On corruption in government


CorruptionI recently heard a radio commentator say that according to a survey done around the world, one of the foremost concerns of people is corruption in government. I doubt that many people are shocked by this since it is not a new problem. From the beginning, human government, made up of flawed and fallen humans, has been corrupt because the men and women who make up the government have been corrupt.

Saint Augustine, writing in the early 5th Century addressed this issue when he wrote the following:

“. . . it was the business of such men as were prudent and wise to deceive the people in matters of religion, and in that very thing not only to worship, but also to imitate the demons, whose greatest lust is to deceive. For just as the demons cannot possess any but those whom they have deceived with guile, so also men in princely office, not indeed being just, but like demons, have persuaded the people in the name of religion to receive as true those things which they themselves knew to be false; in this way, as it were, binding them up more firmly in civil society, so that they might in like manner possess them as subjects. But who that was weak and unlearned could escape the deceits of both the princes of the state and the demons?”

As Augustine points out, the result is that those who rule are likely to espouse positions that they do not believe so that they can remain in power. Whether or not religion is involved, deception remains.

Now, you might argue that in 21st Century America, we do not have a state religion. But is this true? Are we not moving into a period where there is indeed a new state religion, that of evolving morality and tolerance?

The dirty little secret of the tolerance movement is that they themselves are intolerant of anyone who disagrees with them. I have yet to meet the man (or woman) who lives as though all opinions on any subject are equally valid. Yet, this is the mantra of what appears to be the new state religion of the United States, a religion that is forced upon us despite the establishment clause.

What is the Christian supposed to do in response to this? A few thoughts come to mind.

  1. God remains in control, even when governments are corrupt and antithetical to Christian belief. The power of the gospel to change lives cannot be thwarted by any human government, religious or irreligious.
  2. We should not be dismayed when we learn of corruption because our ultimate hope is in God alone. Neither should we be surprised, when we understand that each of us carries the taint of Adam’s sin and corruption lies within our hearts (see Matthew 5 – 8).
  3. We should use whatever power we are given to help reform government and fight corruption when it is found. This power may be limited to the right to vote. Some are called to participate in government as elected officials and have a higher responsibility for their response to corruption.