The Legacy of Corruption

The Legacy of Corruption

I recently had the opportunity to spend a week in Haiti. I was working with two tremendous Christian organizations which focus on providing clean water for the wonderful people of that country. While I had ample opportunity during the week to work on some of the water projects, my purpose in being there was to do a worldview training conference for pastors. The training was a two day affair and about 80 people participated. By all accounts, it was a huge success.

While I was greatly encouraged by my own ministry opportunity, it was hard not to be deeply impacted by the great poverty and massive needs of the people all around me. Virtually the entire population of the nation live purely in “survival mode.” In my attempt to understand it more fully, I asked a lot of questions about why this condition was so persistent. After all, literally millions of dollars and man hours per year are invested into that country to help with rebuilding and other development.

The answer I consistently received from my Haitian hosts was that the problem mostly stemmed from government corruption. Corruption is such a part of the political culture that relatively little of the aid the government receives from outside sources makes it to the masses on the streets.

Haiti’s population is currently estimated to be just under 10 million people. Of those, Roman Catholics represent 80%, Protestant 16%, and other beliefs 3%. These numbers are deceptive, though, as the great majority of those who claim to be Roman Catholic also practice Voodoo. The reason for bringing up this point is that the worldview foundation of the great majority of Haitians is Animism, not Christian Theism. As such, the entire understanding of what is right and wrong, good and bad is not based on Christian values, but on values which allow corruption as a normal practice.

Ultimately, though, corruption is a condition of the heart, not a mechanical process. The physical conditions which exist are merely the outward expression of the spiritual condition of the people. That being the case, no matter how much physical help is given, the problems seen in Haiti will never be solved until hearts are changed.

While the problem of corruption is expressed dramatically in the Haitian culture, it is certainly not limited to third world countries. In fact, the problem that exists in Haiti increasingly exists in America, as well. At the present time it takes on a slightly different form, but the root and the ultimate result are the same.

Why is it that government corruption is increasingly evident, and increasingly blatant, in America? Basically it is because a naturalistic worldview has taken over as the dominant foundation in American culture. When America was founded, the founders deliberately established the cultural institutions upon the principles of Christian Theism. This put in place beliefs and practices which promoted individual freedom, rule of law and biblical morality. It was founded upon the belief that the God of the Bible truly exists and has revealed truth and right to mankind in the Bible. Essentially, the entire population of the republic bought into these founding beliefs.

Over the last hundred years or so, people who believe in a naturalistic worldview have moved from a small minority to a powerful majority. Along with the increased numbers of people has come increased influence of the value system that goes along with it. In Naturalism there is no such thing as objective morality. Right and wrong, good and bad are defined by those who hold the reigns of power. In other words, what started out as a nation based on the rule of law has increasingly become one based on the rule of man. In the current incarnation of our nation we see, as a matter of course, politicians choosing which laws they wish to enforce and not enforce, the circumventing of duly enacted laws by bureaucratic rules and executive decrees, lying under oath, and the targeting of political enemies using governmental institutions. It is not that these things have never happened before, but in the past they were at least recognized as wrong. Based on naturalistic worldview beliefs, no such distinction exists. As a result, blatant corruption has become the flavor of the day.

The problem of corruption will not be solved by merely putting new politicians in place. The problem is one of the heart not of position. Of course, the politicians we elect must be people whose hearts are one with God or they will not even be inclined to tackle the problem of corruption in society. But the issue goes well beyond that. People elect those who agree with their point of view. The reason there are so many corrupt politicians is because there are so many corrupt hearts among the citizenry. It has been said that people get the government they deserve. This expression is based on the truth that politicians get into office because the citizenry elect them. As such, corrupt politicians are in office because we have corrupt citizens.

The solution is simple (not easy, just simple). What is required is changed hearts. And how does that happen? It happens as we Christians begin to get serious about our responsibility before God to be salt and light in the world. We must live rightly in our own lives, share the gospel with the masses who do not know God, and become active in the world to promote the will of God “on earth as it is in heaven.”

The difference between the corruption in Haiti and America is one of degree and sophistication, not of kind. But in both cases, the root cause is the same. And in both cases, the end result will be the same.

When Adam and Eve did their dastardly deed which brought sin into the world, what they brought was corruption. The only solution for corruption is for hearts to be changed by Jesus Christ. That will not happen until the masses of Christians begin to align themselves fully with the purposes of God and work with him to accomplish his purpose in the world. Only then will we see the problem of corruption begin to wane.

© 2014 Freddy Davis