WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT CORRUPTION IN LEADERSHIP?

Since Donald Trump has been in the White House, a considerable amount of evidence has surfaced about members of the Trump Administration colluding with Russian operatives who interfered with the 2016 election as well as possible evidence of “obstruction of justice” by Trump and members of his administration.  In the months leading up to the election, we learned that Donald Trump, Jr. met with a woman who was a “Russian government attorney” in hopes of obtaining damaging information on Hillary Clinton, according to emails that Trump Jr. released on Twitter.  These emails show that Trump Jr. believed that he was receiving “high level and sensitive” information that was part of “Russia and its government’s support” for Trump Sr.  That meeting, which included Trump Jr., former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, took place on June 9, 2016. His admission follows months of blanket denials from Trump officials about a willingness to collude with Russians during the 2016 campaign.  This incident is just one of a number of scandal ridden situations that continue to surface about the Trump administration. Some of Trump’s former staff members have already been indicted by Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.  Trump claims to be a Christian and it’s not up to me to challenge whether he is or isn’t.  I am proud to be a Christian and I have been curious about what the Bible says about following corrupt leadership. Based on my research, I have concluded that Christians should not follow or support corrupt leaders.

Ephesians 5:11 says, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”

The Bible is absolutely clear about how Christians must react to such things when exposed to them. We are to have “no part” or take no part in it, meaning not even a little, and tiny part. Having “no part” means avoiding the “works of darkness” altogether, and that means avoiding those who do them. In fact, we’re told to expose them because whoever breaks man’s laws also breaks God’s laws (Romans 13:1-5).

Romans 13.1 says, “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” If this is so, what about the bad governments like those that abuse their authority.  If God is the one who sets up governments, are we supposed to obey those bad governments?  The answer is no.

The Bible tells us to obey governments unless they violate Scripture. Acts 5:20 says, “We must obey God rather than men.” Whenever a government violates biblical teaching, Christians are obligated to disobey that government.  For example, if our government were to declare that we should kill all Muslims or Gay and Lesbian Americans as some Right-Wing Republicans have threatened to do, we should disobey.  Governments are run by people and there is much evidence in the Trump Administration that it has become corrupt.  Furthermore, the Bible never tells us to obey governments in contradiction to the revealed word of God.

In the Old Testament, God sent the Israelites to destroy different nations.  Technically speaking, we could say that God set up those various governmental systems that He told the Israelites to destroy.  But when systems become ungodly and anti-Christian, they are no longer properly representing God and should not be obeyed.

Are we seeing a conflict or a contradiction?  Not at all.   For example, Exodus 20, where we see two commandments: obey your parents and do not murder.  We can see that our parents are the authorities above us, even as governments are, and we should obey them.  But, what should we do it our parents tell us to murder someone? Should we obey?  Of course not.  Obedience to our parents is only proper when it’s consistent with the rest of the Scriptures.  Likewise, submission to the governmental systems is only proper when it is consistent with Scripture.

Genesis 6:5 tells us that “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

When Jesus was speaking about the end of the age, He mentioned that it will be like in the days of Noah and He said, “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt 24:37-39). Imagine how hard doing business would have been in Noah’s day when all that they thought about was evil, continually, and every intention (business or otherwise) was always with a wicked heart. Do you see similarities today? Everyone’s going about their business, just as in Noah’s day, when the flood of God’s judgment came sweeping them all away.

Hosea 9:9 says, “They have deeply corrupted themselves as in the days of Gibeah; he will remember their iniquity; he will punish their sins.”

The “days of Gibeah” are like those of today. When a “Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered and said, “I came to Gibeah that belongs to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to spend the night. And the leaders of Gibeah rose against me and surrounded the house against me by night. They meant to kill me, and they violated my concubine, and she is dead” (Judges 4-6). So the days of Gibeah are like those we live in today with increasing violence in American cities and suburbs unfortunately representing Trump’s America. The point Hosea makes is that God “will punish their sins” and no one will get away with anything on Judgment Day (Rev 20:12-15).

Proverbs 28:15 “Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people.”

This is a great proverb because that’s what it feels like when wicked rulers are governing the land and it seems to be what’s happening today. Proverb 14:34 says “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” and that’s what this nation and many other nations are before a holy and just God. President Ronald Reagan once said that the most frightening words ever heard were, “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.” When the wicked are in power, it’s often a judgment of God, just like He did with ancient Israel. It’s like the nation gets the leadership they (and we) deserve and so He may be using evil rulers as part of His holy judgment against the nations.

When a nation exalts God, God will exalt that nation, and it’s obvious to me that He has exalted the United States for hundreds of years given the kind of nation we have become.  Today, because of the Trump presidency, the United States can no longer be exalted because it no longer honors God’s core values such as taking care of the poor, showing love for everyone including Gay, Lesbian and Muslim Americans, and embracing and honoring the fundamental principles contained in the Bill of Rights that says, “that all men are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These words remind those in government, not just in this country but in all nations, of the limits of their power, a moral boundary that must never be violated if the government is to retain its legitimacy.

