Hillary, Emails, & Intent

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Secretary Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server to store classified emails has been subject of intense public debate. After I wrote about Donald Trump’s tongue problem, some people asked me to write about Hillary’s emails. I couldn’t honestly write about her emails, because I hadn’t kept up with the debate and I didn’t know that much about it. After all, what difference does it make (sorry, I couldn’t resist)? However, after I heard James Comey, the FBI director, speak the other day, I do believe a few words are in order.

I must admit that I am deeply troubled over a potential President’s participation in illegal activity (Comey himself said that Clinton’s activity violated the letter of the law). I was born only one week and one day before Gerald Ford became President because Richard Nixon had participated in the Watergate cover-up. What particularly bothers me is that Comey said it’s highly possible that America’s enemies were able to gather classified information. The idea that enemy states or terrorists were able to learn some of America’s secrets is deeply troubling.

Comey said something in his press conference that deserves special attention from me—Clinton did not need to be prosecuted because she did not intend to violate the law. I understand that works when it comes to prosecution. We all understand intent comes into play, for example, when it comes to prosecution for murder or manslaughter—one is premeditated and the other is a crime on impulse.

However, for most of us, we would be prosecuted whether we intended to break the law or not. A few years ago, I had lunch with my wife and was driving back to my office. Some police officers were set up in a parking lot, and one began waving me over. I was talking to Mom, and I told her some police officers were waving me into a parking lot for a seat belt check (what else could it be?). Well, it turns out I was speeding. I had no intention of speeding and did not know I was speeding, but I still had a ticket to pay.

God operates exactly the same way as the police officer who gave me my one and only ticket—whether or not I intentionally break his will, if I break his will, I’m held accountable. Before the philosophers at the Areopagus Paul said, “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31). No claiming ignorance of his law. No claiming that I did not intend to break his law. I’m called upon to repent—all men everywhere must repent before that Great Day.

When some Sadducees came to Jesus and in ignorance asked about the resurrection, the Lord told them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Matthew 22:29). The Sadducees’ ignorance of the Scriptures led them to wrong conclusions and led them to act wrongly. The solution? As I wrote the other day, the antidote to error is always—always—the Word of God.

It seems to me, therefore, that we have two obligations:

  1. Get in the Word! Do not be ignorant, but be like the noble Bereans who searched the Word daily. Your eternal destiny hangs in the balance.

  2. Share the Word with others. Do not leave people in ignorance, but share the blessed word of life with them. Paul rhetorically asked, “How are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:14). Don’t let people run toward the judgment seat of Christ in ignorance, for ignorance shall not be an excuse.

I really don’t see politics in the Clinton email scandal (since God reigns, I’ve given up caring a great deal about politics). Instead, I see a vital spiritual lesson we need to learn, viz., our intent to violate the law does not matter, for God will hold all of us accountable for the things done in the body, whether good or evil.

God bless!

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