ERIC YOLLICK, The Golden Hammer
In response to an article about Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley’s admission that he and Magnolia ISD Superintendent Todd Stephens used government trucks, storage facilities, and employees’ services for private and political campaign purposes, one of Riley’s supporters wrote:
“Our young people see this kind of behavior by the folks they look up to and see that as the right thing to do. God calls us to be a light in the world. We don’t have to all agree, but you can disagree and do it tactfully. I have bitten my tongue so many times reading the things posted on here. I’m not a big fan of politics, but I do support our leaders. I also serve alongside Mr. Riley and his wife at Magnolia Cowboy Church and honored to do so. All of this negativity spreads like a cancer though the great folks of this county.”
When it comes to Riley, Wayne Mack, JP James Metts, and other elected officials whose conduct goes way beyond the bounds of ethics, there’s a very popular response similar to the one above:
“I support _________ [INSERT POLITICIAN’S NAME HERE]. I’m not a fan of politics. He’s a good man. You should stop your negativity.”
That’s not friendship. That’s adulation, a purely emotional and blind support. But supporters need to remember that Charlie Riley is not God, Wayne Mack is not God, and James Metts is not God. They’re people. They make mistakes. They sometimes even do things that are unethical.
When Riley, Mack, and Metts commit unethical acts, true friends don’t condone their unethical acts and attack critics of unethical behavior. That’s the wellspring of secular humanism, which places humans above right versus wrong.
True friends will recognize unethical behavior of their friends as unethical behavior. That’s the rationalism of Jesus and Moses. When the Jews sinned in the desert, Moses didn’t respond with “You’re all good people. I hope critics of your building idols and worshipping them will stop their negativity. I support all of you.”
In Isaiah, Chapter 44, verses 10 to 11, it’s written, “Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed: and the workmen, they are of men: let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; yet they shall fear, and they shall be ashamed together.”
Responding to clear unethical behavior, such as allowing County employees under one’s supervision to steal from the taxpayers by spending the day spreading obscenities on social media or by using County property or school district employees for personal or political purposes, with a proclamation that the person doing the wrong is a “good person,” does nothing more than condone unethical conduct and place a person above right versus wrong. It may make you feel good for an instant, but as the writer above said,
“Our young people see this kind of behavior by the folks they look up to and see that as the right thing to do. God calls us to be a light in the world.”
One cannot be a light in the world unless one makes clear what actually is the right thing to do. Hero worship is never the right thing to do, unless the hero happens to be the perfect God.