The number of names on the list of fallen leadership grows longer, day by day.
U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, a Tea Party favorite, was in court last month, answering to a misdemeanor charge for cocaine possession. Radel was arrested as part of an FBI/DEA investigation. He was caught up in a sting that targeted drug traffickers in Washington, D.C.
Radel’s name has now been added to the long list of lawmakers and public officials who, in recent years, have been indicted for their misbehavior. Dan Rostenkowski was charged with corruption. “Duke” Cunningham was charged with taking bribes. James Traficant was charged with bribery and tax evsion. Bob Ney was charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and mislead investigators. William Jefferson was charged with bribery and corruption. “Scooter” Libby was charged with obstructing a federal investigation. Rod Blagojevich was charged with eighteen criminal counts, including trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama. Jesse Jackson, Jr., was charged with improper use of campaign funds.
You can add to the seemingly endless list the names of those involved in sex scandals. Robert Dechiene, Chief of Staff to U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman, was sentenced to eighteen months for soliciting sex from a minor. Gen. David Petraeus had an affair with his biographer. Congressman Anthony Weiner sent sexually suggestive photos of himself to women on his Twitter account.
In addition, please don’t forget Richard “I Am Not A Crook” Nixon and Bill “Slick Willie” Clinton. You can also throw in Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who, though not an American, is a leader who apparently likes to smoke crack.
The fall of leaders on such a massive scale is a sign of the times and may foreshadow the irreversible collapse of our nation. The late Dr. D. James Kennedy once offered an explanation for fallen leadership in America. He said, “Today we are facing a ‘crisis of character’ that is undermining every aspect of American life. This crisis is so severe that it amounts to a ‘new cold war.’ And the ethical and moral fallout threatens not only our political, economic and intellectual well-being, but our ‘destiny’ as a nation.”
Kennedy went on to say, “It has been said that ‘God is in the business of building character,’ and that is true. But when any society chucks God out of public life and slaps up a patchwork structure of humanism and idealism in the place of God, the soul of its people can only grow weaker and its character atrophy and die.”
The current crisis in leadership is but a symptom of a much larger problem—the nation’s wholesale abandonment of God and moral absolutes. We continue to put up with immorality and inefficiency at the top, accepting the shenanigans of our so-called leaders with very little outrage. Why? Because we have rejected God and His law in our personal lives, in our homes and in our businesses. Whether we want to admit it or not, in a representative democracy our leaders are a reflection of us.
The irony is that the people who originally came to our shores came to build a new nation firmly planted in the soil of faith, virtue and ethical integrity. Their commitment to these principles was passed down to succeeding generations and ended up transforming what was essentially a continent of barren wilderness into a world superpower committed to equality, liberty and personal responsibility.
Before REAL change, the kind that will move America forward, can be realized, we must see that, as a people, we’ve forsaken our charter. We must comprehend once again that character is everything. More important than even our intemperate handling of constitutional principles is the supplanting of our Christian heritage for a more modern, politically correct view. That view says the folks who founded this country were basically imperialistic and corrupt. That view even indicts Christianity as the enemy of progress.
May God help us. It is a lie from the depths of hell. It is a lie told again and again by people whose souls are so black they refuse to even recognize great leadership. They refuse to accept orthodox Christianity. They drag both through the revisionist mud they call “history.” They want us to embrace the very values and concepts our former leaders shunned and shed their precious blood to fight.
But, the truth is, leadership isn’t going to change for the better until WE change. When as a people we are sick and tired of sin in our own lives, when we hate those things God hates, we will no longer passively accept or tolerate the moral rot we see today in the lives of our leaders. After all, we have every right to hold these people to a higher standard.
One of the great pulpiteers of our generation, the late Adrian Rogers, once quoted the lines to a song that he said were especially relevant now: “You can’t live crooked and think straight, whether you are a chauffeur or Chief of State.” He then went on to say, “The most patriotic thing any of us can do is get right with God.”
The crisis of leadership in our country demonstrates America is in desperate need of another “Great Awakening.” Without that awakening, it is unlikely our nation will survive. The first “Great Awakening” in the 1700s came when evangelists like Jonathan Edwards roared from the pulpit, preaching the now legendary sermon, “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God.”
Revival has to start in your heart and mine. It begins with us getting sick of the sin in our own lives and, in utmost sincerity, repenting and asking the Lord Jesus to forgive us and cleanse us. When that happens, revival spreads like wildfire, from the preacher in the pulpit to the people in the pews, then to the public at large.
It may seem overly simplistic but repentance of sin and genuine faith in Christ is the only hope for our personal lives, for our families and for our government. Accepting Christ and selling out to Him personally will kick start the renewal of our land as a bastion of character and moral integrity from top to bottom.
Ed Baswell pastors The Clarion Church and is the host of Crossfire Radio, weekdays from 7-9 am, on The Promise, 90.7 FM. The show is streamed live worldwide at promisetalkradio.org and at ktbs.com. It can be seen each day on the KTBS 24-hour, digital news channel.