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Rangel Wrangle

You gotta admire NY Congressman Charlie Rangel.
With 13 pretty hefty charges against him from the House Ethics Committee, he spent the better part of this week drawing lines in the sand and daring his accusers to let the facts be known.

I have mixed feelings about this situation. On the one hand, I'm happy to see self-corecting institutions actually work from time to time to ferret out corruption and malfeasance on the part of those who break the rules. On the other hand, Charlie Rangel seems like a nice enough guy, and he's been a diligent public servant for many decades.

But there are rules, and the rules must be followed. Well, most of the time. Certain rules, it seems, don't need to be adhered to if it's, shall we say, not convenient to do so. Such as hiring illegal aliens and, thus, encouraging them to remain in the country and break more of our rules. In fact so many rules have been broken in this one issue that a good many people seem to want to just throw the rules out and let the status quo obtain. But what would that say about rules?

And then there are the Ten Commandments which, if only for the Christian community, would seem to be some fairly important rules, no? But here again, just this past week, I was upbraided by a pastor for a column I wrote on another website where I insisted that the Law of God is a reliable rule for life. No, no, I was scolded: we don't obey the Law. We obey Jesus.

OK, but, doesn't Jesus instruct us to obey the Law of God (Matt. 5.17-19; 22.34-40)? So how can I obey Jesus without obeying the Law of God (cf. 1 Jn. 2.1-6)?

Oh, that Law thing. Those are just Old Testament rules. Like the rules on hiring illegal aliens. Or paying your taxes. Or using your political office for private gain. Those rules have been broken, ignored, or disregarded for so long that we ought to just forget them all, I suppose?

I don't think the House Ethics Committee will agree. Too bad we can't get the Christian community to demonstrate more enthusiasm for their rules than Congress does for its.

T. M. Moore
T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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