Evidence seems to suggest that Donald Trump has a corrupt Administration, and its leadership is more interested in self than the people they should be serving.  The Republican congress has also become corrupt in a number of ways.  For example, despite evidence to the contrary, it refuses to hold Trump accountable for its actions including possible “obstruction of justice.” It has confirmed unqualified individuals as judges, some receiving life-time appointments.  Its committees that were established both in the Senate and House were supposedly designed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election yet they have decided to attack the FBI and the Justice Department in an attempt to halt the Special Counsel’s investigation.  Without any input by Democrats or even a hearing, they passed tax legislation designed to favor the rich but screws the middle class.  This “terrible” legislation does provide some temporary tax relief for the middle-class but provides permanent tax benefits for the rich and within the next several years, will cause several millions of Americans to lose their health care. To pay for the huge deficit this tax bill will cause, Republicans have started the process to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to be sure they are able to sustain the billions of dollars in tax cuts for the rich.

Romans 13:6-7, tell us, “For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.” Notice that Paul says that the rulers are servants of God.  This is the context of the submission that is mentioned at the beginning of the chapter.  If our rulers are no longer servants of God and if they continue to contradict Scripture, they are not to be obeyed. Remember, it is God Who “removes kings and sets up kings,” (Dan 2:21). God removed Saul and he can surely remove Donald Trump, but this is just my take.

 

 

SEXUAL HARASSMENT/MISCONDUCT PART 2

What do you do if you become a victim of sexual harassment?  Keep a record of the events surrounding the sexual harassment including the date, time, place, and who was present.  These notes may become very important in litigating the case but the notes may be required to be turned over to the employer during the discovery phase of litigation. Check the company’s employee handbook, if one exists, to determine if the company has a procedure for handling sexual harassment complaints. If there is a procedure for filing a sexual harassment complaint, it must be complied with.  If you do not complain to the employer, the employer can successfully defend itself from liability by arguing that it was not aware of the problem and therefore was unable to remedy the harassment.  However, if the problem is not remedied, the employee may wish to speak to an attorney for advice on how to file a formal complaint with the appropriate federal or state or city agency, or the employee may contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for information.

Once the employer is informed about the sexual harassment, what must the employer do?  Once the employer knows or should have known about the harassment, it has a duty to take immediate and appropriate corrective action to end the harassment.  The employer’s response must be reasonably calculated to end the harassment and if earlier discipline did not end the harassment, more severe discipline is required.

Is my employer still responsible if the harasser is a co-worker?  If the demand for sexual favors is made by a co-worker with no power to affect employment opportunities, a quid pro quo harassment cannot be claimed.  However, it may be claimed that the co-workers actions create a hostile work environment and an employer may be held liable for the conduct of the employee if the employer knew or should have known of the employee’s conduct and failed to take prompt remedial action to stop the harassment.

What is “hostile work environment” sexual harassment?  An employee has the right to work in an environment that is free of discrimination, intimidation, insult and ridicule.  The employee as a potential claim for hostile work environment if the sexual harassment unreasonably interferes with work performance or creates an offensive or intimidating work environment.  In order to have a claim for hostile work environment, it must be proven that there was more than a single incident of harassment. It must also be shown that the sexual conduct was unwelcome.

What are examples of a hostile or offensive work environment? Sexually-charged jokes or pranks, being grabbed or whistled at, sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature can create a hostile work environment and can qualify as sexual harassment.  Conduct that makes the workplace sexually charged does not need to be directly aimed at an individual. For example, being subject to offensive company-wide emails may create a hostile or offensive work environment.

What must be shown in order to recover damages for a hostile work environment?  It must be shown that the unwelcome sexual conduct was so severe and pervasive that it “altered the conditions of employment by creating a psychologically abusive work environment.”  The employer may be held liable if the employer knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take prompt remedial steps to stop the harassment.

How can it be proven that the harassing conduct was severe or pervasive enough to alter the working conditions and create an abusive environment?  Both an objective and a subjective standard must be met.  The objective standard is met if a Court determines that a “reasonable person in the position” would have considered the conduct severe or pervasive.  Under the subjective standard, it must be found that the conduct was sufficiently severe or pervasive to interfere with the work environment. In other words, a Court looks at what the reaction to the conduct was, and whether the reaction was reasonable, according to how a “reasonable person in the position” would have reacted.

