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Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney answers a question as he debates President Obama during the second U.S. presidential campaign debate on Oct. 16, 2012.
Those of us who follow Jesus and believe in his divinity believe that he is the human incarnation of God who is Divine Love. Jesus is also the incarnation of grace and truth. The Gospel of John says: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory; the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1; 1:14)
God is Truth. Untruth is not God. The scriptures speak of the accuser, the slanderer and this is the opposite of God. The Word teaches us to be suspicious of slanderers and prevaricators in every aspect of our lives. Jesus taught that if we abide in his word, we would be his disciples, and we would know the truth and the truth would make us free. (John 8:31-32.)
Proverbs 13:5 says: “The righteous hates falsehood, but the wicked bring shame and disgrace.”
When we consider who ought to lead our nation on every level of government, especially on the presidential level, truth-telling ought to be a requirement. Consistency and integrity ought to be a requirement. How can we trust a leader who says one thing on a subject in the morning and another thing on the same subject by the end of the business day? This is the case with Mitt Romney. He will say something in public and later his campaign will say he did not mean what he just said. He will stake out a policy position, but when he is called on that position in debate, he simply says that is not my position. In the first presidential debate he did this flip on taxes on the rich and in the second he did it on the availability of contraceptives for women.
View Photo Gallery: A far more aggressive President Obama showed up for his second debate with Mitt Romney, and at moments their town-hall-style engagement felt more like a shouting match than a presidential debate.
Integrity is at the heart of moral intelligence. Writing in their book “Moral Intelligence: Enhancing Business Performance & Leadership Success,” Doug Lennick and Fred Kiel define moral intelligence: “ our mental capacity to determine how universal human principles—like those embodied b the ‘golden rule’—should be applied to our personal values, goals, and actions” (7).
Moral intelligence is different from cognitive or emotional intelligence. It is the acuity to perceive right from wrong, truth from untruth. Moral intelligence is a consistent integrity.
In this election, we have seen political prevarication in the extreme on the part of Mitt Romney. In the second presidential debate, Romney not only calmly lied to the America people, but he made a false accusation against President Obama in the process. He slandered the president. The president correctly said that Romney thought that an employer ought to have the right to deny coverage for contraceptives for women. Romney supported the Blunt-Rubio amendment in the United States Senate that would have given this power to employers, not only in the case of women and contraceptives, but in the case of any employee for any medicine or procedure that the employer claimed violated h/er moral convictions.
At the second presidential debate, Romney said: “I don’t believe that bureaucrats in Washington should tell someone whether they can use contraceptives or not, and I don’t believe employers should tell someone whether they can have contraceptive care or not. Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives, and the president’s statement of my policy is completely and totally wrong.”
Perhaps Romney is doing some serious parsing of his words in order to mislead both sides of this issue. Perhaps he thinks that women ought to have access to contraceptives, but an employer has the right to decide not to include them in insurance coverage provided at work. The woman is free to purchase them on her own. If this is the case he ought to have said so.
Perhaps he has a bad memory, or he has changed his position yet again depending upon whose vote he wants, or the number of people listening, or the phases of the moon, or God only knows what else. In any case, his lack of clarity, his inconsistencies, demonstrates a lack of integrity, a lack of moral intelligence and a lack of truthfulness.
There is no religious test to hold public office in the United States, but we ought to allow our own religious wisdom that teaches us to be suspicious of lies and liars, our own integrity and our own moral intelligence to inform our thinking on who ought to hold the highest office in the land.