It began with the President’s immorality, and then cumulated with abuse of his position of power, and criminal actions as president.
Finally, leaders from the Religious Right are speaking out; they are boldly condemning the President’s behavior, joining calls for impeachment, and are rebuking Christians who have turned a blind eye and rationalized the President’s behavior simply because he belongs to their own party.
In their own words:
“Much of America seems to have succumbed to the notion that what a person does in private has little bearing on his public actions or job performance, even if he is the president of the United States… But the God of the Bible says that what one does in private does matter.
The private acts of any person are never done in secret. God sees and judges all sin, and while He seeks to restore the offender with love and grace, He does not necessarily remove all the consequences of our sin. As a boy I remember my mother telling me of the consequences of sin. Like a boat, whose wake can capsize other boats, sin leaves a wake. Just look at how many have already been pulled under by the wake of the president’s sin…
[The president’s immorality] has forced us to examine the morality of public and private behavior with new intellectual and spiritual vigor. There needs to be no clash between personal conduct and public appearance…”
In a speech at the Christian Coalition:
“Our national trust has been deeply wounded. And while resignation might be easier for America, it’s not best for America…
[Resignation] is not all that bad. He gets to collect a pension for the rest of his life, and before he leaves office, he can pardon himself for all the crimes he committed. . . . I disagree with that simplistic point of view. Resignation is too good for a president who has mocked, demeaned, belittled and lied.”
Robertson went on to blast Republicans who were hesitant to impeach the president, saying they were hiding in their “foxholes of political safety.”
And while I’ve never been a fan of Focus on the Family, I think perhaps Dr. James Dobson says it best:
“Our most serious concern, however, is not with those in Washington; it is with the American people. What has alarmed me throughout this episode has been the willingness of my fellow citizens to rationalize the President’s behavior even after they suspected, and later knew, that he was lying. Because the economy is strong…
That disregard for morality is profoundly disturbing to me… But today, the rules by which behavior is governed appear to have been rewritten specifically for the president…
How did our beloved nation find itself in this sorry mess? I believe it began not with the current scandal* but many years earlier. There was plenty of evidence during the Presidential election that he had a moral problem… Why, then, did the American people ignore so many red flags? Because, and I want to give the greatest emphasis to this point, [many in the media] sought to convince the American people that ‘character doesn’t matter.’
The president is not the only politician in either party who lacks character, certainly, but he is the only one in American history, to my knowledge, who has been specifically applauded for his deceit… [when you look at the record the last few years] The American people have been subjected to a barrage of lies and half-truths…
As it turns out, character DOES matter. You can’t run a family, let alone a country, without it. How foolish to believe that a person who lacks honesty and moral integrity is qualified to lead a nation and the world!
Nevertheless, our people continue to say that the President is doing a good job even if they don’t respect him personally. Those two positions are fundamentally incompatible. In the Book of James the question is posed, “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring” (James 3:11 NIV). The answer is no.
I just don’t understand it. Why aren’t parents more concerned about what their children are hearing about the President’s behavior? Are moms and dads not embarrassed by what is occurring? At any given time, 40 percent of the nation’s children list the President of the United States as the person they most admire. What are they learning from him? What have we taught our boys about respecting women? What have our little girls learned about men? How can we estimate the impact of this scandal on future generations? How in the world can 7 out of 10 Americans continue to say that nothing matters except a robust economy?
I am left to conclude from these opinions that our greatest problem is not in the Oval Office. It is with the people of this land! We have lost our ability to discern the difference between right and wrong…
We are facing a profound moral crisis — not only because one man has disgraced us — but because our people no longer recognize the nature of evil. And when a nation reaches that state of depravity — judgment is a certainty.”
I never imagined I would find myself wholeheartedly agreeing with religious right leaders like Graham, Robertson, or Dobson– but in this case, I couldn’t agree more.
The most powerful lesson to be learned from these statements however, can’t be found among the statements themselves. The ultimate lesson is a testimony on the ability for political power and influence to erode Christian convictions– and even more, that once leaders have been seduced by idolatry, they quite easily can lead 80% of folks to follow along with them.
Because the most powerful lesson isn’t in the statements: the dates in which they were made.
The above statements, sadly, are not the Religious Right calling out the behavior of Donald J. Trump and the blindness of Trump Christians– they were statements about President Bill Clinton.
In the words of Jesus:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! How will you escape being condemned to hell?”
Originals from 1998: Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson, James Dobson
* In some places “Bill Clinton” has been replaced with “the president” and references to the Clinton scandal replaced with generic “current scandal” in order to prove a point.