The political arena has a long history of ethical codes that some would say are in “left field.” In the years surrounding 2020, especially in the United States, such approaches to political ethics abound. What alarms us is the identification of unusual, unconventional attitudes and even policies that are presented as principles of Christian ethics, whereas neutral analysts would label as being outside the bounds of Christian ethics.
A person who corrupts ethical principles may be a sociopath. Psychologists assert that sociopaths lie out of habit and bend the truth about everything. For such a person, telling the truth is awkward and “lying feels right.” Although the trait of lying is uncommendable, persons who are so afflicted may need to be dealt with clinically. We even need to have concern for them and do our best to help them.
Condemning their falsehoods may be counterproductive. Rather, we should be understanding. Such action would be consistent with many forms of ethics. Thus, we need to remain true to the principle of the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” and to its corollary, “love your neighbor as yourself.”
Nineteenth century British politician Lord Acton is ascribed the oft-cited quote that power corrupts but that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Lord Acton further asserted that as power increases, moral sense diminishes. How can a person deal with these perversions of the principles of Christian ethics? Is there a way out of this dilemma? Yes, be well informed and diligently aware of reality. Then respond with compassion and empathy, and in the final analysis with your vote. Make it count!