Friday, August 24, 2012
Politics and Christian Speech
So I really am not interested in getting into politics with this blog. But there is something going on that I do think worth mentioning. You have probably heard all the flap going on about Congressman Akin from
and his ridiculous comments regarding rape.
I mean, as serious a matter as that is, I would think a public speaker
would choose words extremely carefully.
Anyway, since it has happened, there has been lots of backpedaling,
redefining, etc, etc, etc.
It reminds me of so many things. Like President Clinton who “did not have sexual relations with that woman,” or the first President Bush and his “read my lips, no new taxes,” or presidential candidate Obama and his statement that if he doesn’t get the economy fixed in 4 years, he doesn’t DESERVE a second term in office…..until, of course, the time for reelection comes around. The most striking commentary on all of these kinds of things came from an interview I saw with Nancy Pelosi, who when questioned about something President Obama or somebody had promised, replied, “oh well, people say LOTS of things when they are running for office.” Probably the best description of politicians I have ever heard from a politician.
It isn’t just politicians, but we see it among them a lot. And how do they I handle these things? “Well, I misspoke.“ “The words were chosen poorly.” “That was said without full information.” Lots and lots and lots of sidestepping and fancy footwork, but rarely a statement of, “I was wrong. It was a stupid thing to say. I guess I just was ignorant of the realities, and need to learn. I so regret the hurt I have caused, and realize that because of my actions, I need to step aside.” Even when one of them says they take responsibility, they don’t really.
I wonder how people would have reacted if Congressman Akin had said that he understands now how wrong his statement was, and has signed up to attend some seminars in sensitivity training, instead of running for Congress. In fact, I have often wondered what would have happened if President Nixon had, at the very beginning of Watergate, come out and told the people that there has been some illegal activity among his reelection crew, and he had done nothing to stop it, and would resign if that was the will of the Congress. And then followed that with the list of individuals who had committed the crime, and full disclosure of his own involvement. The American people can be pretty forgiving of honest people. But even if they didn’t, the process wouldn’t have taken the years that it did, with the subsequent toll on the nation. The same, of course, is true of most of the other scandals around….like the GSA leaders who have not chosen to step up to the plate and take responsibility, or, (could you imagine?) PAID BACK all the money they stole from the taxpayers. The CEO of Enron could have done the same.
Remember how often the scripture teaches the importance and the healing value of confession? Or that Jesus told us to simply be straight in our talking, say yes, say no, don’t pussyfoot around about it. Or the many times we are taught to speak the truth, in love.
In a day and age of rephrasing, dodging issues and responsibility, and words that get spun and respun, we Christians need to be careful that our speech is different. We should be the ones setting an example in our own speech and responsibility. If we did, maybe we’d see the day our politicians said what they meant, and meant what they said. Okay, that may be stretching it a bit. But at least people would know that WE DID!
TL:dr Unlike political speak today, as Christians, we need to make sure our speech is true and we are trustworthy.