Honesty in government

A Christian Science perspective.

Bribes, racketeering, and other forms of corruption are all evidence of wrong and selfish motives operating in the lives of elected officials, and even in law enforcement at times in the United States and elsewhere.

When such cases are uncovered, they shine a light on the motives of people involved in them. When greed, anger, and revenge are seen in Truth’s light, they lose much of their power to do harm, because people can see their evil nature. Left unchecked, however, they can influence attitudes not just toward elected officials but also toward the rule of law. This is an important point to consider if we really want to support those who have been elected to manage our country. Good and honest government isn’t just up to those who have been elected. Individual citizens have a supporting role, and it includes more than just criticism of officials they have selected.

What’s often overlooked is the power of prayer to restore trust and honesty in government. Healing prayer neither ignores wrongdoing nor explores it with delight, as news accounts sometimes do. The effective prayer to destroy it takes cognizance of the error that has been committed but doesn’t dwell on it. What heals is the spiritual fact that God, Truth, was and is always present, and that each of us, as the son or daughter of God, is designed to respond to Truth. In this light, no one has a genuine desire for error of any kind, because it’s natural to love good, not evil.

So then how can we pray to protect our governments and officials from temptation? Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, wrote, “Unselfish ambition, noble life-motives, and purity, – these constituents of thought, mingling, constitute individually and collectively true happiness, strength, and permanence” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 58).

As both the elected and the citizens who elected them purify their motives more in favor of universal good, the government will act more consistently, providing and enforcing laws that are fair and equitable. An electorate that keeps in mind the whole picture, rather than focusing on self-centered solutions, seeks to support just and fair decisions that benefit all people.

Staying informed as to what is going on in the world, while not being mesmerized by the details, requires alertness. It may be helpful to pause occasionally, or even often, during the day and just check our thinking. Are our thoughts affirming the intelligence in ourselves, our co-workers, our government? Or are we thinking quite the opposite? What we think individually does make a difference in our world. We must do better than simply ignoring error or dwelling on it. We can pray to know spiritual facts and let them uncover conditions that need specific prayer.

This spiritual approach is indeed helpful in destroying error of all kinds, because it brings it to light so that justice can be done. And our truly thoughtful prayers support those entrusted with governing our countries and the world by insisting on the presence of good and the powerlessness of evil.

Often the question arises, “What really is prayer?” Is it pleading with God for something? Is it telling God what to do? There really is no formula for righteous prayer. Sometimes our prayers can be an almost wordless conviction of God’s power and authority as able to annihilate evil’s claim to existence.

Our prayers become more effective as we increase our knowledge of good’s reality. Then it becomes easier to recognize corrupt or dishonest activity – because it stands out in bold relief as totally alien before Truth. The Holy Bible begins, “In the beginning God created....” As our prayers start with this beginning, they naturally uncover and eliminate whatever is not of God, good. As more and more people turn to this spiritual way of thinking, we can expect that wrong thinking and wrong acting will become less and less common. I like to think that the day will come when everyone will see that honest and upright government truly is the only way to go.

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