A recent letter lamenting the mania for scrutinizing the private lives of politicians to obtain political dirt made a valid point. But the author lost me when he implied that the "continuous marital infidelities" of JFK and MLK Jr. were acceptable because of their political accomplishments.
The author was right in that these men changed the moral fabric of our country. They helped normalize infidelity in high places as their political heirs, Bill Clinton and Jesse Jackson have demonstrated.
Jesus taught that he who is faithful in that which is least shall be entrusted with much. Can a man who selfishly betrays his wife, his children and his God in "private life," somehow rise above self-interest in public life? If he carelessly breaks his marriage covenant, the most fundamental of all obligations, is he worthy of the oath of office? The notion that public life and character can somehow be divorced from private life and character is one of the greatest lies of our time.
The whole idea of American political liberty hinges on the principle of self-government: Men will enjoy freedom in proportion to their ability to govern their own behavior. A nation of addicts, fornicators, freeloaders and broken families requires more laws, taxation, prison cells and government than a nation of self-governing individuals and strong families.
With the social costs of the culture of fornication evident in broken families, unwanted children, abortion, poverty, debt, prisons, STDs and HIV, why should we elect and even deify leaders whose personal examples justify and encourage the problem?
With all its social costs, why doesn't the humanist left take up a campaign against the culture of fornication? Because evolutionary theory, by reducing human behavior to the product of genetics and environment, has liberated us from higher expectations. Instead of virtue, we push free condoms, abortions and government welfare.
And we must overlook the "private" behavior of the public servant because, from an evolutionary perspective, he does what comes naturally. It is unrealistic to expect him to rise above his "human failings" (evolution's euphemism for sin).
The content of one's character is measured not in great speeches and policy initiatives, but by what men do and say in private. I thank God for a Savior who inspires higher ideals and who came to set us free from servitude to sin and the hopelessness of humanistic thought.