Politics as slander

Thesis 1:  Jesus is the end of ethics.  I mean, the summit of ethical deliberation is in the New Testament principle  “All the law is in this one saying: love your neighbor as yourself.”   The purpose of God’s love in Jesus is to restore the human soul for an ethical end — to love.   This restoration is prior to any human ethical act, but has no other purpose than human ethical transformation.

Thesis 2:  Power is useless to the lover.

Thesis 3:  You cannot love someone and intentionally make them look bad to a third party.   Love does not highlight the sin, but highlights the good of the neighbor.   To speak of my neighbor’s fault in order to diminish him in others’ sight is functionally indistinguishable from hate.   This hate in the form of speech — this audible violation of love — is called slander.  Since all neighbors are also sinners, the lovers and objects of love are all sinners  alike, and slander is a crime no matter the apparent worthiness of the object or apparent accuracy of the words.   Truth is no defense against the charge of slander.   Love is God’s highest truth, the truth never falls short of love.  Since truth and love cannot be opposed, slanderous words might be facts, but they are not true.

Thesis 4:  It is never necessary to violate love to one person in order to love a third.   Since the object of love is always an actual “neighbor”, love is never an abstraction; there is no obligation to love that we cannot fulfill.   The alienation we experience in relation to the law — that it imposes obligations we cannot fulfill – is not present in the royal law, the law of love.

Thesis 5:  Political power is gained and maintained through slander.   To succeed in politics, you must step outside the neighborly role in relation to your adversaries and treat them as enemies.  A political campaign usually — usually — is comprised of slander.

Thesis 6:  God’s will for all people is that they love their neighbors as themselves.

Conclusion:   Politics is not God’s calling for anyone.

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What of the ethical obligation, also mentioned in the New Testament,  to expose the sins of certain ones?   It is not an obligation of the atomistic believer.   It exists in the context of the community of believers, and is colored and constrained by the pastoral office’s obligation to protect that community.  When you speak of someone’s sin you are seeking to restore them to the local, visible community.  It is only legitimate in concert with the pastoral office.

The only other biblical model for legitimate critical speech is the prophet.   I’ll assume you are not one.

There is no model in the New Testament for the lone personality, speaking to society at large about another lone personality, in a contest of images.   This dynamic is inherently demonic.

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