Thursday, September 6, 2007

“The Death of Outrage”

Nine years ago, Bill Bennett published a book entitled “The Death of Outrage.” It largely dealt with the attitude of a nation so blasé it refused to acknowledge intolerance for a chief executive who lied to cover his peccadilloes in the white house. Even after being impeached by the House of Representatives and losing his law license as a result of his crimes, tens of millions of American voters chose to overlook the facts and excused him saying, “It was just sex.”

The cry went up that “everybody does it.” Given the record of our Congress, on both sides of the aisle, it may be a valid defense. If you are looking for righteous behavior, Capitol Hill is a poor place to start. Crimes ranging from manslaughter (Kennedy, D Mass.) to soliciting sex in a men’s room (Craig, R Idaho), demand a comprehensive use of our criminal codes to identify the miscreants just in Congress. To identify each person in Congress who has violated our country’s laws in one paragraph each would require an article equivalent to everything that has been written in this blog since its inception times ten.

To further identify local officials who have ignored the laws of man and God at state, county and municipal levels would require a library full of books. Rarely are these criminals incarcerated or fined out of existence. Many continue to pursue their careers and gain re-election. Having lived in twenty different states over the last fifty five years as an adult voter I may have more acquaintance with some of these local yokel shenanigans than some. I am also certain that you, dear reader, could supply me with more horror stories which I have never previously heard.

So what? Everybody does it! That’s the point. Why do we tolerate it? In my lifetime both in and out of the church I have met many, many people with sufficient character to be trusted to make decisions for my life which I know would be fair. Where do these people hide out on Election Day? As a church, although many would wish it, we cannot operate in a vacuum. We in the Restored Church of Jesus Christ of all people should understand the result of persecution by officialdom. We have in our history, a slain prophet put down by a mob with the tacit approval of local government. Well, you say, that couldn’t possibly happen today. Baloney! It can and does happen here. During the last year, you could follow the career of the Durham, NC prosecutor who threatened the freedom of three fine young men at the university with loss of freedom for thirty years each over a bogus rape charge. He hoped to inflame racial elements in the community to secure his re-election. Well, you may say, that doesn’t concern the Saints.

Oh, but it does concern us. Where injustice prevails for some, it prevails for everyone. If you are not outraged by the thought of three innocent (the intervening state authorities declared their innocence) young men spending thirty years behind bars for the personal aggrandizement of a rouge prosecutor then I truly believe we are reading different versions of the Bible. We are remiss if we tolerate false witness at any level. Total honesty is required in all our affairs. That includes our church.

Today, we have the means and the technology to keep meticulous records of what has been said and written on every subject imaginable. I personally applaud this development. The sanitizing effect of sunshine in our affairs allows us to make far better appraisal of men and their ideas. Openness also helps immeasurably to detect hidden agendas and personal ambitions on the part of those who would lead. If one submits thoughts on the internet it abides forever. As an example, a very lengthy thread (What’s in a Name) was deleted from a prominent discussion board. We copied, filed and printed the entirety of the thread in anticipation of just that action. You can burn books, you can silence priesthood, but can you locate every hard drive that took the same action we did? I hope that the days of decisions emanating from “smoke filled rooms” are nearing an end. I repeat from previous posts: “What in the world is going on in there that you don’t want us to hear?”

We must, for our survival as a church, demand integrity at its highest levels from those who would lead. One of our revered founding fathers—Samuel Adams—once said: “The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men.” We must examine the baggage they are carrying for hints of personal goals and things not of God. As a man, I would ask myself if I would embrace this man as a working partner in my business. As a woman, I might question whether he has those characteristics I would find desirable as a husband and father. In either case, talking a good game just doesn’t cut it. Living and working as a devoted servant of Jesus Christ beyond self are the criteria for service to the Lord at the highest levels.

Bill Bennett’s question is as valid now as it was nine years ago when he published “The Death of Outrage” Are we so inured to misbehavior that we numbly accept everything which is spoon fed to us? Does the well dressed, glib, and personable seeker of higher office have an intensely personal relationship with God or is he merely a well wrapped package? There is no need to have doubts about any of these men. Our loving God has invited— no—commanded us to accept His wisdom when we have doubts about anything. Pray to Him and beg for His counsel. You will know His answer. If you still don’t know, pray again and again until you do know.

I firmly believe that we are entering a time when accountability and repentance should be paramount in the hearts of all Saints. Repentance leads to forgiveness and redemption to further the work of the Kingdom. If every single person in our midst does not understand this, then God help us.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon


Patricia Ragan said...

We are oh, so carefully led down that path to hell. Here a little, there a little... Satan knows how to do it.

If we contrast sins of the 2000s with SINS of the 1950s we can see how far down this destructive path our nation has come.

The problem is that most of us no longer consider God's laws to be the measure or standard of our thoughts or behaviors.

I don't think it's going to get better. I fear that the turning point has been passed. Individually, we have to make decisions based on Biblical principles. We have to, like David, delight in the law of the Lord.

Shouldn't that be what we are hearing from the pulpit and teaching our children: the Love of God's Law. It seems like I what I've read lately is all about love and tolerance and reconciliation one to another.

Blecch!! There's too much sugar in that. It will kill us.

defoog said...

How very very sad!

The essence of God's law IS love and tolerance and reconciliation.
If you truly love God's law your love for people, your forbearance of their sins and shortcomings and your willingness to embrace those who persecute and abuse you will all be foremost in your life.

It sounds like you want to be pointed at and shouted down and debased from the pulpit. Is that your idea of the gospel?

I'll await the backwash of scripture rips talking about sin and repentance; as if that is in any way removed from what I have just said.