Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's the Trust, Stupid!

All the busy little bees are still buzzing about the John Edwards sex scandal. As usual, the emphasis is on sex instead of on the real issue: trust.

It isn't a matter of who sticks what where. It is a matter of trust kept -- or trust betrayed.

We now know, from Elizabeth Edwards, that John did cheat on her, in the only sense that makes sense. He deceived her. And it was in that -- NOT in what he stuck where -- that he betrayed his marital vows.

People had been suggesting that the Edwardses might have had some sort of an "understanding." Elizabeth has since laid that speculation to rest. She didn't know that her husband was stepping out on her, and because of THAT, yes indeed, he was cheating.

And let's have done with the nonsense that private dishonesty is somehow different from the public variety. As Jesus said, one who can't be trusted in small matters can't be trusted, either, in larger ones. Not that this was any small matter. A marriage vow is one of the most sacred any human being can ever make -- or break.

As a feminist, I can't buy into the line that "progressives must accept this" simply because conservatives (supposedly) don't. First of all, conservatives are just as likely to cheat on their spouses, or to lie their heads off in general about matters large and small, as are progressives. Just ask John McCain's first wife, or any of Newt Gingrich's previous wives. A terminally ill woman was betrayed by the one person she most desperately needed to trust. John Edwards has great politics, but personally, he's a skunk -- and yes, a politician's personal life most certainly DOES matter.

Thank God in Heaven Edwards didn't get the Democratic nomination. Not only would he not get the nod for President, but he wouldn't deserve to.

Progressives need to stop running away from debates about morality. Even Christian morality. Especially Christian morality. I hope and pray that progressive Christians can help them to do this.

Christian morality, properly understood in light of Christ's Gospel, centers around HOW PEOPLE TREAT ONE ANOTHER. Most especially how those in positions of trust live up to that trust. And how those in positions of power and privilege treat those who are vulnerable, powerless and without privilege.

In light of how he treated his wife, John Edwards stinks at this. But so, too, do John McCain, Newt Gingrich and George W. Bush. It doesn't matter a tinker's damn whether they lied to and betrayed their spouses or the American public. An oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States is no less sacred than one to love, honor and cherish one's spouse.

This is not a partisan game. God is neither a Democrat nor a Republican. Nor has it anything to do with who's gay or who's straight. The true Christian standard is identical for those of every affectional orientation.

Notice I didn't say "sexual" orientation. Again, it isn't about who sticks what where.

It's the trust, stupid!

...And THAT is what all the buzzing should be about.


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