It seems that in the last twenty-five years political corruption has flourished as though it was being fertilized, and the last one-fifth of that period has probably produced as many cases as the first four-fifths combined.
I have lived in my city for twenty years and in that period we have seen the county sheriff, the chief of police and the city investigator go to prison for criminal acts of corruption. There have been others caught with their “hands in the till.” Others in high city and county positions have been tried and acquitted for lack of evidence. In some of those cases guilt was certain, only proof was hard to come by.
This, of course, is not limited to our city. Congressmen, governors, state senators, etc., etc., and what have you, exhibit this type of behavior until we are absolutely unable, in our hearts, to actually trust any man who long holds place in the political arena. Within the last four months we have seen both the President and the Vice President resign because of criminal charges being held over their heads. Last month our city clerk was found floating face down in an area lake. It was soon revealed that she was implicated in some “missing fund problems,” and was the next day to have been questioned in some sort of an investigation. Her death was ruled suicide, but the people of our city can’t help but wonder if, just maybe, she was “done in” to center all the blame on one who could well have implicated others. We can’t know, but we can’t help wondering.
In the case of Richard Nixon, we can’t help but wonder how much arm twisting was done in how many areas. I do not defend Richard Nixon in my mind, but the men who accused and convicted him are of equally questionable character.
Who can help but wonder how many impeachment votes were bought with promises of future favor, and how many were acquired by holding the threat of exposure for past illegal acts over the congressmen’s heads? I wish I could, but at this point, I can’t help but doubt that ten percent of the people in politics are honest enough to carry out any action of any kind without an ulterior motive. Whether you agree with me in all this or not, you will agree that political corruption is literally everywhere and the question echoes from every mouth, Why? Why? Why?
Some are saying the answer is infinitely complex. I answer NO! it is ridiculously simple. The reason for political corruption is moral corruption.
READ YOUR BIBLE FOR THE ANSWER
Proverbs 8:12-17 speaks thus: “I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the forward mouth, do I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”
This passage clearly indicates that if kings are to reign justly and princes decree justice, it must be by the leadership of God (verse 15). Verse 14 states that counsel and sound wisdom must come from God. This virtue of union with God, is missing in our politicians today. When men consider qualifications of a candidate today, this characteristic of a vital union with God is not what they seek; they look for secular education, human experience and political pull. It is, therefore, inevitable that they will elect thugs and not statesmen. Not only so, but men of moral stature and godly character are shunning the responsibility of government. They will not shoulder the adversity of taking a vocal stand for right, when their friends stand for wrong, or for nothing. They will not hurt, or embarrass, or convict a personal friend for the sake of a godly principle. This is terribly, terribly wrong. We forsake the responsibility of speaking outin behalf of good principles, of always trying to acquaint ourselves with candidates and issues, and always voting accordingly. Godly men neglect to seek office for the sake of promoting right principles. This ought not to be.
IMMORALITY IS WINKED AT
In Exodus 18:21, we have a statement of proper standard for men who are to be rulers or leaders. “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them.” This is God’s principle, but we have abandoned it. The fact is that America has hated and scoffed at such a principle.
George Washington was astonished and disappointed at the report that within his army profanity was being used, but today the ranks of our military officers are filled with men whose mouths fester with obscenities and profanities. Not only so, but we knowingly elect to all kinds of public offices just such shallow-hearted, filthy-mouthed, filthy-minded rats as this, and apparently expect them to turn “honest, upright, sacrificial crusaders for all the right causes, when they come within the sacred frame of the judge’s chamber, congressional seat, sheriff’s office, etc., etc.
Abraham Lincoln said that legalized liquor was a curse to any society. We, nevertheless, elect to office men who are known social drinkers and re-elect them when they have become known “alcoholics.” Nobody wants a drunk for a chauffeur, but apparently he is okay for a senator.
A married man can swim out of a sunken car in the wee hours of the morning, leaving an attractive secretary drownedor drowning, under very questionable, political circumstances, and people don’t care enough for the moral questions implied to prevent such a senator from being a most popular selection for presidential nominee; and we wonder why we have political corruption everywhere? Baloney!
I am reminded of a man who goes to the sale barn and buys a mangy billy goat for three dollars. He then expects that three dollar goat to wear a saddle like a palomino, run like a quarter horse, and pace like a Tennessee walking horse. Friend, he is just a goat and you can’t expect him to be anything else.
The same is true with politicians. If you elect a filthy-mouthed, wife-cheating, cocktail-sipping, bribe-taking, lie-telling, politicking charlatan to office, you are indulging in fantasy to expect him to be a statesman or a patriot once the elective title is draped across his worthless carcass. All you can possibly have is the same depraved, moral character, but now he is an authority. He can broadcast his moral dung all over you, your children and your grandchildren. He will overnight become a victim of his own devices and could not turn to honesty and uprightness ifhe wanted to, but don’t worry much about that problem, he won’t want to. I’ve known of bums who boasted of getting drunk with the deputy sheriff. The deputy was elected to the sheriff’s office, and the bum went to jail. You could have changed their respective places and had the same results.
IS THERE AN ANSWER?
Yes, there is and it lies in two areas. First is the basis of legislation, the second is the basis of election. I seriously doubt that the American people will follow this pattern, but if they would, the problem could be solved in our generation.
THE BASIS FOR LEGISLATION
I’ve heard it said for years, “You can’t legislate morality.” I’ve never been quite sure what this meant. If it means that good laws passed, will not make men morally right, I certainly agree. The statement need not even be made, for results in men’s conduct should have no real bearing on what laws are made. If it means what I think most people intend to state, “That we have no right to pass laws according to moral standards of right and wrong,” I answer, “Hogwash.” We have no right to legislate according to any other standard whatsoever, unless God has died, or we have successfully wrestled control of this world out of His hands, and He has lost His right to dictate human conduct.
What a blessed land and society we would have, if we had legislators and judges and supreme court justices, who meditate always in God’s word and searched it for counsel, and made and enforced laws accordingly.
THE BASIS FOR ELECTION
The second area of remedy for the great problem of political corruption is the basis upon which we elect public officials. Usually, when this is considered, we hear men talk of an official’s qualifications. They are referring to education, experience, ability to speak effectively, etc., etc. It would lead one to think that we were a ‘last days generation,’ “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Timothy 3:7).
Special interest votes place many scroungy characters in office. If you vote for a candidate, simply because you thinkhe will push a raise for the employees of your profession, or some such thing, you ask for and deserve a crook in office.
The Bible most clearly states that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). It would seem then that sober and sincere people, who claim to believe the Bible, would look for a man whose running platform was the fear of God; who had a record of faithfully glorifying God by service in the local church, and whose moral character was above reproach. Such a man would be a wise man in legislation, administration and law enforcement. His wisdom would not lie in secular qualifications, but in a vital and constant union with God. Political corruption would bevirtually stamped out, and our land would be happy and prosperous under God, led by such men. Only moral integrity(the Bible kind) can restore and preserve political integrity.
“Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood:
That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:
That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets:
That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets.