Anyone who pays any attention at all to the news has at least some knowledge of Anthony Weiner and his penchant for sharing photos of a sexual nature or himself with women he has never met. Another news item which may not have been as widely reported was the claim that Global war on drugs ‘has failed’ say former leaders. As I look at these stories, the big question they raise to me has to do with morals, society and expectations.
In the case of Rep. Anthony Weiner, he is an elected official. By definition that means he is in a high profile leadership position. As I often say when speaking about leaders and accountability in the church, the higher someone is in leadership the more accountable they become. We live in glass houses and everyone around us has Windex. Granted, political leaders are not necessarily judged by the same criteria we would apply to pastors or elders. But standards for political leaders have gradually been changing over the last few decades. There seems to be a decided difference between expectations by leaders of the Democrat party and those of the Republican Party. When issues like this come up with Republican’s, the offender is forced to resign, usually with days. There is zero tolerance. Amongst Democrat leadership, it will most likely come to a slap on the wrist with a warning to not get caught again. That does not necessarily mean that Democrats as a group are less moral than Republicans but that the leadership of both groups in Congress have decidedly different tolerances for bad behavior. Why? Moral expectations have changed considerably over the last 4 decades. The Republican Party tends to have more conservative voters whose morals and values are rooted in the Judeo/Christian tradition. The Democrat Party tends to lean heavily liberal and whose morals and values are based on a Progressive or Socialist tradition. A good way to understand the difference is that conservatives view humans as flawed (sinners) and pass laws to protect society from individuals. Liberals on the other hand view man (humans) as basically good and pass laws to protect individuals from society. This difference explains why expectations of Democrat leadership are more accepting of questionable behavior. The offender is a victim. Sure, Perhaps Rep. Weiner should have had better judgment but if there had not been an Internet, he wouldn’t have acted this way. The pressures of the office are so great that this was just his way of relieving tension. You can fill in the blank on the excuse but I suspect in the end he will stay in office and this issue will pass in short order. Why? The lack of peer pressure with regard to moral behavior.
I think this is fundamentally the same problem with the seeming lack of effectiveness in the War on Drugs. The reasoning put forth in Global war on drugs ‘has failed’ say former leaders is questionable at best and shows a sort of double standard. The “War” is expensive, results in lots of people in prisons as lawbreakers and we still see drugs flowing into the nation. Well, trying to enforce laws against murder is expensive, results in lots of people in prisons as lawbreakers and we still see murders being committed regularly. So, should we stop the war on murder? Would that lessen the rate of people being killed? Or how about rape? If they wanted to argue that, like alcohol, adult individuals should be allowed to make recreational and/or relaxation choices. Whether we agree with this or not, at least it would make the claims fall into the category of Constitution authority and personal choice rather than economics and utilitarian reasoning. Alcohol, lewd behavior, even drugs are not new. Lot got drunk and had sex with his daughters. King David committed adultery and then had Bathsheba’s husband killed to cover up the pregnancy which resulted from the tryst. In Revelation 9:21, John writes that they would not give up their “sorceries.” The Greek word there is “pharmakia.” Drugs. Hmmm … Drug use was rampant in the first century as was lewd behavior and they, like other behaviors have existed down through the centuries but became socially unacceptable. The peer pressure had the influence of limiting certain behaviors. Those who still participated at least knew there would be a cost to be paid to the community.
I wouldn’t argue for or against legalizing drugs and although I think Rep. Weiner should resign, I do expect non-believers to act like non-believers. What saddens me is that too many Christians act like non-believers. The resolution is simple but unpopular. First, repentance. Repent (change our direction) of our sin and accept the salvation secured and offered by the death, burial and physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. Second, as we live a life committed to Him we gradually stop living for ourselves. As more and more live this way the cultural views change. Leaders should be fearful of public exposure of bad behavior. Politicians and pastors alike.