What types of damages can be recovered if successful in demonstrating sexual harassment? A Court may order the company to: stop the harassment; pay lost wages and other job-related losses (e.g. promotions, or favorable work status lost because of the sexual harassment); pay compensation for physical, mental and emotional injuries; pay punitive damages; pay attorneys’ fees and expenses associated with litigating the case.  Not all employment disputes require a lawsuit, and sometimes negotiation is the best course of action.

In a 2010 study conducted by the University of Michigan, it was found that 90% or 9 out of ten women have suffered from sexually harassment in their workplace at some point in their lives. This fact indicates that despite the prevailing laws on sexual harassment, modern women are still currently confronting these kinds of treatment in their work environment.  According to the Equal Rights Advocates, sexual harassment in the workplace can be defined as the “severe or pervasive act within a sexual nature that can create a hostile work environment and affect working conditions.” Additionally, if the person being harassed has been refused of the benefits of their profession mainly because they denied someone sexual favors, then that can be considered as sexual harassment. Although a majority of harassment cases involve a male harasser, there have been cases where the harasser was female.  Every employee has the right to work in a safe, hostile free environment.  The law is clear – Sexual Harassment is illegal in government, business and industry.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT/MISCONDUCT (PART 1)

Over the past several days, over 35 cases of sexual misconduct involving high-profile individuals such as Donald Trump with over 13 allegations, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Al Franken, John Conyers, Matt Lauer, Ben Affleck, George H.W. Bush, Charlie Rose, and, of course, Roy Moore have been reported. Aside from Trump’s appalling behavior where he admits to grabbing women by the p_ _ _y, Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is probably the most despicable.  In fact, some have labeled him as a Pedophile resulting from his improper pursuit of a 14 year old girl when Moore was in his 30s. What I and others are having considerable difficulty in understanding is that so-called “Christians” and “Evangelicals” continue to support Trump and Moore in spite of their behavior. Kay Ellen Ivey, the Governor of Alabama, and other Moore supporters, would prefer that a “Pedophile” be in the Senate rather than any “liberal.” I wonder how she and the rest of the Roy supporters would have reacted if that 14 year old was their daughter or grand-daughter. Unlike Franken and Conyers, the allegations against Trump and Moore specifically include sexual assault.

According to the United States Department of Justice, sexual assault is “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” Sexual assault is basically an umbrella term that includes sexual activities such as rape, fondling, and attempted rape. However, the legal definition varies depending on the state, and can even be different depending on where you were when the assault happened.  For example, sexual assault on college campuses in California means a sex act that occurred without affirmative consent (which is described as active, voluntary participation), while California criminal law defines rape as nonconsensual sexual intercourse, and other laws govern different forms of sexual assault beyond intercourse.

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies, labor organizations, as well as to the federal government.  Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

What is sexual harassment?  Sexual harassment is defined as “unwelcome sexual advances or conduct” and includes quid pro quo harassment or a hostile or offensive work environment. Sexual harassment is any kind of sexual conduct that is unwelcome and/or inappropriate for the work place.  Sexual harassment can take many forms such as verbal harassment, e.g. sexual or dirty jokes, visual harassment, e.g. drawings, emails, etc., physical harassment, and sexual favors, e.g. sexual advances, confrontation with sexual demands (quid pro quo sexual harassment). In the work place, sexual harassment can come from the owner, supervisors, managers, and co-workers. Sexual harassment does not only occur in the work place; it can occur off-site at office functions and parties.

Who can be held responsible of sexual harassment at work?  Both the employer and employees are liable for sexual harassment.

What is quid pro quo sexual harassment? Quid pro quo sexual harassment takes place when a supervisor or someone with authority over a person demands sexual favors in exchange for a promotion, raise or some other benefit, including keeping a job. The demand for sexual favors can be explicit, e.g. “If you have sex with me, I will promote you,” or it can be implied from unwelcome physical contact such as touching or fondling.

What must be proved to prevail in a cause of action for quid pro quo sexual harassment?  A person must show that a supervisor, or someone with authority over their job, explicitly or implicitly conditioned a job, retention of the job, a job benefits (raise, business trip, or some other benefit), on the acceptance of sexual conduct. It must be demonstrated that the harasser is someone with authority who can affect conditions of employment. It must also be proved that the sexual conduct was unwelcome.

How can it be proved that the sexual conduct was unwelcome?  The harassee may show that the conduct was unwelcome by showing that they: explicitly rejected his/her sexual advances; they suffered emotional distress; their job performance deteriorated; they avoided the harasser; they told friends and/or family of the harassment; and they told a company representative of the harassment.  Each case is different and a particular case may or may not include some of these examples.

What are the remedies in a quid pro quo sexual harassment case? The law provides that the harassee may recover damages from their employer once they have proven that they were deprived of a job benefit or suffered an adverse employment action, e.g. failure to promote or termination of employment because they refused to accept the supervisor’s sexual demands.

CONTINUED IN PART 11