Friday, September 14, 2012

The Proud Man Stumbles

Mitt Romney celebrated 9/11/2012 by denouncing Obama for apologizing to people who killed the US ambassador to Libya and others who climbed over the US embassy wall in Cairo and stole the American flag, replacing it with a black flag.  In fact, Obama had said nothing.  The US embassy in Cairo only put out a statement repudiating a fraudulent anti-Muslim movie, correctly stating that the US government had nothing to do with it and did not approve - before the demonstration at the embassy or any of the violence.  Romney in utter falsehood seized on this as evidence that Obama was apologizing to the people who murdered the ambassador..

Aren't diplomats kept on the payroll to say these sorts of calming things to avert needless conflict?  And that the statement Romney was huffing about was issued before anything else had happened - doesn't that small detail deserve some attention?

Neither the government nor the people as a whole of either Egypt or Libya in any way approved this violence, so Romney's posturing was especially out of line.  Even many Republicans repudiated this disgusting attempt to turn the ambassador's death into political capital for himself.  Some are even speculating that this folly has trashed his campaign for keeps.

So how did Romney stumble into this?

Well, it's obvious that a sense of common decency would have held him back.  He is so utterly unprincipled because he thinks that sticking to principle will land him in trouble - which of course it does.  He's right about that.

Trouble is, being unprincipled means being guided by nothing except our own cunning, and that's how we get to experience the scripture, "He catches the wise in their own craftiness." When God lies in wait to catch you in your own cleverness, that's real trouble.

You don't have to be that smart to stay out of real trouble, if you hold to principle.  In particular, biblical faith says, "What does the Lord require of you, O man, but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God?"  As Ecclesiastes puts it, "Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man."  Unbelief is to judge that God is not to be believed in this, and that some other slick device will be better.

And such conceit leads to stumbling, no matter how clever we are.  


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