Forfeiting Our Souls

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” Those words of Jesus are in the forefront of my mind today as I survey what is happening in the presidential race.

Bill and Hillary Clinton had their eyes on the presidency ever since they were a young couple in Arkansas—probably even before that. Everything they have done has had one goal: gaining worldly power, even to the point of using their “fame” and high office to enrich themselves while offering favors to individuals and nations that have paid for those favors.

Hillary’s private e-mail server served one primary purpose: to hide what they were doing.

james-comeyBack in July, I was, along with millions of Americans, astonished that FBI Director James Comey could provide a laundry list of all the things Hillary had done that were obviously illegal and then follow that up with the conclusion that there would be no prosecution.

Political chicanery was evident, what with the “secret,” yet not-so-secret meeting Bill Clinton had with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in an airplane while both were in Arizona. Lynch, of course, is Comey’s boss.

Clinton Testifies Before House Hearing On State Dep't BudgetNow, as the FBI continued its investigation into the reprehensible Anthony Weiner, separated spouse of Huma Abedin, Hillary’s right-hand gal, we are told the investigation into Hillary’s e-mails has been reopened. Apparently, Weiner’s computer contains roughly 650,000 e-mails, some of which appear to have some connection with Hillary’s server.

Coming just a week before the election, this comes across as a bombshell exploding within the Clinton campaign and possibly affecting the outcome of an election that she thought she had wrapped up.

Naturally, Democrats are apoplectic over this development, accusing Comey, whom they have previously lauded, of playing politics. Strange, but isn’t that the same accusation Republicans have leveled at him since July? So which is it? Is he political or is he simply doing his job?

look-crooked

If this scenario makes Hillary look crooked, it might be because she is. And she’s not alone. We now know that Loretta Lynch tried to stop Comey from sending his letter to Congress informing them of the reopened investigation.

As Forrest Gump might say, “Crooked is as crooked does.”

Nothing about the content of these e-mails will be revealed before the election. Hillary supporters will dismiss the whole episode as irrelevant. In one sense I agree: this doesn’t add to Hillary’s corruption; she was already blatantly corrupt.

Trump supporters, meanwhile, are rejoicing, believing that this now opens the door to victory. They might be right. Polls seem to be tightening. Now, all of a sudden, after declaring that the election is rigged and all the polls are wrong, Trump and his minions are touting how accurate they are.

Nothing that comes out about Hillary’s corruption changes the way I view Donald Trump. This news doesn’t change who he is by one iota. Any honest survey of his personal history shows he has been just as crooked as Hillary to get his way in business. He has pulled the wool over the eyes of many people with his numerous failed ventures, chief of which, to me, was his fake “university.” That’s still coming to a courthouse near to all of us.

Nothing that comes out about Hillary’s corruption changes Trump’s over-the-top personal immorality and his arrogance. As I’ve said countless times, and will repeat again here, we have two unbelievably corrupt individuals seeking the power of the presidency.

There are those who are blinded to that fact. Here’s an interesting meme I thought I would share today:

how-i-see

The picture at the right of both rows is where I am. We are told we have to choose between two evil people and that we must go for the “lesser of two evils.”

I won’t do that because I don’t think the word “lesser” applies to this situation.

The result of this latest revelation may very well be a Hillary victory tainted by the prospect of an indictment:

stronger-together

That would be a low point for the republic.

It would be equally a low point to put into office a man whose moral core is no different than Hillary’s. Both are simply out for themselves.

The Republican party has chosen to hitch its star to the Trump hot-air balloon. To that I say, “What does it profit a political party to gain the whole nation and forfeit its own soul?”

And to Christians who have made that same choice, I simply ask, “What does it profit the Christian witness to gain a place at the political table and forfeit our own souls?”

Forfeiting our souls is never what God wants.

The Unholy Political Trinity

Sometimes, the media can’t ignore news they would rather not trumpet, particularly in the case of bad behavior by Democrat politicians. They’ve been hit with a double whammy lately, although, as I will explain further on, to me it’s a triple whammy.

Anthony WeinerIt all began with Anthony Weiner, who has to be one of the most clueless men on the planet. After being disgraced in 2011 for his mania for exposing himself via cellphone pictures and explicit sexting, he’s at it again. His earlier foray into public depravity led to his resignation from Congress. Yet now he’s back repeating that identical behavior even while running for mayor of New York City.

The idea that he should even run for mayor after his previous actions is ludicrous in itself. What is it that makes him think he is so indispensable as a “public servant”? Well, when you love yourself more than anything or anyone else, it’s not hard to be deluded.

