BreakPoint commentary #001004 – 10/4/2000
It may be the most outrageous political ad in this campaign, even though few people have actually seen it. I'm talking about that infamous Hillary ad. And the Christians who created it ought to be ashamed of themselves.
The ad opens with images of First Lady and Senate candidate Hillary Clinton. Then an announcer says, "It's rumored Hillary Clinton is a lesbian. It's rumored that Hillary Clinton supports homosexual marriage. It's rumored Hillary Clinton will leave her husband after taking office. It was rumored Bill Clinton had an affair with Monica Lewinsky. Sometimes rumors are true."
Then the ad finishes with the question: "Shouldn't you know the truth?" Well, we won't find the truth in sleazy ads like this.
The commercial, I'm sorry to say, was sponsored by the something called the Christian Action Network. It's president, Martin Mawyer, makes no apologies for the tactic. He defends the ad on the grounds that certain rumors about Mrs. Clinton do exist, and she ought to be made to respond to them.
Nonsense! Repeating wild rumors on television through tasteless ads that hint and wink is unfair. Merely repeating rumors with no evidence to back them up is not the way to get answers to anything.
Christians have a right to speak out about political candidates and the issues—just as every American does. But there is a concomitant responsibility that goes with this right, and that's the need to behave responsibly.
This responsibility falls more heavily on Christians than other citizens. First, the Bible strongly condemns gossip, and warns us to avoid those who persist in spreading it. In Romans, Paul associates gossip with those who are insolent and haughty, full of envy, and haters of God; we're warned that we should not approve of those who practice these things.
Second, we should also avoid rumor mongering because it's a terrible witness. Openly criticizing a candidate's character or views is one thing; but slinking around behind her back, repeating gossip, is another thing altogether.
But there's a third reason why Christians should avoid this kind of sleazy campaigning. I've just completed a series about religious liberty. In it, I described how our liberties are threatened by out–of–control judges and lawmakers who repress individual expression and try to force faith–based ministries to violate their own moral standards.
But religious liberties can be threatened by Christians themselves—by those who engage in these kind of unethical attacks. Because when Christians behave this way, we feed the stereotype of Christiansas unloving—attempting to force our views on others. And we bring upon ourselves the wrath of the rest of the world. Then we get mad when those who disagree with our views trample our liberties. Maybe we ought to get mad at ourselves instead.
So far, not a single television station has aired the infamous Hillary ad. Several described it as "unacceptable," and they are right.
The Christian Action Network, however, is undeterred. Mawyer says that if he can't get this ad on the air, he'll place it through the Christian media, or send his message out through mass mailings.
Well, Christian radio and television stations ought to reject it on biblical grounds. And when Christians receive letters that spread rumors of this kind ––especially from an organization that calls itself Christian—we ought to take a minute to mail off, not a check, but a letter of rebuke.
Copyright (c) 1999 Prison Fellowship Ministries. Found on the Web at Breakpoint with Chuck Colson. Used by permission.