But does that mean that every politician is corrupt? Of course not. Of course, there are exceptions.
Why aren’t we talking about all those noble, honest, trustworthy, and humble people who serve us in politics, except for those few corrupt ones that give them a bad name?
Does politics attract corrupt people? I have read that it does, but I am inclined to think that people don’t go into politics so they can take advantage of the system for their personal benefit. But a system that encourages and insists that people promote themselves to even get there and that essentially requires them to spend huge amounts of time just raising money is certainly inspiring behavior that is leading a person in the wrong direction
I would, however, consider politics one of the hardest jobs there is. I don’t mean the debating and deciding political issues. What is so hard is the responsibility of handling the money of an entire nation (or state, city, etc.) and not use it for one’s own personal benefit, the reliance on other people for their money or support and not rewarding these people with benefits at public expense in ways that are not in the public interest. Politics brings temptations and expectations that few people can handle without bending or breaking.
So if politicians are corrupt, just how does this affect everybody else?
The biggest way that political corruption affects everybody else is that it makes government cost more than it should. And remember, government doesn’t make its own money. The only money it has is what it takes from you, which leaves you less to spend on what you think is important, like your bills, a new car, or your kids’ college fund. The more money government needs, the less money you have for yourself. Prosperity is not just making more money; it is keeping more of what you already have.
Politicians hire people they don’t need; they pay them more than they should, they spend money they don’t have; using your money as if it was their own, for things that benefit them first rather than you. Bank robbers wear masks and carry guns. Politicians don’t’ have to. They can just vote themselves the money. And they don’t usually have to worry about losing their jobs. They rigged that as well by creating voting districts that favor their party and they have their entire time in office to raise even more money so as to put any challenger at a deep disadvantage.
Besides, they don’t actually have to take possession of the money. They just have the power to use it, which is all you really need anyway.
The state of Illinois has unpaid bills of about $6 billion and future obligations of around $100 billion. That money has to come from somewhere, and that can only come through higher taxes, or less money for everyone. Of course, those who work for government, whether elected or otherwise, get paid first, and they make sure that they are paid very well.
The federal government is over $18 trillion in debt. They still want to raise your taxes but don’t care quite as much as a state would, because they can print money or borrow money seemingly forever. The end result, however, is that the money you already have and will earn will be continually losing value.
Christianity makes better politicians or politicians less susceptible to corruption. Are Christians perfect or immune from corruption? Of course not. We’re talking about humans here. But Christianity understands temptations and provides at least four of the strongest safeguards against it.
When faced with temptation, you also need to have a reason or reasons why not to do it. A reason that you believe in, a reason that you find convincing. Without that, the temptation can pull you right over.
This is something that generally requires a comprehensive worldview that provides for you the big picture of life, how things are supposed to be, the ultimate goals of the things that you want and know to be what is best. Without that, when faced with something very enticing, you will have no good reason not to go along with it.
But with this comprehensive worldview, when a temptation presents itself, it will then be immediately seen as a path leading to a dead-end with regrettable consequences, and the lure will lose its attraction. In fact, most situations that can be regarded as temptations will not even be tantalizing or may not even be perceived as temptations, because the right course of action will be clear and the consequences of giving in will be clearly understood beforehand.
Christians are constantly taught to strive to be like Jesus in all they do, and they are made to be acutely conscious of the times when they fail. A big part of being Christian is the wanting to do the right thing. Christians are aware of their weaknesses, but they generally have a very clear sense of what is right and wrong.
Do all Christians succeed in this? No, of course not, but this is what they are taught, what the Bible teaches, and what you should expect from any person who calls himself a Christian.
Mark Twain made his comment about politicians and diapers a long time ago, long before our nation officially became a secular nation. There was no official pronouncement of that fact, but it was in the 1960s that our country essentially changed directions, and government debt not only has been steadily increasing, but growing at a faster rate as time went on.
Does this increased debt necessarily mean increased corruption? Not at all, but it certainly makes it more important than ever that we elect people more able and more likely to resist the unique temptations that politicians face. Christianity is what makes that possible.