I Love Me

Even more astounding is that prior to the latest revelations, he was actually leading in the polls. That could only happen in a place as jaded as New York City perhaps. But Weiner appears to be too far gone even for a post-Christian culture such as NYC; he’s now last in the polls. That offers some measure of encouragement, however slight. Voters with integrity would have realized from the start he should be finished as a politician.

Weiner Text

 One shudders to think what could have happened in the 1990s:

This Technology

Bob Filner The second member of the current unholy trinity is San Diego mayor Bob Filner, a former Democrat congressman. “Filthy Filner,” as he is now dubbed by his critics, is facing accusations from ten women for inappropriate touching and fondling. Calls for his resignation have gone unheeded. Incidentally, few of those calls have come from Democrat party leadership. They’ve remained rather silent. And what about President Obama? Why has he said nothing? He hasn’t been reluctant to insert himself into other events disconnected from the presidency. Now that there is a sex scandal in his own party, he has nothing to say?

Have to Handle

What has Filner’s response been? Why, he’s doing what all the celebrities now do: he’s checked himself into a rehab center for sexual addiction. You see, it’s not really his fault; it’s out of his control; it’s a disease of some kind. His lawyer is even demanding that the taxpayers pick up the tab for his rehabilitation stint. Why? It’s the city’s fault for not providing Filner with proper sexual harassment training. You see, if he had had that training, he wouldn’t have done all these terrible things. Therefore, the city is to blame. Filner is the poster boy for how warped our concept of personal accountability has become.

Meanwhile, anyone remember how the Democrats were always talking about the Republicans’ War on Women?

 War on Women

Let’s be honest. The whole War on Women theme was a political ploy based solely on Republicans’ desire to limit abortion. Abortion, of course, is the ultimate war on women, as more than half of the lives taken by this barbaric practice are women.

Eliot SpitzerThe third Democrat politician in this triumverate is former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, who had to resign that position back in 2008 over his involvement with prostitutes. If not for Weiner and Filner, he might be drawing more attention. Spitzer also is trying to make a political comeback, running for comptroller of New York City. Are there really no other options for New Yorkers? Are the only ones available disgraced politicians trying to insert themselves back into power?

Even before Spitzer’s sexual escapades derailed him, I was wary of him. He was a determined foe of pro-lifers, even to the point of using racketeering laws against them. His downfall was richly deserved, and he hardly deserves a reprieve this time around.

The common factor in all three stories is the apparently insatiable desire to hold public office. These are men who are addicted to political power and don’t know what to do with themselves if they aren’t living off the taxpayers. They are part of a growing class that produces nothing of significance for the society, yet believes they are indispensable for the well-being of our citizens.

They are wrong. None of them should be in a position of political influence. Character does matter in politics, and it’s well past the time that voters should come to grips with that reality.

Delusional

Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the new chair of the Democratic National Committee, has been making news with her mouth. Every time she opens it, she seems to spark controversy, even hilarity. She’s said the Ryan plan to save Medicare would be a “death trap” for seniors; she’s concluded that Republicans who want to defund Planned Parenthood are anti-woman; and she’s accused Republicans of wanting to bring back Jim Crow laws because they are racists.

Her latest contribution to political discourse is one part honest, one part delusional. She commented that Democrats have turned the economy around [that’s the delusional part] and that they now own the economy. That last statement is absolutely true. Nice to see someone no longer blaming Bush nearly three years into the Obama reign. Republicans actually don’t mind if she remains in her high-profile position—she’s an advertisement for why more Republicans are needed in Congress and why this president needs to be replaced.

The delusion that this economy has “turned around” is widespread in the administration, and the problem starts at the top:

Why no real recovery? Well, it can’t be the Obama policies. Must be some kind of conspiracy. Cue the Anthony Weiner excuse:

The nation, meanwhile, looks to the future:

Maybe this time the change we get will also revive hope.

Reflections on American Morality

The whole Anthony Weiner incident has left me deeply disturbed about the tenor of our society. That’s nothing new, of course, since I believe man in sinful and plays out that sinfulness continually. Yet this particular episode I find particularly perturbing. Let me see if I can explain why.

Weiner himself is what I always expected him to be; I’m less concerned about him personally than I am about other aspects of this. The media, both liberal and conservative, seem to be painting the women involved as victims of a sexual predator. There’s no disputing Weiner is a sexual predator, but if these women were victims, they were more than willing to be victimized.

One of them, Megan Broussard, has conducted interviews over the past two days, one on ABC, the other on Sean Hannity’s Fox program. I watched the latter. First of all, I was not impressed with her grasp of basic morality. She thought it would be “fun,” I guess, to banter sexually with a married congressman. Only when she feared her tweets would become public, or the pictures she sent him would be displayed on the Internet did she decide to preempt that exposure by speaking up. Even now, she doesn’t seem to have any real concept of having done anything inappropriate—at least on her part. And when asked if Weiner should remain a congressman, she had no opinion, saying that it was up to the voters in his district.

She is a microcosm of the state of morality in America at this time, I fear. She obviously doesn’t represent the morality of all, but I do wonder if she is representative of the majority: morally clueless.

Even now, only a slim plurality of Weiner’s constituents think he should step down. He may be able to ride this out. His arrogance is that great.

I think back on the Clinton impeachment. Even though it was evident that he had abused the trust given him by the electorate, and that he had committed perjury, public opinion polls indicated that about 2/3 of the country didn’t want him removed from office. I recall being dispirited over that at the time.

Just who are we as a people?

I want to believe better about us, but I don’t know if I can. After all, we put Barack Obama into the highest office in the land.

There is no golden age in our history where everyone was Christian and all was well, but there certainly was a time when we, as a society, had a keener understanding of eternal right and wrong, and when we veered off course, we at least felt guilty.

Does genuine guilt exist as a force in America anymore? Only by comprehending guilt will we ever seek forgiveness and reconciliation with God. I hold the firm conviction that nothing less than an explicitly Christian moral standard, and a firm belief in the transforming power of a Spirit-filled existence, will suffice to hold our society together. Without that basis, we will spin out of control.

I’m reminded of a quote from Christian statesman Robert Winthrop, who, in a speech to the Massachusetts Bible Society in 1849, pointed out a significant truth:

All societies of men must be governed in some way or other. The less they may have of stringent State Government, the more they have of individual self-government. The less they rely on public law or physical force, the more they rely on private moral restraint. Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the Word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or the bayonet.

Here’s the rub: do we still have enough people who live by individual self-government to make the difference, or are we in the process of losing all moral restraint? The reason I write and teach is that I believe there is still hope. I hope I’m right.

Weiner vs. Genuine Repentance

You knew it had to happen, right? When someone like Congressman Anthony Weiner dominates the news cycle, I can’t ignore him completely. I don’t intend to enter into the realm of double-entendres or get involved with the details of what he has done. You already are aware of the details—unless you’ve been on a deserted island for the past week. His so-called confession on Monday was anything but a real confession, and that’s where I would like to focus.

I stayed silent about the Weiner story on purpose because I wanted more facts to come out first, and I figured they would. I never for a moment believed his fantastic tale of being “hacked.” Why not? I’ve watched Weiner for years; his character was obvious from the first time I listened to him. Lying about policy was his staple already; if he had to lie to cover up his indiscrections, I had no doubt he would. I mean, get serious. Who really believed him?

Yes, he had his staunch defenders in the Leftist blogger world, aided by like-minded compatriots at MSNBC and other media outlets. A great cry went up that it was a vast right-wing conspiracy. Now where did we hear that before?

Finally, though, when confronted with more incriminating photos, one of which apparently was so pornographic that Andrew Breitbart, who now possesses it, has declined to release it publicly to spare Weiner’s marriage, the congressman realized the jig was up, and he had to put on a contrite face.

Supposedly, he takes “full responsibility” for his actions, yet refuses to resign. In other words, he doesn’t want any real consequences for what he has done. He’s hoping that a “confession” will be enough, and that he can continue taking taxpayer money as a representative of the people. After all, he’s got the Bill Clinton model he can follow. For the record, what Clinton did was worse than Weiner’s actions, but he was allowed to remain as president when he should have been kicked out on the street.

What Weiner did in his press conference was put on a show of humility without anything substantive to indicate it was genuine. I’m reminded of the Scripture where the apostle Paul has to discipline someone in the church at Corinth. He had written to the church a stern message, and it created the proper reaction:

For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. … I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God. … For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. [see 2 Corinthians 7]

Paul clearly explains that there are two types of sorrow: one that doesn’t produce the fruit of repentance; another that provides evidence of a genuine realization of sin and leads to a changed life.

Has Anthony Weiner truly changed? Not if he seeks to keep his perks as a congressman when he has disgraced himself publicly. His moral character disqualifies him from holding any public office. If he were truly repentant, he would step down.

He may have to do so anyway, simply from the external pressures. Yet I wouldn’t be surprised if he weathers this storm; after all, Bill Clinton did even though some of his own people said he had to resign.

Shame is a lost trait in our society.

Republicans have disgraced themselves at times, too. Most of them had to leave office rather quickly. The Republican party at least holds to a moral standard publicly, which, if it is violated, points to hypocrisy. But at least it has a standard. There’s a political cartoon from a couple of years ago that I recycle now and then—it speaks so eloquently to our moral situation today. It’s time to use it again:

Anthony Weiner is a fine representative in one way: he represents the moral standards of his party quite well.