"Most of us have heard this at some time in our growing up. Being honorable is doing the right thing even when nobody is watching. Maybe our problem as a country is we have forgotten the true meaning of being honorable. Or moral authority."
Moral authority. Now that is a phrase we do not hear much of anymore. And why is that? Maybe because it just does not mean anything anymore. After all, it has become obvious that we do not live in Camelot. We live in the United States of America. A land made up of flawed people. Or are we?
I tell this story from time to time. Many years ago I served on a church council. One dark day, it was disclosed one of our married staff members really stepped off the curb. Her husband was also on staff (a pastor). She came out of the closet and told him she was a lesbian. We found out she had lesbian porn on her church computer. And she stole money from the church, as well as some of the confirmation kids who were entrusted to her.
I along with most of the council, voted to have her immediately terminated and maybe prosecuted for the theft. Some in the church went along with that decision, others did not. One lady who did not go along with that decision cornered me one day. "Don't you have any grace in your heart? Can't you forgive?" I looked at her and responded, "Yes, I forgive her. Totally. However, if a bank president embezzles money from his bank, he can be forgiven. But because he violated the trust of the people he served, he can never be a bank president again."
One of my pastor friends has been a bit taken aback that I have been so hard on Senator Franken. Why can't I show him grace? Am I without sin? No, when it comes to my sin clock, I am afraid it spins like a fan. Can I show Senator Franken grace? Sure. But just like the bank president who violated the public trust, who lost his moral authority, Al Franken should not be a Senator anymore.
One of my former bosses once told me, there is always a line. Know where the line is, and stay away from it. What he meant was this - not only don't cross that line, but don't go anywhere near it. People who serve in government (up to and including the POTUS), the entertainment industry, education, business, or whatever - should know where their line is. When the line is crossed, moral authority is sacrificed. When moral authority is gone, so is effectiveness and stature. In other words, it is time to go.
Most of us have heard this at some time in our growing up. Being honorable is doing the right thing, even when nobody is watching. Maybe our problem as a country is we have forgotten what the true meaning is of being honorable. Or moral authority.
This entire "me too" movement should be a wake up call for all of us. Not just with how we treat women, how we treat each other. How we handle the trust which has been given to us by others. This is a good time for some additional introspection. I know it is for me.