What does the recent Secret Service kerfuffle mean?
Members of the Secret Service are drawn from the cream of the crop of American society, the best of the best that America can produce. The best what? The best people measured by intelligence, ability, focus, loyalty, honesty and integrity. The American SS is most assuredly not composed of ordinary Americans.
So the recent scandal regarding the drunken abuse of foreign prostitutes by members of the American SS demonstrates the extent of the disease of sin in American culture. Like any other contagious disease, sin is not simply an individual infection, but is a cultural infection and spreads just like any other disease—through exposure. The fact of the SS scandal points to the extent of the infection in American culture.
You may not like the language of equating sin with disease, but the point is that sin is a kind of rot. And the SS scandal indicates that there is rot at the top of the cultural pile in America. This should come as no surprise because it is everywhere obvious. The only “shocking” thing that I am saying may be that the rot is a function of sin. And such a suggestion is only shocking because we have been taught from kindergarten that sin is an illusion, and we are free to do and be and have whatever we want. The American SS agents were simply exercising their Constitutional rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—their own happiness on their own time. So, what’s the problem?
Contemporary American Christianity has been woefully inadequate in her attempt to eradicate sin. This does not mean God or Christ or Christianity have failed in this regard. It only means that the contemporary American strain of Christianity has so failed.
And why has it failed?
I’m glad you asked.
Let me address the issue with a medical analogy, since healing is a central element of historic Christianity. As I said, this analogy suggests that sin is a contagious disease of the human soul. It is not simply a disease of the body, nor of the mind, nor even of the heart. Oh, it is a disease of these things, but not merely so. It is primarily a disease of the soul. And to understand both the disease and its potential cure, we must understand what the human soul is and how it works.
Just as medical cures of the body require biological knowledge of the body, its various parts and how they work together, so spiritual cures of the soul require spiritual knowledge of the soul, and its various parts and how those parts work together in a healthy humanity.
“And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” ASV, Gen. 2:7). The man, Adam, was made of dirt, but only became a soul as God breathed into him. So the first breath of the soul is the breath of God. Note also that Adam didn’t “get” or “receive” a soul, he became one. So, having become a soul, body and soul are not different things. Rather, soul is the breath of God in man, in Adam. The soul is, then, the life (breath) of God in the life (breath) of humanity.
I use the word humanity rather than man as the translation of Adam (אדם), which can be translated in either the singular or plural. However, the plural is not men, but Man or humanity. It is a singular plural because it refers to a kind (γένος), genus or species. Individuals are an instance of humanity. Or we would say that what makes individuals “human” is the reality of their humanity. I’m not playing with words here, but am expressing a truth so basic that it mostly goes unnoticed. And the reason I’m doing this is to indicate the character and reality of the human soul. The soul is not a thing, but a characteristic, image or reflection of God’s character.
Return with me now the recent Secret Service kerfluffle, and notice how it illuminates the state or condition of the soul. It damages the character of the human soul because it harms the image of God and the reflected character of God in humanity.
So, why did this happen? What caused it? What allowed it to happen?
The reigning opinion is that it happened because there were insufficient policies to keep it from happening. So, additional policies have been generated to plug the hole, so to speak. But this kind of cure works to close the barn door after the horse has escaped. And the ongoing problem is that the barn door cannot be kept closed perpetually and horses tend to escape.
The root of the problem is the judgment of the SS agents who faulted on their integrity. They were simply unable or unwilling or uninterested in making what most Americans would call “proper judgments” regarding drunkenness and prostitution. And why is this? Because no one ever sufficiently taught them about making proper judgments, or judgments related to character, honor, honesty and integrity.
The problem is that our public schools, colleges and universities have been undermining Christian character and proper judgment making for at least fifty years, and probably much longer. And this trend began at the very top of the educational chain—Harvard and Yale—during the Second Great Awakening, as historic, Trinitarian Christianity was undermined by Unitarianism. (I’m conflicted about whether to capitalize the “U.” Capitalizing it suggests that the Unitarian denomination was actively involved, and not capitalizing it suggests that the culprit is unitarian (non-trinitarian) theology. In fact, it was both.)
Public or governmental education has been teaching people to be non-judgmental, tolerant and accepting of every idea, value and lifestyle for a couple or several generations now. And we are reaping the fruit of this policy. The truth is that the ability to make good, right and proper judgments is at the very heart of human health and sustainability. And toleration and acceptance are important social skills to learn, but they have limits. The real concern regarding judgment, toleration and acceptance pertains to their limits, not to their reality or existence.
The best people that America currently produces are experiencing the failure to make proper judgments about character, honor, honesty and integrity. The cream of the crop of the contemporary American educational system is showing its colors. Lord, have mercy.