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The Christian Thing To Do

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I am most certainly among those that find the evidence against Roy Moore extremely credible.   Nonetheless let us assume, for the moment, the Alabama senatorial candidate’s innocence regarding all the accusations that have been flying around for the last few days and ask ourselves what is the proper Christian response in this situation.

I’d like to take a shot at answering that question in two different ways.  The first way to answer that question is to ask the second and now almost trite question, “What would Jesus do?”  For once we do not have to make up an answer to WWJD for Jesus found himself buried in false allegations.  All Christians believe Jesus was the only truly innocent man in human history and yet he was tried, convicted, and executed for crimes.  Jesus did not protest His innocence.  Jesus rebuked those around Him that sought to resist His arrest.  He even healed one of those sent to arrest Him.  Jesus stood the consequences of deep injustice quietly.  No one is asking for Roy Moore’s execution – they are simply asking him to withdraw from the race.  The consequences he is being asked to stand for are far less consequential than those that Jesus stood for – a fact that simply amplifies the example of Christ.  By example, the Christian thing to do is for Roy Moore to withdraw.

The example of Christ illustrates the ethical importance of Roy Moore withdrawing from the race.  That ethical argument is the second way I want to answer the question of “What is the Christian thing to do?”

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Cult of Personality

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In the 1780 Constitution of Massachusetts, John Adams wrote (Part the First, section XXX):

In the government of this Commonwealth, the legislative department shall never exercise the executive and judicial powers, or either of them: The executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them: The judicial shall never exercise the legislative and executive powers, or either of them: to the end it may be a government of laws and not of men. [emphasis added]

That phrase, “a government of laws and not of men,” is one of those things that has become cliché through repetition, but is neither cliché nor trite.  It is deeply and importantly meaningful.  Yet I notice that as our culture grows more focused on self, our politics grows more personality based than idea or policy based.  The last presidential election cycle was consumed with personality, as is the continuing media coverage of the presidency.  “I like” or “I don’t like” has replaced “I agree with” or “I do not agree with” in most political discussions I encounter anymore.  (Hmmm, do I detect a Facebook contribution here?)

This trend is troubling – and it is reflected in far more than our politics.  I see it in our churches as well.  I have seen way too many churches built around a pastor die when that pastor moves on in some fashion.  For institutions to survive, whether they be churches or governments or something else, they have to be about more than the people involved at the moment.  There is little doubt in my mind that many of the radical changes that have happened in our culture in my lifetime are due to the fact that our institutions no longer stand as they once did.  They are now often fickle and transient things, driven by a personality rather than something greater than any one person, standing as a bulwark in support of some ideal.

Consider this odd BBC story about the current president of very dictatorial Turkmenistan.  Like North Korea, the nation is only as strong as its leader appears to be.  This necessity to maintain appearances can results in all sorts of issues.  Hence personality driven churches often die in scandal and dictatorships are found, after their death, to be built on tissues of lies.  Simple fact of the matter is mere humans are too frail and too unreliable to base an institution upon.  We need more.

This problem has plagued mankind throughout history.

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