Friday, May 18, 2018

New Study: 6 Billion People Live In Corrupt Countries

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According to the most recent study from Transparency International, 6 billion people on earth live under the oppression of corruption or the perception of corruption.

Of the 180 countries and territories studied, the report ranks the countries on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is "highly corrupt" and 100 is "very clean."

Very revealing.

The US is not in the top 10 "very clean" ranking.

The Transparency International study "Corruption Perceptions Index 2017" ranks 180 countries and territories for their perceived levels of public-sector corruption through the eyes of experts and business people in those countries.

Transparency International is neither conservative or Christian and their study obviously includes some subjectivity on the part of the "leaders and business people" in these various countries.

However, I think some of their findings reflect on the importance of moral and spiritual social foundations---and is worthy of a closer look.

More than two-thirds of the 180 countries and territories fall closer to "highly corrupt" than to "very clean."

The study reveals that government corruption is the main adversary to freedom.

It particularly causes the loss of the ability of individuals to decide for themselves how best to achieve their dreams and aspirations for themselves and their families.

Corruption or the perception of corruption is identified by this study generally, as extracting arbitrary taxes, demanding bribes, or requiring payment for protection from physical harm.

As you can imagine, Syria, South Sudan, and Somalia rank worst in corruption and are not even ranked in terms of economic freedom.

The United States ranks 16th in corruption and 18th in economic freedom.

You can follow the link to the report above. It's very interesting.

The Heritage Foundation's Daily Signal makes a strong case that government corruption is the true enemy of economic freedom.

It shows if government officials do not have to be open about their actions, they enrich themselves while ignoring the economic freedom of others.

I agree, and encourage you to read the excellent Heritage article.

However, corruption is a symptom not a cause.

The Transparency International study does not address the cultural impact from the loss of religious freedom---and subsequent loss of religious influence---specifically Christian influence.

I assume they would conclude that religious freedom is lost as a result of the lack of government transparency.

Our Founders believed that religious freedom was fundamental to all freedoms---including economic freedom.

The vision of liberty and freedom was understood to extend to all people regardless of their beliefs---or lack thereof.

Thomas Jefferson, not necessarily known as a Christian banner carrier, said:
"God who gave us life, gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? That are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever."

The man who essentially wrote the Declaration believed that the firm basis of liberty and prosperity was a firm conviction that they are a gift from God.

John Quincy Adams, our 6th president, said: "The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."

The American Constitution was the first system devised by man that was based on biblical principles.

Its cornerstone was a belief in the evil nature of man, which produced a conviction that no person can be trusted with power. We all need a Savior, and we all need accountability.

Our Founders held that man's nature is corrupted and irreparable apart from the work of the Holy Spirit and redemption and restoration through Jesus Christ.

This was a radical departure from the history of the birth of all other nations. Until then, man had been ruled by kings who proclaimed to be divinely appointed for the most part, or dictators who squandered the wealth at the expense of the people.

The exception was about 400 years of rule reported in the Old Testament where God ruled over the nation of Israel. When obedient, they experienced prosperity and freedom---when disobedient, they did not.

There is a very interesting and important exchange recorded in I Samuel 8: 5-20. Israel demands an earthly king so they can be "like the other nations"---Samuel warns them an earthly king will abuse his power and send their sons to war, exploit their daughters, confiscate their fields and impose heavy taxation---but they would not listen. The result was a long history of abusive kings.

The American colonists rebelled against such a corrupt abusive king.

They never intended to replace the King of England with a King of America. And interestingly, they never seriously considered establishing an oligarchy form of government even though many of our Founders were wealthy.

The key was that most, not all, but most were devout Christians, and they were fully aware of the biblical teaching about the fallen nature of man.

Jeremiah 17: 5,7,9 is one of several Scriptures that clearly outline man's need for redemption and accountability.

Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind. 
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.
The heart is desperately wicked, who can know it.

Based on this truth, our Founders carefully constructed a representative republic with an ingenious set of checks and balances.

This is why America is exceptional.

America has just experienced 8 years of assault on these founding principles Barack Obama and the progressive Left.

Everything that could be done, was done, to sever America's bonds to our founding biblical principles---to be replaced by European humanism, and secular progressivism.

It did not begin with Obama, it began decades before. He is a product of education based in humanism that rejects our founding Christian principles. He even privately mocked those who cling to the Bible as the source of Truth.

These beliefs are the path backward---not forward, to the very tyranny our Founders rebelled against in King George III.

It was against his tyranny and for these biblical principles that our Founders laid their lives and their fortunes on the line.

This secular study by Transparency International and the well-taken comments about how a free and open economy fights corruption brings me, however, to this:

Patrick Henry, himself one of America's Founders, said: "When people forget God, tyrants forge their chains."

Tyrants are currently forging our chains and sharpening their swords against a president who supports those founding principles, and against the people who deeply believe in the principles.

The question is how much are we willing to lay on the line for our faith and our freedom? Not tomorrow or someday, but today>

Ronald Reagan rightly said, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction."

Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Informed. Be Prayerful. Be Faithful. Be Fearless.