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Ethics in government

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

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It's difficult to see how governmental morals and ethics can be improved. The problems loom so large. Governmental bureaucracies seem so entrenched, and leaders seem so powerful. But despite it all, there is a "God in heaven" whose beneficent power can be brought to bear on any situation. It can diminish, melt, heal, any governmental problems, far beyond what we can accomplish through our most diligent efforts.

In the Bible, David was a great king and ruler, but despite his efforts to govern righteously, he was often confronted with efforts to undermine him. The book of Psalms is full of his prayers to God to overcome these difficulties. And the record of David's success as a righteous ruler stands.

But can this same divine power be brought to bear today? Or are governmental challenges today more insidious and God less capable, less aware, less caring, than He was 3,000 years ago?

About 12 years ago, I had an experience in our town's government that convinced me that God's healing power is every bit as effective in this arena now as then.

Soon after moving to our new town it became all too obvious that it was run by a powerful, long-standing clique of "good old boys." This is not unusual, but the level of corruption seemed to be extraordinary. Bribery, kickbacks, and unaccounted cash payments to certain town officials seemed barely concealed. Town employees who didn't choose to go along with the system were isolated and ostracized. Citizens who dared question the status quo were condemned as fools and publicly humiliated. In some ways, it seemed our town government was about as dysfunctional as it could be.

I'm no hero, but I believe it's one's moral responsibility to confront such blatant wrongdoing. I had long considered and been impressed with these words of this newspaper's founder, Mary Baker Eddy, from "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "...those who discern Christian Science will hold crime in check. They will aid in the ejection of error. They will maintain law and order ..." (pg. 97). I took these words as my marching orders, my guidelines, my guardian – my guarantee.

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