Oct 31st, 2010 | By | Category: Politics-General, Spotlight, Sunday Sermon

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19, NIV)

“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them — bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” (2 Peter 2:1-3, NIV)

“But select capable men from all the people — men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain — an appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens.” (Exodus 18:21, NIV)

“To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers— not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:1-3, NIV)

Overlord or Overseer?

This Tuesday, November 2, 2010, is an important political watershed for the United States of America. The election process continues to test the viability of our Republic and Constitution, as well as our resolve as a people to remain self-governed by representative government. Looking at the national stage (in the face of runaway fiscal malfeasance, a bloated government bureaucracy, and the rapidly ballooning national debt), I cannot help but ponder upon the insistence by many that there should be a separation of Church and State. That was never the intent of the founders of our nation. And I have observed that the absence of distinct moral teachings (i.e., the Church) and lack of adherence to the highest standards of personal and public interest in these United States tends to drive both prominent political parties to the worst possible tactics in order to gain and retain power.

The ends justifying the means is a morally bankrupt way of thinking. It is un-American, except where politics are concerned apparently. Why is that?

While watching a national television news program recently, I heard a political pundit from one party defending the practice of coaxing independent voters (through advertisements) to vote for a marginal third party candidate in order to divert votes from the oppositional contender. This pundit declared, “All is fair in war and politics; and besides it is not illegal.” If all was fair in war there would be no need for a Geneva Convention. If all was fair in politics, there would be no need to enforce violations of campaign reform laws. To win a campaign at all costs is to lose on two fronts: Moral and ethical. No wonder popular opinion polls consistently rank politicians near the bottom of the food chain.

Forget that it is morally wrong to engage in character assassination with attack advertisements and one can easily justify such a device because “the other side is doing it.” Damaging a political opponent by mincing words or parsing the truth (lying) concerning the record (or someone’s private life) seems political fair-game when no moral barometer (i.e., the Church) is present. In fact, without taking the moral high road, the amoral low road is the only alternative path.

And once office is gained by hook or crook, or clever campaign slogan or promise, what kind of leader will an amoral elected official become? The fruits of the amoral tree generally manifest themselves with scandals surrounding the elected official and those who organized for the candidate: voter fraud, illegal campaign contributions, and quid pro quo back-room deals with major contributors.

It is called corruption and it is morally wrong.

The standard-bearer of morality has always been the Church, not the Government. Granted the Church has failed in its duties many times, but the Government has fared much worse. The highest standards of morality require good judgment (common sense), prudence, patience, and forbearance toward others. That is a general requirement  to pastor most churches. Yet it is not in the criteria to hold public office. Why is that?

Morality distinguishes between the wielding of power over others for political and personal gain (being an overlord) and sharing power with others for the greater good and in the public interest (being an overseer). Morality (through the Church) establishes the Golden Rule, while Government rules the gold.

Government absent the Church leads to totalitarianism. Just ask the Chinese. Oh… that’s right…. you can’t ask them because it is forbidden to speak out against the government there. You can’t mention God either. It is forbidden by law and that is morally wrong. But since there is only one Church (per se) in China, citizens are free to think and speak as they please as long as it is approved by the Chinese government (AKA: the Chinese Church.)

Overlord or Overseer? You have some important choices to make America.

Make moral choices. Please choose wisely.

(copyright 2010, Gregory Allen Doyle)

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5 Comments to “Standard-bearer”

  1. Bob Walsh says:

    I fully agree with you on those items. I forget who it was that opined that the one absolutely necessary element for a democracy to function and flourish was moral behavior (virtue). I am not sure I agree 100%, but its got to be up there. I also have read that a democracy will crumble once one powerful group discovers that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasurey. If THAT is true, we are really in deep doodoo. Nearly half of the country pays zero income tax, they are net consumers of government services. There are now third and fourth generation welfare families in this country. There are children in elementary school who think that EVERYBODY lives by getting a payment from the government, they simply don’t know any better. I don’t think we are doomed (and I don’t think Obama is the anti-Christ, though I do think he is the wrong man for the job), but once our indebtedness reaches slightly more than 100% of the GDP that could be the tipping point. We are very nearly there now. These are indeed perilous times. We are looking at the first generation since forever who do not necessarily think they will have it better than their parents. That is scary. Also, not quite on topic.

