Six Honest Serving-Men The Whole Truth
By Al Cronkrite The Covenant News ~ March 21, 2008
I keep six honest serving-men; (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When; And How and Where and Who. Rudyard Kipling
Paul Harvey’s sometimes intrusive but startling rendition of the “Rest of the Story” is an everyday occurrence on hundreds of radio programs. His short segments report the unreported “who” from little known incidents in the lives of well known people.
Filed in the archives of my aging brain is the indelible fact that every complete story must contain all the elements of Kipling’s “six honest serving-men”. This fact was taught to me in school and later was strongly re-emphasized during my tenure in the Army Counter Intelligence Corps. Reports submitted in The Corps were expected to contain each of these elements and if one was missing the report was returned to the agent requesting more information.
Every newspaper story should inform the reader about who, what, when, where, why, and how. Journalists who fail to ferret out all of these “honest serving-men” fail in their job as reporters and editors.
Unfortunately, most of the news published and aired throughout the United States is short one or more of these essentials.
Take the case of New York governor Eliot Spitzer. A crusading governor of a major state has been disgraced and excoriated following the publication of reports of a ten year record of sexual dalliances with a variety of prostitutes. Cal Thomas used his column to go as far as the fourth estate would allow by quoting C. S. Lewis: “We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.” Thomas accuses our society of hypocrisy for expecting clean behavior from public figures while tacitly allowing our culture to become a cesspool. Pastor Chuck Baldwin condemned the unlawful intrusion by government and questioned the timing and reason for the charges. Read his column here.
Most of the stories published in the media on the Spitzer affair missed the “why”.
On February 18th, 2008 Eliot Spitzer published an article in the Washington Post that began with this paragraph,
“Several years ago, state attorneys general and others involved in consumer protection began to notice a marked increase in a range of predatory lending practices by mortgage lenders. Some were misrepresenting the terms of loans, making loans without regard to consumers' ability to repay, making loans with deceptive "teaser" rates that later ballooned astronomically, packing loans with undisclosed charges and fees, or even paying illegal kickbacks. These and other practices, we noticed, were having a devastating effect on home buyers. In addition, the widespread nature of these practices, if left unchecked, threatened our financial markets.” Read the article here.
Greg Palast began an expose with these words: “While New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was paying an ‘escort’ $4,300 in a hotel room in Washington, just down the road, George Bush’s new Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke, was secretly handing over $200 billion in a tryst with mortgage bank industry speculators.” Palast saddles the Bush Administration with creating the mortgage crisis and writes that Spitzer used his own money while Bernake is using ours. Read the entire article here.
I was never a big Dan Rather fan, always feeling I would “rather not” and changing the channel. He seemed to express a repulsive arrogance. Mary Mapes worked for Rather at CBS and when he was exiled she was too. Her book “Truth and Duty” presents a defense of a scenario that was never really there. On several occasions Dan Rather appeared on television defending media freedom to report any and all of the news. On one Larry King Live program he claimed absolute freedom.
Mapes repeatedly expresses a naïve respect for Rather but contradicts his claim of freedom, writing that “corporate ownership dictated everything from financial decisions to content choices…” and maintaining that Sumner Redstone, ”Viacom’s chairman and big chief”, cow-towed to the Bush II Administration and even voted for Bush because of the tremendous power the government has over the media.
Rather and Mapes were taken down over the authentication of documents concerning the tenure of George W. Bush in the Air National Guard back in 1972. Letters supporting their story were not the originals and were subject to speculation. The story itself was confirmed by various sources and both Mapes and Rather still maintain it was authentic. The story inferred that power and privilege allowed George W. Bush to evade his duty without penalty. It was the kind of story that a free media should be printing on a regular basis.
One of the “whys” missing from the Spitzer saga concerns timing. Pastor Baldwin asks why after ten years it is now big news, and if there were other clients involved in the FBI’s investigation, who were they? Good questions a thorough, unbiased editor should have provided.
Another current informative piece relates facts that have been missing for nearly 70 years. Robert Hicks presents some of the “whys” involved in the Second World War. Revealing government secrets is dangerous and lacking journalistic integrity the mainstream press avoids it. To the probably chagrin of many Americans it appears World War II was not only contrived but probably unnecessary. Read Hick’s article here.
