The last few months have been an awakening of sorts for me in a variety of ways. In early January, the primary election season in Texas began to kick into second gear. It was at this point I began to become awakened to how much, dare I say it, evil was in my midst. As a Christian, I knew I was to be a light to the world. What was new to me, however, was the realm in which I was entering into, to shine my light. I was venturing into the realm of politics. Fully aware of the adage “politics is dirty”, I knew there was truth to it. What I did not know was the source, depth, and acceptance of this “dirtiness”. I say “dirtiness” but that actually is not the right word. Dirt doesn’t sin. It isn’t incompetent, dishonest or corrupt in practice. Many of those in or seeking places of power are much worse. They are, in fact, engaged in evil.
Lest you think I am over exaggerating, allow me to explain. Evil is, by definition, that which is immoral or wicked. In other words, evil is that which is contrary to righteousness, justice or truth. Now evil can be manifested in a variety of forms and degrees. It can be diabolical, which leads to mass murder and such. We immediately conjure up images in our heads of Stalin, Hitler or even millions of aborted fetuses. This type of evil is usually obvious to spot or rather it should be. But there is a much more subtle form of evil, the kind that masks itself under the guise of good. This is the form employed far more frequently in my local political scene. The corruption, lawlessness, and depravity that are seemingly on every level to one degree or another are nothing short of well… evil. “This is politics”, you say, “of course there is corruption in politics.” Yes, but the most surprising and offensive part of this corruption is that it is coming from the very people who claim to be “unashamed of their Christian faith” or even “the conscience” of their party, and on and on, ad nauseam.
Here are just a few examples though plenty more could be listed.
– The County Clerk requiring filings that the law does not require. I’m not sure if it’s incompetence or otherwise, but it took under 30 minutes of research to discover the law. Upon bringing this to the clerk’s attention, she persisted in “adding to” the law by continuing to require more than the law states.
– Republican Party Chairman intimidating my wife and kids at the polling places because she was promoting his opponent. She was harshly warned of a supposed rule (not a violation of any law) that had been continuously broken by all the other candidates while she was complying with the rule 100%. It was a passive aggressive intimidation move, plain and simple.
– US Senatorial Candidate and current US Representative, Steve Stockman, using manipulative polling, deceitful surveys, fake newspapers, crony endorsements, and several possible ethics violations all in his quest for another office. This is documented here and here and here.
– A grassroots organization claiming to be the “conscience of the party” and the group standing up for “principles” decides to honor their endorsement of Rep. Stockman. They did so even after becoming aware of his shenanigans and sleazy political schemes. Apparently their “principles” include overlooking deception for a good old fashion back-scratching session. After all, the ends always justify the means, right?
I know this to be the “standard operating procedures” for political campaigning, but that does not make it right. Not only do these candidates reveal their hypocrisy, but they have actually disqualified themselves, Biblically, from the very offices they are seeking. The Bible gives specific instructions when electing men as civil magistrates. According to Exodus 18:21 it says you shall “look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of the thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.” Note these simple requirements carefully.
1. Able men (competence)
2. Godly men (righteous character)
3. Trustworthiness (honesty)
4. Men who hate a bribe (i.e. not for sale)
We could stop right here and have enough to condemn most of the candidates that are seeking political office. However, the Bible has much more to say about our civil rulers. When giving a clear explanation of the purpose for civil government and its rulers, Paul refers to civil rulers as “a minister of God to you for good.” Civil rulers (i.e. legislators, judges, etc) are ministers. There is an important principle here that we need to understand. We expect a certain quality of character in our ministers. We should expect the same in our civil rulers for they are also ministers of a different jurisdiction. We don’t though. We expect them to cheat, lie, steal, and everything else that is contrary to righteousness. What we ought to expect of them are the same qualifications that the Bible expects of ministers and deacons. We should expect them to be above reproach, temperate, prudent, respectable, dignified, not double-tongued or greedy and so forth. God has a certain standard for men that serve in this ministerial role of civil ruler, however small or large. Notice the qualifications are focused far more on character and worldview than on pedigree or privilege. We should do the same.
While I don’t expect any candidates to remove themselves from any races or even offices, there is one thing we can do. We can start raising the standards on the quality of men we are willing to put in positions of power. We can find those candidates that are qualified and offer them our support. We can dedicate our time, money, and energies to getting these men in office. We can and must have the courage to call out those that have disqualified themselves. We must be willing to call evil, “evil.” We must refuse to vote for the “lesser of two evils” just because they are our friends, in our party, or benefit us the most. We must stop sacrificing our principles on the altar of pragmatism.
This may lead some to the all too common conclusion that “Christians shouldn’t be involved in politics.” This is the wrong conclusion. What we must remember is that light is far more powerful than the darkness. Light overcomes darkness. What we need are more brave men willing to step down into darkness in order to expose it. We must be willing to get our hands dirty and keep our souls clean before God and men.