Saturday, January 07, 2017

Neal Bribery Case Illustrates Office Holder Abuse of the Christian Faith

State Representative Micah Neal (R) Springdale, has pled guilty to taking bribes in order to steer taxpayer money from the General Improvement Fund (GIF) money to specific entities - including tiny Ecclesia College near Cave Springs.

This was done in collusion with a former State Senator who is not named in the Federal Indictment, but matches the description of Jon Woods, also of Springdale. Talk Business has a report out naming Woods and Lobbyist Rusty Cranford as two of the parties named in the allegations. I don't think this will be the last case of this. Something tells me the FBI has a bead on a number of legislators.

We used to be a one-party state controlled by Democrats. Now we are a one-party state controlled by Republicans. Just last month on the Paul Harrell Program I pointed out that one party states tend to go corrupt very quickly. The more devotion there is to party over principle the faster things go bad. It does not matter if the one party is the Republican or the Democrat Party. If you want a one-party state it means that you are willing to impose corruption on our political process because that is what happens when there are no checks and balances. That is why I advocated a more decentralized way of electing political representation, as advocated from Neighbors of Arkansas.

As bad as it might be though, I think the worst part of it is Representative Neal's reaction to being caught taking a bribe. The attitude he displays in his tweets makes me cringe, but I have seen it before. There is a class of person who abuses (in my view) the Christian faith and turns it around completely from what it is supposed to do in one's heart. This attitude can be described as one in which the individual makes themselves the point of it all and God as merely someone who exists to serve them. True faith puts God at the center and makes servants out of us. If we think that we are the point we don't question ourselves, we question Him. If He is the point we have the more healthy attitude of questioning ourselves and trusting God.

I want to show you some recent tweets from Mr. Neal to show you what I am talking about. I want to emphasize that I am not singling out Mr. Neal as an especially wicked sinner. We are all sinners, me included, who require a constant attitude of repentance when we sin. But I don't see that from him, or a number of the other members of our political class who often use religion as a cloak to justify whatever they are doing.

What He is doing? Where is the introspection? Where is the acknowledgement that Mr. Neal did wrong? Why is this about what "God is doing" as if God is acting in a puzzling manner? This is about what Mr. Neal did. He accepted a bribe. He took public money and spent it on the basis of who bribed him. He let down his constituents. He broke the law. And he brought shame on his family and His God.

Don't worry though, God is big enough to take the hits for the mis-steps of His people. But aren't we supposed to have some little bit of contrition or take some sort of personal responsibility for our actions? As for what God is doing, the answer is right there in Hebrews 12.

5And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
6For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
7If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
So what God is doing is exactly what the scriptures say that God will do when His sons misbehave. This should be a relief to Mr. Neal because it means that God has not rejected him, but rather He cares for him too much to allow him to operate in this soul-corrupting manner without consequences. Its the ones that get away with it who should be most concerned!

God leads us? Again there is no recognition that his own sins led him to this place. His reasoning seems to start with the assumption that he was just following along after God's leading! He does not distinguish between his own choices and God's leading. Wherever Micah Neal wanted to go, he just figures that this is where God was "leading" him to go.

.I have seen too much of this in Arkansas politicians, and obviously citizens too. Again the problem is that they don't start with God, they start with themselves. They are God's chosen. If you oppose them, or even question them too closely, why you are against God's chosen, so you are misguided at best and possibly even evil.

This is a very dangerous mindset to have, especially for politicians. True faith supports liberty because the politicians understand they are accountable to a higher power outside of and beyond themselves. This knowledge is supposed to humble the official, and lead them to critical self-examination.

Empty religion undermines liberty because those in power no longer have to act with humility or introspection once they come to believe they are God's man of power for the hour. Not only is there no critical self-examination, but examination from the outside is also dismissed as religious "persecution" of God's chosen. "Repentance" is a religious concept, but there is no room for it, or any of the other Christian practices I have referenced in this article, in the false religious mind set which is corrupting our politics.

So long as we are quoting scripture, here is one that applies...

Psalms 26: 9 "Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men: 10 In whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes."

and Isaiah 33:15 tells us who shall dwell on high....

"He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;"

We, each of us but especially those ministering in government service, should understand that we are not the "good people" who are opposed by "the bad people". We are all the bad people. We are all going to sin, and we are all going to need to recognize and repent of it when we sin. If we sin in a public trust then publically is how we ought to own up to it.

Jesus said there is One good- God alone. We all like sheep go astray from His leading. And we all need to listen to people who love us, and search within our own hearts and His Word to constantly monitor for where we might be walking outside the ways of righteousness and peace. When (not if) we find ourselves doing so then our place is to quickly repent and ask God to help us get back on the right path. Any other attitude will find us on the road to destruction.

Update- this was one of the topics we discussed on the Paul Harrell Program Monday. Go to minute 24:20 of this audio


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