It is difficult to function in our society without trust. For most of my adult life, I have taken trust somewhat for granted when it comes to politics and faith. Regardless of the political party in office, I believed and trusted that they were responding to the will of the people and making decisions based on that. Naive I know, but it seemed to work out fine. Now it appears that everything is shrouded in secrecy. The economic stimulus plan is a good example.
In a recent story by associated press – one among many – they say that a recent rally on Wall Street was attributed to supposed inclusions in the plan that would help homeowners. The story says, ‘Two people briefed on the plan told The Associated Press it would lower mortgage rates for borrowers on the verge of foreclosure. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the details were not yet complete (Charlotte Observer, 2/12/09).” Later in the story it talks about the new tax cheat on the government payroll saying this, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the government will boost lending, determine which banks should get extra funding, and remove toxic assets from banks’ books — but he provided few details about how the plans would work.”
You may recall that during the campaign, Mr. Obama stated his administration would operate on a basis of full transparency. Where’s the transparency in all of that? It seems to me, as the old adage goes, “the devil is in the details.” It has been reported on Fox News that Senate leaders have tried to encourage the House to vote on the compromised plan without seeing it in writing. Thankfully, many House Representatives have said no, they want to see the plan in writing. Of course, the Senate would prefer no one see it in writing because then it will be obvious that the nature of the stimulus is nothing more than throwing money at things that no one can validate as being helpful. Where’s the trust in that?
Now, on the issue of “Faith”. When it came to “faith” I took a great deal of what I heard, read, and saw as gospel. Now as I get older and I hope wiser, I’m finding that things were not all they were cracked up to be. I learned that many people hold convictions with out any real rationale or even scriptural support for those convictions. Another “revelation” came with church we attend. Business meetings are really not business meetings, they are voting sessions. No one really knows anything of the details on a matter except what they are told by the pastor or deacons. (Not that they would be deceptive in any overt manner.) We are simply called to together to vote. Yes, there may be an opportunity for questions, but without detailed information regarding the plan proposed, how can anyone ask intelligent questions?
In both cases democracy seems to have run amuck. If our politicians were truly listening to the people, they would know that a majority of tax paying, law biding citizens are not in favor of the plan know being forced down our throats. In the same manner, if democratic principles were being implimented in the church, pastors and deacons may realize that they are not the only ones God is speaking to or leading. But naturally, when one has an agenda – be it politics or religion – discussion, openness, and details are indeed “the devil.”
Now, I want to trust. I want to trust my government, I want to trust my church’s leadership, I want to trust my friends and family. It’s not always easy and I suspect, not always a wise thing to do. The Old and New Testaments are replete with testimonies of people “burned” by their religious leaders. If not burned, then lead astray in some form or fashion. Politics mark similar issues. Whether dictators or elected officials, it seems that everyone has an agenda and it seems that it is seldom the needs of the people. The result: revolutions, reformations, riots, and random acts of suppression and violence.
Trust is a critical part of human relationships. It extends to most areas of life, personal and public. If we cannot trust we cannot live in peace or harmony. Rather we live waiting for the next shoe to fall, the next blow to come, the next “oh, you didn’t know that was there”.
I’ve voiced my opinion to my pastor. I have also taken to write or call my senators and congressman regularly voicing my thoughts on certain aspects of the bailout and other issues that are important to me. I cannot trust that they know my mind or even know what may be coming up for a vote. That does not mean they will listen to me, it simply means I have a voice, I have a “vote” and I want to be able to exercise it.
The devil IS in the details. Whether politics or faith, a democracy says we should know the details.