This Week

Issue: "JOhn Q. Citizen," Feb. 8, 1997

Silence of the shepherds III

A preacher's first obligation is to speak God's truth--wisely and warmly, clearly and courageously. Sometimes, there are lapses. One example arose at the inauguration prayer service on Jan. 20, when popular speaker Tony Campolo warned about &quotthe principalities and powers," and forcefully cited as current manifestations sexism, homophobia, and racism, but did not tell his listeners that it was the Apostle Paul who first warned about the principalities and powers (see Ephesians 6:12). Why is that important? Because Paul's beliefs were very different from those espoused by today's feminist, homosexual, and racialist lobbies. Paul affirmed the created and redemptive equality of the sexes, but emphasized the importance of male leadership in the home and church. Paul believed homosexuals could be forgiven and changed, but noted that homosexual practice is depraved and its widespread acceptance an evidence of God's abandonment of a society. Paul was culturally sensitive for the sake of the gospel, but taught that the church should be race-blind. Mr. Campolo, instead of leading the Clintons, the Gores, and other listeners to examine their own attitudes in the light of the gospel, encouraged them to believe that they are the light of the world. Sadly, in a sermon that called social sins by name, Mr. Campolo (who has personally confronted social sins through exemplary inner-city work) failed to say the one word that cried out to be said --&quotabortion." He has apparently talked about abortion in private counseling sessions with Mr. Clinton, but how could he not call attention publicly to the near full-term babies, who by this president's stubborn veto, will have their skulls punctured and their brains sucked out? Mother Teresa won the admiration of Protestants and Catholics alike for speaking truth to the Clintons at the national prayer breakfast three years ago. This social-justice advocate unswervingly stood up for the weak and helpless to her last days. The difference is that Mother Teresa, unlike Mr. Campolo, never passed up the opportunity when in the presence of power to issue a challenge on the biggest social-justice issue of our day. Those identified as evangelicals should do no less.

Cabinet shuffle

All but one of President Clinton's nominees to fill top government jobs enjoyed smooth sailing in the Senate. Andrew Cuomo became secretary of housing after the Senate Jan. 29 voted 99-0 to confirm him. The secretaries of state and defense both won 99-0 confirmation votes the previous week. On Jan. 30, William Daley, the first Clinton appointee of the second term to encounter any opposition in the Senate, easily assumed the post of secretary of transportation with a 95-2 confirmation. Bill Richardson, Mr. Clinton's pick for UN ambassador, and Federico Pe `a, the former transportation secretary who is on his way to the top job at the Energy Department, picked up key support in Senate committees. But new revelations about White House political fundraising improprieties snagged the president's pick for secretary of labor. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott says Alexis Herman's confirmation will be delayed, pending an investigation of her role in putting together a White House &quotcoffee" with the president that was attended by more than a dozen top bankers who not so coincidentally wrote big checks to the Democrats. Also at the meeting were Democratic fundraising officials and the government's top banking regulator. Mr. Clinton acknowledged in a Jan. 28 press conference that &quotin retrospect," Comptroller of the Currency Eugene Ludwig's attendance at the meeting was inappropriate. Ms. Herman's office of public liaison arranged for Mr. Ludwig to attend, based on a &quotmisunderstanding" of the nature of the meeting, White House officials claimed. Sen. Lott said, &quotThe present explanation ... is not sufficient."

Computer crash

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White House officials' previous explanation of their 200,000-name computer database of lawmakers, reporters, political supporters, and visitors to White House functions was simple: They needed the computer to generate invitation lists, thank-you notes, and other social correspondence. They're sticking by their story, despite statements to the press last week by Truman Arnold, former finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who says he used the White House database to identify prospects for increased donations. Mr. Arnold told reporters for The Los Angeles Times and Time magazine that access to the database made it easier to reward donors with White House visits, trips on Air Force One, Lincoln Bedroom sleepovers, and coffees. &quotIf people who give money are treated with special graces and made to feel they're appreciated," he told Time, &quotthey'll come right back and give the next time." DNC officials said Mr. Arnold's access to the government computer was not direct, but conceded information from it was forwarded &quotthrough the appropriate channels." Republicans in Congress aren't buying it. Rep. David McIntosh (R-Ind.) called the computer a &quothotel link with the Lincoln Bedroom."


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