  2. Gadfly says:

    I hope the point made in the article is not overlooked, Bob, The Rule of Law is tied as much to ethical applications as it is to high moral standards. Our founding fathers believed, as I do, that Natural Law was granted to mankind from God. It was, in their words in “self-evident.” And while the founders of our nation were human and fallible, the system of self-governance they created had at its heart a sense of accountability to a higher power.

    Perhaps you might agree that merely establishing a law does not necessarily insure that such a law is moral or ethical. Slavery in this country was neither. I would argue that while abortion on demand is legal today, it is not moral or ethical. The point of fact is that without a higher moral standard (accountability), societies devolve rather unceremoniously into heartlessness and mob rule.

    And that is what our political system presently emulates: Heartlessness in the manner in which campaigns are conducted by both parties; and mob rule, where popular opinion or special interests dictate policy-making decisions, regardless of whether or not it is in the best interest of the public or the nation.

    I am not of the mindset that demonizes President Obama as an anti-Christ. However, the President has yet to convince me that he is willing to do what is morally and ethically right as he wields the power of his office (and Party majorities in the Congress) like a relentless hammer upon the heads of his opponents.

  3. Bob Walsh says:

    I am, as usual, happy to bow to your superior level of scholarship. I do, however, stand by the last half of my comment.

  4. Gadfly says:

    Dear Bob,

    The Council of Nicaea (which convened in June of 325 AD) came two years after Emperor Constantine had ended 200 years of Roman persecution of the Christian Church. The rise of Gnosticism and particularly a more recent teaching introduced in debate by Arius of Alexandria (adulterating the deity of Jesus) caused Constantine to gather the leaders of the Christian Church from throughout the Empire. The convention gave rise to a scholarly repudiation of Arius’ teachings concluding in a profession of faith in the teachings of the original Apostles, known as the Nicene Creed.

    Contrary to popular belief, the First Council did not make any decisions as to the validity of some books over others, for the inclusion (or exclusion) of what is now accepted as the Bible. The bishops merely denounced Arius’ teachings and professed their faith in the traditional teachings handed down from the First Century Church.

    As a side note, Constantine was trying to put out a fire of sorts. He flip-flopped (as political leaders often do) concerning support of Arius and had no real influence over the issues of faith as debated during the First Council.

    In considering the difficulties faced by the early Church, especially with the hundreds of thousands of believers killed by the Roman Empire over a 200 year span, the greater obstacle for the Church was the rise of false teachings from within. The First Church, led by the Apostle Peter, as well as the Universal Church planted by the journeys of the Apostle Paul (as recorded by Luke in the Book of Acts) documented the internal struggles with false teachings from the Church’s earliest beginnings. Many point to the First Council of Nicaea as some great conspiracy to tamper with or subvert Scripture, but that ignores the sacrifices made by the many faithful who were burned at the stake, crucified, or mauled to death by wild animals for the sake of preserving the message and record of the gospels.

    That is the bloody record of Church history, which skeptics and detractors alike ignore without a moment’s thought. If not for those saints, there would be no gospel to debate.

    Thank you, as always for your comments.

  5. Bob Walsh says:

    One man’s heresy is another man’s dogma. The decisions as to what was acceptable and what wasnt was made not by God but by men, and probably not for very godly reasons, in the 4th century in Nicea if I remember my chuch history rightly. Constantine got a bunch of scholarly types together to pound out what they believed acceptable church doctrine was supposed to be, and what wasn’t. I find it impossible to believe the individual decisions were entierly altruistic. The terms “God”, “Religion” and “Church” have pretty much the same relation to each other as do “truth” and “history”, that being precious little much of the time. It is much the same in politics. For some Obama is the savior, for others he is the anti-Christ.