Is it Really Politics as Usual?

A major Biblical premise when dealing with others is equitable and impartial justice for all, but is justice really blind? One of the onerous realities associated with the health care debacle was that selected politicians were offered special concessions in return for their vote. Such concessions used to influence the voter, if not offered to all, constitute a bribe. Congressmen and senators from both sides of the aisle are quick to say that this is ‘politics as usual.’ They prefer to use the term ‘quid pro quo’ instead of bribe.

The Bible is rich in wisdom relative to the subject. Bribery used for the perversion of justice is certainly not a new or unique issue. It has been used, abused, and condemned for over 3,000 years. In the Bible the words bribe, gift, present, reward, and payoff are used interchangeably. Solomon himself had much to say about it.

“He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house, but he who hates bribes will live.”
Proverbs 15:27

“Many entreat the favor of the nobility, and every man is a friend to one who gives gifts.”
Proverbs 19:6

“The king establishes the land by justice, but he who receives bribes overthrows it.”
Proverbs 29:4

So wise King Solomon confirmed bribes were very popular in his time and also that they were destructive. But let’s go back further in history and review God’s instructions to the Israelites when they were a new nation.

“You shall not pervert the judgment…For I will not justify the wicked and you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the discerning and perverts the words of the righteous.”
Exodus 23:6-8

“You shall appoint judges and officers in all your towns…according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with just judgment. You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. You shall follow what is altogether just, that you may live and inherit the land which the LORD our God is giving you.”
Deuteronomy 16:18-20

As history progressed the prophet/judge Samuel defended his position as an impartial judge by stating that he had never received nor was influenced by a bribe.

“…I have walked before you from my childhood to this day…Witness against me before the LORD and before His anointed: Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom Have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I received any bribe with which to blind my eyes?”
I Samuel 12:2-3

And then as history entered the times of the kings, Jehoshaphat reiterated God’s position on bribery.

“Now therefore, let the fear of the LORD be upon you…for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes.”
II Chronicles 19:7

King Solomon’s father David prayed that God would recognize his integrity rather than being associated with sinners.

“Do not gather my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men, in whose hands is a sinister scheme, and whose right hand is full of bribes. But as for me, I will walk in my integrity…”
Psalm 26:9-11

But during the days of the kings, God observed and renounced Israel’s deviance from His original law relative to impartial justice.

“How the faithful city has become a harlot! It was full of justice; righteousness lodged in it, but now murderers…Your princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves; everyone loves bribes, and follows after rewards…”
Isaiah 1:21-23

“For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: Afflicting the just and taking bribes; diverting the poor from justice at the gate. Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time.”
Amos 5:12-13

The offering and acceptance of bribes to pervert justice is adamantly condemned in the Bible. Such practice may even degenerate to the level of using bribery to promote and legalize anti-scriptural precepts. In other words bribery involved in such issues results in ‘calling evil good.’ Such was the recent controversial issue involving Bart Stupak, democratic congressman from Michigan, who initially opposed the proposed health care legislation because of its provision to use federal funding for abortions. Congressman Stupak; however, succumbed to presidential pressures and promises to ‘call evil good’ at the eleventh hour.

As stated above, the Bible has succinct warnings about offering bribes for such perversions of justice.

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness…woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight: Woe to men…who justify the wicked for a bribe…Therefore the anger of the LORD is aroused against His people…”
Isaiah 5:20-23

So whatever term is used, quid pro quo, gift, payoff, promise or bribe the principle is the same, i.e. to deemphasize impartial justice. And though it may be considered the ‘norm’ and politics as usual, such practice just adds to the list of grievances God has against this great nation just as He did for His chosen nation of Israel. His judgment is totally impartial.

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