The Colonel's first reaction to Governor Mark Sanford's political and personal train wreck playing out painfully this week was a mixture of disgust, disappointment, and disbelief. Upon further review, prompted by my gracious God's gentle reminders, it occurs to me that there are some very valuable lessons to be drawn from this debacle.
First though, let's make something clear--I hold no death grip on any claim of moral superiority over anyone. When you look in the margin of the illustrated Good Book, you will find a likeness of the Colonel alongside Paul's Roman attention-getting moral equalizer, "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."
That said, the Colonel has come to the belief that cultural conservatism, as opposed to its platform plank-mate, fiscal conservatism, at the right of the political spectrum, is a politically untenable position. Politics, from what this interested observer can tell from the sidelines, is a no-holds-barred, to-the-death, full-contact sport. If you take a stand, it will be assailed by your opponents and they will not attack your strengths--your weaknesses (see Paul's quote above) will be discovered and exploited. Politics is, in fact, an amoral pursuit. Politics, has at its core, the thinly disguised objective of the accumulation, maintenance, and exercise of power. As far as my faith is concerned, reconciling that objective with the teachings of my Lord and Savior is a difficult proposition.
I'm not advocating intemperance and infidelity as a political position. I'm just saying that we should not be surprised when even the presumably strongest of our leaders demonstrate human frailty. But, I will go out on a limb and posit that perhaps "family values" (whatever that means--and we have lumped a lot under that rubric) should not be a political position. It should be a personal position.
I quickly lose patience with those who supposedly share my faith when they stand up to their knees in their own personal pig stys and point indignantly toward the immoral leadership in the ranks of our state and national politicians. I have been convicted of late that the needed revival of faith that we pray seizes the hearts of our national leaders, must begin in our own hearts first.