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Court Prophets?

Here's some excellent analysis from Ethics Daily on reactions to the indictment of Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Welcome to Ethics!

While many Christian leaders were extremely vocal in calls for Clinton to resign or be impeached, they remain very quiet on the indictment of Libby for similar charges.

Robert Parham of the Baptist Center for Ethics puts it very well:

"The religious right is wrong to remain silent about the evil spirit that infects the White House, causing senior administration officials to smear a man who challenged the primary justification for the preemptive war against Iraq and to lie repeatedly about what they did."

"The religious right demonstrates yet again that they are court prophets—prophets that do what the king wants and not what God requires. ...The biblical witness clearly identifies such prophets as false prophets. True prophets would speak forcefully to the White House about doing the right thing, instead of hiding behind legal arguments."


  1. Anonymous10:24 PM


    It would help if Parnam had his facts straight a bit. Although the quotes you've offered are somewhat vague, it would appear the man who was supposedly "smeared" would be former Ambassador Joe Wilson. However, I'm not sure, besides repeating media talking points, what Parnam means by "smeared".

    First a little about Joe Wilson. Wilson claimed that he was sent on his trip to Niger by the Vice President's office. Nope. His wife recommended him to the CIA, who sent him. Wilson by that time was already a well-known skeptic of the Bush Administration's Iraq policy, so it was very doubtful he would come up wiht any findings beyond those that bolstered the case of the anti-Bush faction at Langley.

    Wilson stated that his trip demonstrated that Iraq didn't purchase nuclear material from Niger. But no one alleged that. The President's statement in the State of the Union adress that attracted so much controversy said that Iraq has attempted to acquire yellowcake uranium from an African nation, according to British intelligence. Now, the fact that the British still stand by that intelligence aside, a bipartisan Congressional committee reached the conclusion that Wilson's findings actually strengthened the case for Bush's claim. Particularly the revelation of a highly-placed Niger government official who recognized that Iraq's desire to for a trading relationship with the country was a thinly veiled attempt to procure Niger rejected.

    Wilson claimed at one point to have seen the forgeries that pointed to Niger as a source for uranium for Iraq, but those documents did not surface until months after Wilson's trip and subsequent op-ed in the NY Times. It bears pointing out that the forgeries in question were not the documents and evidence that British Intelligence based their claims on.

    There is much more for those interested in the full story. (National Review has fine ongoing coverage of the issue and particularly Joe Wilson's duplicity.)

    Wilson lied. His wife set him up by recommending him on the very trip he lied about. He lied about her recommending him. At some point, Valerie Plame's identity was going to become known simply from her involvement in this scheme from the beginning. Many people believe that those who did pass along the information about Plame, did so not to out her, but to effective refute Wilson's charges.

    If Libby lied under oath (and the charge here is presently much more uncertain that the one leveled against Clinton, particularly in terms of, ahem...physical evidence) then he should be punished. I've not heard a single person say anything to contrary, unlike during the Clinton impeachment.

    But "smeared"? "Evil spirit in the White House?"

    If he's referring to Wilson as the "smearee" then Parnam would appear to have an agenda of his own, and this is compromising either his grasp of the facts or his honesty. In either case, he would appear to be one of the last people who should lecture the White House on ethical behaviour. He can take some solace from knowing that Joe Wilson has even less credibility with which to do so.


  2. Thanks for your post (though I wish you would have identified yourself). You make some good points, but miss the point that Parham and I were making. To be honest, I’m not sure I know what really happened in the Wilson case. When I read the accounts in the liberal and conservative presses (I try to read both sides to help alert me to biases), it is like they are writing about two completely different situations.

    You may very well be right that “Wilson lied.” But that does not change the fact that Libby has been indicted (after all, it does seem that in politics members of both parties are usually corrupt). Why can’t we admit that it may be possible that both men were wrong?! The evidence may not be the same as in the Clinton case, but Libby is facing more charges and substantial possible prison time. Why can’t we admit that it may be possible that both men were wrong?!

    What Parham was saying—and why I pointed it out—was that some Christian leaders were quick to attack Clinton but not Libby. What is good for the goose is good for the gander! Even if you think lowly of Wilson, the hypocrisy of these religious leaders is the same. Striving to uphold Truth and ethics must trump all political affiliations. If we really wish to be considered credible prophets we must challenge all political leaders who stray—even if we support their politics. To do otherwise is to sell our souls and ministries for earthly political kingdoms.

    I hope you come back to read this, and please let me know what you think. But please be willing to admit that anyone, regardless of party, should not be given a pass. Please be willing to state that if Libby did what he is accused of, then it should be condemned. If you are unable or unwilling to admit that, then you need to reevaluate your priorities—are they God’s or man’s?

  3. One more thought. If our Christian leaders do not stand up equally to all leaders (regardless of political affiliations), then they are no better than the court prophets of old. If they become that, then they hurt the credibility of the Kingdom—and thus the King—that they are supposed to pledge allegiance to. We would be better served with court jesters than court prophets because at least the former will put a smile on our face!


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