I haven't watched all the episodes of the impeachment hearings. But I have watched enough to confess that I am still wondering about the "high crimes" the Democrats claim the President has committed.
Was there some sinister "Quid pro quo" with the Ukrainian President? Is he really guilty of Extortion, or the Obstruction of Justice? Do the hearings substantiate the charges of a Violation of Election Law or a clear Abuse of Power? When did the President collude with our Enemy? The latest accusation of Bribery seems even less probable.
I hope readers will be patient with my old, feeble, and suspicious mind. I keep thinking that the real motivation for the impeachment hearings is rooted in some other issue. I wonder if they might be rooted somehow to the "high crime" of Trump winning the last election? This, you remember, was the election that "he had no chance of winning?" If so, the second and worst "crime" of all must be that he might even be reelected. But besides all this, I am more concerned about the tone and spirit of the proceedings.
I want to offer my synopsis of what I have learned thus far from the impeachment hearings. When a friend asked this afternoon what I thought about the proceedings, I gave him a single word. Without hesitation, I replied --"shameful." But the more I thought about it, I realized that he may not have understood. The reason is that "shame" doesn't signify much anymore. In fact, she died awhile back. Most of us didn't even know she had passed.
We haven't seen her obituary in the Herald-Standard or Daily Courier. The local or national radio and TV stations didn't mention her demise. But the sad truth is that not many people cared that much about her anyhow. More than a few have thought, "good riddance." Indications are that many are downright happy that she is gone. And just who might these profane be? It is the new wave of religious, political, educational, religious, and social liberals. Those who insist that there are no absolutes and that the end justifies the means. They reject any universal standard for truth, morality, or decorum when it impedes their plans. There is no longer any absolute in so much that something is either always "right" or is ever "wrong." "Winning" is the only real absolute.
Those of us who mourn the death of "shame" find ourselves remembering what might occur when "shame" was still alive. But with "shame's passing, how might our nation arouse its corporate conscience? How can we exhibit moral outrage, when there is nothing that outrages us any longer? Nothing seems to shock us. There is practically nothing or no one any longer who is "wrong" or "blameworthy."
The impeachment hearings are a case in point. While the world watches, a continuous barrage of half-truths, hypocrisy, denials, purposeful distortions, and manipulation of testimony demonstrate to all that "shame" is dead in America.
But the absence of shame is not limited to the political. Can anyone remember when a wedding required a man and a woman? Since "shame's" death, killing unborn babies is nothing more than a therapeutic option--- no more significant than having a wart removed. Where is the "shame" when a man abandons his children? What about the absence of stigma to the mother who abuses or neglects her offspring? Is the "shame" nullified simply because the State assumes responsibility for care?
How is it that now across America at public libraries that "Drag Queen Story Time" is favored to "read to" and "entertain" children? How can such aberrant behavior be extolled and promoted without little or any protest or apparent "shame?"
Respect for authority, or for patriotism, honesty, integrity, duty, and so forth, are considered silly or archaic. After all, "shame" is dead. Drunkenness and dope addiction are now "illnesses." Why would there be "shame" connected to having a "disease?"
A gratuitous sexual nihilism is everywhere. God's gracious gift of marital sex is distorted, ridiculed, and perverted. Prostitution is more and more an accepted occupation. Drag-queens are heroes. Same-sex coupling and "marriage" are legal and portrayed as healthy and avant-garde. Pornography is exalted and normalized.
Question? How may a nation awaken its moral sensitivities when "shame" is dead, and society is hardened continuously by the promotion of the vilest behavior of every sort? The news media, political expediency, and the venue of the entertainment industry consistently approve an "anything goes" behavior.
The new norm in America is evidenced in the vulgar, willful, and nearly universal decline in decency toward those with whom we disagree. More distressing is the growing disregard for truth, accuracy, and fairness in allegations toward opponents by politicians of every party. Sadly, this contempt of dignity and honesty is not limited to the political discourse. It has spread to nearly every segment of our culture.
In a seminary class years ago, I heard a wise teacher remark that: "The world has lost the ability to blush over its sin and depravity. More tragic is the church has lost her will to weep over it and the courage to denounce it."
This begs the question of how may the churches and other institutions awaken a nation's moral conscience when so many are spiritually comatose? It is a sad day, and heartbreaking, to see what has happened to so many churches. Our politics, our pride, and our apathy have shut our mouth to the rebuking of evil. Therein, SHAME is dead, and also, soon will be our nation.
William "Ed" Nicholson is pastor of Grace Baptist Chapel at Little Summit in Dunbar Twp. He has earned graduate degrees in both Bible and Education. He is a life member of the amputee chapter of the Disabled American Veterans. He can be reached at willnpa9@gmail. com or at www.thegracebaptistchapel.com.