Dear Diary...The axiom, "You can trust a thief but you can’t trust a liar" comes to mind as reverberations continue from the admitted moral laxity of the leader of the Christian world’s only super-power. Since we elected "Slick Willie", knowing that he was a bald faced liar, we shouldn’t be surprised that he is a bald faced liar.

However, many of us are surprised that we elected a "Sleaze Meister", too. What should surprise us even more is that so many of us are willing to accept someone that we do not respect as the leader of the most powerful nation in the world. We are powerful economically and militarily, but what about spiritually? A recent TIME/CNN poll states that 61% of us approve of the way he is handling his job as President but only 48% of us respect him. With "Read my lips--no new taxes" ringing in our ears, we voted in Clinton with our pocketbooks rather than our good sense, and some might argue we continue to support him for the same reasons.

Others might argue that we didn’t know his moral character. There were early warning signs before the Monica Lewinsky-Ken Starr affair. For example, during his presidential campaign Clinton told us then that he wasn’t a draft dodger. "It was simply a fluke that I wasn’t called (to serve in the Vietnam War)," he stated. "I never received any unusual or favorable treatment." He told us that in the same verve that he assured, "I never had a sexual relationship with that woman."

A quick look at Clinton’s past reveals other lapses of good judgement. His answer to questions about his past drug use produced: "I didn’t inhale." That remark has provided the fodder for every comedian and talk show host in the world. Add to that lapse of good judgement: 1. The Paula Jones and Gennifer Flowers affairs which provided jobs for the media and the beginning of sleaze-TV shows. 2. The "I don’t eat much junk foods," offered at a time he was overweight. 3. His "vivid and painful" childhood memories of the burning of black churches in Arkansas (A figment of his imagination perhaps induced by not inhaling.). Add all these together and we have a pretty good picture of the moral fiber of the man we elected as the leader of the world’s most powerful Christian nation.

According to most polls, the American public can handle whatever sleaze Clinton throws at us. Barring evidence of perjury or obstruction of justice, most people feel that he has done nothing that warrants impeachment. We can even handle that he not only cheats on Hillary but on his golf score. However, if it is ever proven that he also cheats at solitaire, that will be the crowning blow. I could never trust a man who cheats on himself. So, I, too, would join with Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of President Clinton’s church—the nation’s largest Protestant denomination--and the other choirs calling for his impeachment.

Christians should condemn the sin and not the sinner. Jesus instructs that those of us without sin cast the first stone. Hopefully these are the reasons why most of us accept what has happened. Most want to move on from this sordid affair. We need to cope with the myriad of other problems facing the nation and the world’s economy. We need God’s help so we must act as God’s people. The Catechism teaches that "We firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history. But the ways of his providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God 'face to face', [1 Cor 13:12] will we fully know the ways by which--even through the dramas of evil and SIN--God has guided his creation to that definitive Sabbath rest [Cf. Gen 2:2] for which he created heaven and earth."

As members of Christian churches in America we should be providing the moral influence that our government does not. Instead, the Christian churches in America are losing their moral influence and their followers. In his well-researched case for a wake-up call in the church of the 21st century, George Barna, a Christian sociologist and statistician, gives an insight into what the Christian church must do to avoid its ongoing irrelevance in today’s culture of moral laxity. In his latest book, The Second Coming of the Church (Word, $18.99), he states that the Christian Church in America is losing its influence and followers "faster than any other major institution in the nation." He pleads for a spiritual and moral revolution in the American Christian churches. "We need a revival," he urges. Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.

Barna suggests that we also need to stop "playing" church and start "being" church because of our commitment to Christ’s teachings. He suggests exactly what the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of San Francisco is doing with the Renew 2000 Program in every parish. This is not a time to sit on the sidelines. This is a time to get with it!

Fr. Joe Landi is a Parochial Vicar at St. Cecilia Parish, San Francisco, the Archbishop’s Liaison to the Charismatic Renewal, the editor of the San Francisco Charismatics and Board Chair of the Sierra Point credit Union, South San Francisco, which now serves the South San Francisco Community, parochial schools in San Mateo County, and the Charismatic Renewal. Opinions expressed are his own.

You can contact Fr. Landi by e-mail at sfccr@slip.net, read other articles in the November Newsletter, or return to the Main Menu of this web site by clicking on the blue. 1998, The San Francisco Charismatics, (ISSN 1098-4046). All rights reserved. The San Francisco Charismatics is a member of the Catholic Press Association of the Unites States and Canada.