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A politician is also a role model. “If that is what our leaders do, then it must be OK.” If you cannot retain your integrity as a politician, then you better find some other way to serve. A crime by a politician is much more than just an indiscretion. As a role model, each leader, each person in a position of power must be moral and ethical. I cannot in good conscious, vote for a politician I do not feel is moral and ethical. Sometimes I justify that I must choose the lesser of two evils. Why is our society in such a state where I admit I voted for the lesser of two evils? Do we have to have an immoral person lead us, write our laws, and control our destiny?
When President Clinton lied under oath, he committed a crime in the eyes of the legal world, not because of the lie or the act he lied about, but because of the oath. In the eyes of God, the lie is a sin. In the eyes of God, the immoral act is a sin. When he lied to his followers, (who believed him) then he committed a crime against his followers. This compounded the sin of the lie as the lie compounded the sin of the act.
Betrayal of your friends seems to me to be much more serious. I believe he committed a separate sin for each person who believed him; for each person who was hurt. But he also hurt even those who did not believe him.
As President, he had a requirement to set an example to all people. I will not go into his affairs. We have all heard too much about them.
In the military, the higher ranking person is the guilty party. Period. The highest ranking person in our government is the President. But, how do you explain to a child how it is OK for him and not for me. But then, I think the elephant is green.
“Nixon also lied under oath.”
“So it is the lie that is bad, not the action?”
“The oath makes the lie an impeachable offense.”
“But Nixon lied to protect his people.”
“Nixon didn’t know about the break-in until after it was over.”
“Then he lied to cover it up.”
“Clinton’s lie was only to protect himself. He had no consideration for anyone else.”
“Because Nixon lied to protect others, does that make it OK?”
“There was an abuse of power. That was his crime.”
“At least he had the courage to resign.”
“The lie under oath is an impeachable offense, so Clinton should be impeached.”
“If he has any honor, he will resign.”
“I really don’t want an impeachment.”
“I don’t either, but he should pay the penalty for the crime.”
“If he doesn’t then that sets a horrible precedent.”
He who rules by moral force is like the pole-star, which remains in its place while all the lesser stars do homage to it.
A fifth grade class saw in an educational publication a picture of President Clinton’s family that was taken right after the House passed two articles of impeachment. The teacher had to explain the impeachment process and what was yet to come. The Clintons were all smiling. The children could not understand how they could appear so happy at such a time.
Here are some of the children’s comments:
“The president should be punished the same as anyone else.”
“Why should he get away with this.”
“ He is the same as everybody else.”
“He should be expected to be better.”
“If someone else did perjury, they would go to jail.”
“What he did with Monica is wrong.”
“He is guilty of sexual harassment.”
“Hillary should slap his face!”
These children attended a small Christian school. Their comments may be reflections of comments of their parents at home. At this age, children are very conscious of right or wrong. They place a high value on fairness and fair consequences. They have problems with the ‘gray area’. It is hard for these children to separate moral sins from legal crimes. Wrong is wrong! Is there a gray area between right and wrong. Your ability to rationalize is determined by your mental development and your mental ability. Young children and mentally handicapped people see everything as either right or wrong. They have a great advantage over the rest of us. The children see the moral issue first. The moral issue of the actions of the President and the moral issue of the lie are obvious. The legal issue of the lie under oath is harder to grasp. What is wrong with the rest of us that we need to take the thoughts and comments of children as our guide for proper behavior?
I am offended by those who say that any man would do the same. I would like to think that I would not. I know I am not alone in this.
Years earlier, President Carter admitted that he had sinned in his mind. It is the sign of a good man when he is concerned about mental sins. Regardless of how good he was as a president, he was a good man. I have not lived up to these standards of mental sins, and I know that most people have been tempted. Your sin is not in the thoughts that cross your mind, but in your actions. Your sin is in the acceptance of this weakness as a way of life. Your sin is refusing to admit this weakness.
Of every action ask yourself, “what does this mean to me? Shall I repent it?” A little time and I am dead, and all is gone. What more do I seek, if what I am now doing is the work of an intelligent and social being, and one who is under the same law with God?
1. The elephant is like a banana leaf
2. WPC men’s prayer breakfast early December 1998 (edited)
3. Confucius - Analects 2:1
4. Marcus Aurelius 8:2
copyright© 2007 George L Snyder