Toronto Mayor Bob Ford is an alcoholic whose addiction is ruining his career (he admits he smoked crack during “one of my drunken stupors.”) But alcohol is not the only thing on which to get drunk.
In the case of Barack Obama, we find a whole administration drunk with power. His attorney general first covers up an arms debacle that costs American lives, then blames a previous president, and finally just stonewalls a congressional committee. His secretary of Health and Human Services tells American citizens she does not work for them. His IRS leadership lies repeatedly about agency persecution of political opponents and the illegal release of confidential materials. And the president himself lies about murder in Benghazi, spying on American citizens, his own involvement in the IRS scandal, and what Obamacare will do to citizens who already have health insurance. If that is not enough, he routinely re-writes legislation such as his signature healthcare law in blatant defiance of the Constitution as cooly as he deliberately misquotes the Gettysburg Address to remove references to God. This president is so drunk with power that when the House of Representatives adopts – legally – a bill doing the same things the president illegally decreed to correct his own insurance cancellation nightmare, he threatens to veto the legislation.
No good thing ever comes from drunkenness, and nothing ever will. But the greatest damage comes from being drunk with power.
Intoxification with power – and the vindictiveness that accompanies it – spreads to lower officials and civilians as well. Recently, fake blood was spattered on peaceful life advocates in Albuquerque, New Mexico by so-called pro-choicers. I say “so-called” because these people have no interest in the freedom to choose in – say – an election. AG Eric Holder has no problem with voter intimidation by gangsters in Philadelphia; at the same time, he accuses legitimate poll watchers of suppressing the vote in that same city, demonstrating his soul brotherhood with the gangsters.
A man was recently arrested for murder after shooting an armed man who broke down his door at 2 AM and charged him. In Washington, D.C., the insurance commissioner was fired by Mayor Vincent Gray for agreeing with a proposal to ask insurance companies to restore cancelled policies; and a low level Obamacare employee named Elaine was fired for answering the questions she is charged with answering when the questioner happened to be talk show host Sean Hannity. Right here in Redding, it turns out our own Mercy Hospital helped write the protocols for Obamacare; I learned this because my radio program was sponsored by Mercy. When I blogged against Obamacare, Mercy summarily dropped my program with that explanation. It is about intimidating – not debating – opponents.
The Bible has a wonderful passage addressed as Ephesians 5:18. It instructs readers not to become drunk with spirits – including the spirit of power – but rather be filled (drunk, if you will) with the Holy Spirit. Becoming intoxicated – filled – with God is how we come to authentic sobriety. Confirmation occurs as people change behavior – and the fruit of it – sometimes over time, but sometimes quite rapidly. The recently concluded 40 Days for Life campaign reports that forty-five abortion clinics have closed since 2007 as they prayed and blessed outside clinics, with appointment cancellations as high as 75% when they are praying; these drunk in the spirit types do nothing more aggressive than prayer.
The Rev. Martin Luther King led a civil rights movement for fourteen years – until his martyrdom – fueled by nothing but the Holy Spirit, according to King himself. Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, asked how he remained at peace through seven years of trumped-up indictments on perfectly legal behavior, criminal conviction, and eventual acquittal-on-appeal of felony charges, said he went to Congress not knowing his Lord and became filled with Him while there; he had no other explanation. Like former power broker Chuck Colson, DeLay now knows real power.
The Bible also says His strength is perfected (2 Corinthians 12:9) in our weakness. The Christians who took down autocratic governments in the Philippines and throughout Eastern Europe had no resources other than prayer and forgiveness without giving up their convictions. I don’t say whether our present government does or doesn’t need taking down. But like King, Colson, and DeLay, I recommend being drunk in God’s Spirit. It is the only authentic sobriety, and the only real power.
James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships and The Holy Spirit and the End Times – available at local bookstores or by e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org