Missing in the Spitzer affair and never properly discussed by either the press or the church is the popular concept of the separation of church and state. The church and the state are to function as separate entities but both are to be accountable to God and the church is to monitor the state. Christians are quick to condemn Spitzer’s behavior but slow to recognize their own culpability. Humanists do not live by God’s legal system. Unrestrained sexual activity is a hallmark of secular society and is common in elite circles where the powerful and wealthy live without the restraints of absolutes. They deem their superior wealth, power, and intellect qualifies them to rule over their inferiors and to make their own laws. When Christians cast their vote for these pseudo-Christians, charlatans, and humanists, they should not expect them to abide by Christian standards.
Washington, D.C. is a full septic tank that has run over into the entire nation. Its putrid effluence is killing our country and our electorate continues to vote it in. Over and over I read good articles lamenting uncontrolled immigration, rampant immorality, abortion, the dumbing down of our children, and other of the pervasive ills of our culture, only to find that the author voted for and supports George W. Bush and the illegal war in Iraq. The incongruity of this phenomenon completely evades them and they stubbornly intend to do it again in the next election. Our electorate is voting for war and tyranny!
A Christian society is impossible without the immutable yardstick of God’s Law. If we continue to support and vote for a secular government we should stop being surprised that the individuals we elect are cruel, immoral, untrustworthy, treasonous, and divisive.
Journalists and media moguls are not the only ones guilty of forgetting the six essentials; pastors, priests, and other Christian leaders often send their listeners away with insubstantial, cuddly feelings and no inkling of how they should behave.
The majority of the voters in the United States have no discernment. They believe they must cast their vote for one of the candidates of the two major political parties whose mendacious rhetoric is designed to cater to their belief system. Reasoning that the candidate should be viable they stubbornly fail to understand that they are using secular logic and are falling into the trap set for them by the hidden powers that control both major political parties.
Their preachers do not help them understand the “why” and the “how” of Christian political behavior. They sinfully omit their function as gatekeepers for lawful government, instead acting as if government was not part of God’s dominion. This tragedy has allowed tyrannical government to replace freedom producing Biblically based legal standards.
Correction is a serious problem in our culture. The Bible records the need for rebuke but rebuke is scorned by both Christian leaders or their followers.
A.W. Tozer, a truth teller from a past era, wrote that pastors should closely consider criticism from whatever source and if truth existed in it amend their ways accordingly. Tozer wrote:
“If anyone imagines that we are merely playing with words let him approach at random any religious leader and call attention to the weaknesses and sins of his organization. Such a one will be sure to get the quick brush off, and if he dares to persist he will be confronted with reports and statistics to prove that he is dead wrong and completely out of order. ‘We be the seed of Abraham’ will be the burden of the defense. And who would dare find fault with Abraham’s seed?”
Powerful King David when he received a confrontational rebuke from Nathan the prophet provided a sterling example of the way a Christian leader is to respond to criticism. Tozer elaborates with these suggestions:
1. Don’t defend your church or your organization against criticism. If the criticism is false it can do no harm. If it is true you need to hear it and do something about it.
2. Be concerned not with what you have accomplished but what you might have accomplished if you had followed the Lord completely. It is better to say (and feel),’We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.’
3. When reproved pay not attention to the source. Do not ask whether it is a friend or an enemy that reproves you. An enemy is often of greater value to you than a friend because he is not influenced by sympathy.
4. Keep your heart open to the correction of the Lord and be ready to receive His chastisement regardless of who holds the whip. The great saints all learned to take a licking gracefully – and that may be one reason they were great saints.
Pastors are only half of the problem, laypeople should pay heed as well.
Now, dear ones consider how much farther the Kingdom would have progressed if our preachers and parishioners had heard and received Godly rebuke and been able to properly prepare for battle. Where would we be if our laypeople had refused to settle for milk and demanded meat? What would happen if lay Christians began to seek to know “how” they can change the culture? What would happen if lay Christians began a quest for weapons of warfare rather than medicines for diseases? We need a God directed, action filled, message from King Jesus on how to properly defend His Kingdom!
Begin to seek all of the “six honest serving-men”. Be critical of stories in the press and media that fail to provide the complete story and listen to you pastor or priest for instruction on “what” work needs to be done and “how” it is to be accomplished.