had done nothing wrong, amd that the 17-year-old boy was a "consenting adult" in their relationship. Newt Gingrich insisted that both be expelled from Congress, but the House voted to simply repremand them.
I am currently writing an article about church leadership for a national publication. You may say, "What does church leadership have to do with political leadership?" If that is your attitude, I feel sorry for you. There was a time in this nation when public office was considered a position of trust, and elected officials were held to the same standards of morality as church leaders. Sadly, those days are gone. But I have hope that Americans, faced with blatant immorality such as Mark Foley's, may get disgusted enough to start requiring more of their leaders.
The requirements for church leaders are found in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. These eleven verses should be required reading for anyone who has the responsibility of choosing a church leader or voting for a public official. Go ahead and read them. It won't hurt you. You will be surprised to find that most of the requirements are not "religious." They are most practical.
Here's a preview: A leader should be sensible, respectable, prudent, righteous, gentle and self-controlled. There, that wasn't so bad, was it? A leader should NOT be a womanizer, addicted to wine, greedy, quick-tempered or self-willed. Wow! That would eliminate a lot of our politicians, wouldn't it?
We have lost so much as a nation. In just my lifetime I have observed a tremendous decline in the quality of our "leaders." I can only imagine what our Founding Fathers would say if they saw some of reprehensible people we have allowed into our nation's houses of power. They might very well repent of the part they played in founding a nation that has sunk so far below their hopes and dreams.
I feel like a voice crying in the wilderness. I hear many of you saying, "It's too late." "You can't change history." "The immoral people control the government, and they control who will be nominated."
But it is not too late. There are good, moral, righteous people in our government at all levels. We need to encourage and support these people. And we need to root out the ones who are dragging our nation down.
If enough of us say "Enough!", our nation can change. Regardless of common wisdom, change doesn't start at the top. It starts with us! We have allowed unrighteous people to gain positions of power. We need to repent of that, and ask God to put righteous leaders in their places.
We need to stop looking at what a politician can do for our little part of the country, and ask the right questions to determine whether he or she is a righteous leader.
One more thing. If we truly care about righteousness, we are going to have to care less about party affiliation. I would much rather vote for a Democrat who meets the qualifications for leaders quoted above, than a Republican who does not. While the Democrat party stands for things I find abhorrent (homosexual marriage, abortion, and illegal, burdensome taxes which crush families), I believe that there are righteous men and women in that party.
The bottom line is that if you are righteous, you should only vote for righteous people. If you can't find righteous people to vote for, get involved in the process and help choose such people for your party to nominate. Or run for office yourself.
Dr. Tom Barrett
Conservative Truth (Publisher, Editor)
Biography - Dr. Tom Barrett
Dr. Tom Barrett has been an ordained minister for 30 years. He has written for local and national publications for most of his life, and has authored several non-fiction books. He has been interviewed on many TV and radio programs, and speaks at seminars nationwide. Tom is the editor and publisher of Conservative Truth, an email newsletter read by over fifty thousand weekly which focuses on moral and political issues from a Biblical viewpoint.
Tom is Publisher and Editor of ConservativeTruth.org.