Jewish World Review Aug. 30, 1999/ 18 Elul, 5759
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- LET'S EXAMINE two recent utterances by Clinton/Gore loyalists in the wake of rumors about George W. Bush's cocaine use, and see if we can discern a common theme.
First, they have been suggesting that any person who has violated drug laws in his past, even distant past, lacks the moral authority to be the chief executive officer of the United States.
Second, they have been advising Bush not to answer the question of whether he, in fact, used drugs.
The blatant inconsistency between these positions is easy enough to detect, but what about the similarity?
The fact is that both statements, when issued by the Clinton spin machine, reveal moral confusion -- hardly surprising, considering the source.
The second statement first. Sure, there is a legitimate basis, being advanced by some conservatives, for arguing that Bush shouldn't answer the question. It is that there is no evidence of wrongdoing; the question is not even based on an allegation, and Bush shouldn't dignify it with an answer. He should refuse to lower himself into this gutter with the media vultures, hold his head high, and press on with the substantive issues of the campaign.
But that is not what is motivating the Clintonoids to cajole Bush into silence. As Bill Bennett pointed out on The Rush Limbaugh Show, their motive is quite transparent. Given that they work for the most corrupt president in history, it serves their purposes to miniaturize everyone else morally -- in fact, to take moral issues off the table entirely.
They reason that if character issues and moral judgments are removed from the mix, then, their amoral leader will fare much better in the annals of history. You get the picture. Everybody lies and commits adultery, so Bill Clinton is just one of us -- except as to statecraft, where he's the master.
Plus, if character doesn't matter, we are on their turf, i. e., the world of spin. And nobody beats them in their nefarious world.
Now, to the first statement. The premise is that Bush, if he ingested illegal drugs in the past, has no business being the chief law enforcement officer of a nation that imprisons so many drug felons. It's just a variation on Clinton impeachment propaganda. Since we are all sinners, we have no business sitting in judgment of others.
Even though this assault on Bush is motivated primarily by an all-out effort to destroy him by any means available, the mechanism being used needs to be addressed because it is destructive to society.
The Clintonoids, to support their position, throw in our faces Jesus' admonitions, "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged" and "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
I can't tell you how many times during the Clinton era that I've heard these statements invoked to justify relaxing the moral standards of this nation. This is a dangerous distortion.
Of course, Christ is telling us we should avoid hypocrisy, but he is not suggesting that we abandon the administration of justice or the societal distinction between good and evil.
Theologian John Stott explains that Christ's words are "well known, but much misunderstood. Our Lord's injunction to 'judge not' cannot be understood as a command to suspend our critical faculties in relation to other people, to turn a blind eye to their faults, to eschew all criticism, and to refuse to discern between truth and error, goodness and evil. Much of Christ's teaching in the Sermon on the Mount is based on the assumption that we will (indeed should) use our critical powers."
Let us not be ensnared by another Clinton lie. Character does matter. That we are all imperfect and sinners does not mean we are excused from our duty to make moral distinctions and especially to demand integrity from our leaders. Nor is it a justification for the wholesale abrogation of moral standards for our society.
In the last seven years, so many things have been sacrificed at the altar of Bill Clinton's legacy. We should insist that our moral standards not be another casualty.
We must never use our common condition of sinfulness
as a rationalization for abject permissiveness, lest we
forfeit our claim to greatness as a people and
08/25/99: Dubyah's drug question: Not a hill to die on