Monday, October 09, 2006
I have been deeply troubled by the conversation on the chat site concerning Mark Foley. He quickly resigned because he felt it was the honorable thing to do. We all quickly agreed. But was it the honorable thing to do? More importantly to his base, Christian Conservatives, was it the Christian thing to do? What message does resigning send? One interpretation is the person believes he is unfit to do his job. Another is that he does not want to face the public ridicule, but would prefer to just fade away. By doing so he escapes public justice.
My contention is that resigning is taking the easy road, but not the Christian one. Mark Foley’s deviant behavior as a congressman is subject to the ethical rules of the congress. As a Christian, God can only judge him and that judgment is not in this life. So what are his responsibilities as a congressman and a Christian? As a congressman his fitness to serve is to be judged by the people of his district and the congressional ethics committee. As a Christian, his duty in this world is to admit his sins, repent and seek atonement.
Mark Foley has a responsibility to behave, as we would want any public Christian to behave. He should set the example for all public Christians. Rather than resign, Mark Foley should surrender himself for justice. First he should tell the whole truth publicly. He should apologize to anyone that he has hurt and beg his or her forgiveness. He should go before the ethics committee and accept their judgment with humility. He should go to the polls in November and let the people of his district determine his fitness to serve. Surrendering himself to justice is by far the harder road. The public stoning he will receive will be more painful than hiding in seclusion.
The best examples of public figures in the New Testament committing a public sin are St. Peter and Judas. Peter denied his God three times. And what was his judgment? Did Jesus remove him from the 12 Apostles? Did he remove Judas? No, Jesus allowed each to seek his own justice. Peter chose the more difficult road, to remain an apostle and serve his God and faced crucifixion. Judas took the easy road.