The 'Best People' Don't Violate Their Most Sacred Vows

November 18, 2012 - 8:49 PM

Of all the ridiculous opinions I've heard on General David Petraeus' scandal, Doris Kearns-Goodwin's takes the cake. On a recent "Meet the Press," the Harvard graduate actually suggested that Americans should excuse the marital betrayal of leaders like General Petraeus because it limits the number of "good people" in public life.

"I wish we could go back to the time when private lives of our public figures were relevant only if they directly affected their public responsibilities..." she said. "What would we have done if FDR had not been our leader because he had an affair with Lucy Mercer? Think of the productive years that Clinton could have had if Monica Lewinsky hadn't derailed them. We've got to figure out a way that we give a private sphere for our public leaders. We're not gonna get the best people in public life if we don't do that."

Think about it. The man running our nation's top clandestine organization couldn't keep his own affair secret.

And he's one of the best people we have in public service?

How can Kearns-Goodwin define our greatest leaders as the ones who violate their most sacred vows or who think the oath of office is more important than the oath of marriage? Or is she suggesting that people whose own family can't trust them should somehow be trusted by their fellow citizens? If General Petraeus will compromise here, what's to say he won't or didn't compromise elsewhere?

This idea that character doesn't matter runs completely counter to God's instructions for choosing leaders. While I Timothy 3 speaks directly to church hierarchy, the principles also apply elsewhere. A leader "is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect."

Apart from what Scripture says, consider where a lack of moral standards in government has led. The breaches of integrity in Europe are almost epidemic--and look where those countries are: in complete economic, political, and spiritual turmoil. That didn't happen because the "best people" were in charge. It happened because the truly good people didn't hold them accountable.

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