How much time should Christian talk radio hosts devote to discussion of political topics? There is a place on Christian radio for the discussion of the culture of life issues (abortion, euthanasia, stem-cell research, et al) which have become highly politicized, yet certainly have moral and spiritual implications. But the political topics I have in mind are those related to the policies and behaviors of politicians themselves: the Bush administration’s firing of 8 federal prosecutors, Scooter Libby’s conviction on perjury charges, the funding of the war in Iraq and deadlines for troop withdrawal. These are all partisan issues, with the exception of the Iraq war, the outcome of which has serious implications for the security and future of all Americans.
Take the firing of the 8 federal prosecutors. Attorney General Gonzales is under fire in the media and in Congress for whatever role he may have played in that decision. Never mind the fact that presidents have the authority to fire federal prosecutors. Bill Clinton fired all 93 federal prosecutors at the same time. That’s not the issue. Neither is it a question about whether or not the firings were political in nature. Of course they were! As were the firings of all 93 federal prosecutors by Bill Clinton in 1993.
The focal point of this story both in Congress and in the MSM is what Gonzales knew and whether or not he lied when he said he was not involved in the firings. Christians have pretty high standards when it comes to truth. How important is that story to the Christian community? What is the “Christian” angle? Do we approach the story by focusing on those talking points that vindicate the Bush administration? Or do we focus on the immorality of lying?
What if Gonzales lied? After all he was just lying about what his role was in the firings. There is nothing inappropriate about firing the prosecutors. He clearly has the authority to do so. So what if he were just lying about actually pulling the trigger. That clearly has political implications, but legal ones?
Let’s not kid ourselves, Christian talk radio overall is conservative politically. But should Christian radio approach these kinds of political stories differently than a general news/talk radio format would? Rather than starting from the premise that the conservatives must be defended at all costs, ought not Christian talk radio start from the premise that truth must be discovered and defended at all costs?
Do we give the Bush administration a “Get Out of Jail Free” card because for the most part they are the good guys on the issues that are important to Christian conservatives? When does our political commentary cross the line to a tacit endorsement of a particular politician or political party?
My personal opinion on the Gonzales story is that the Democrats made up their minds before the last election that if they ever regained control of Congress they would make Capitol Hill a marathon of investigative hearings into the Bush Administration with the ultimate goal of impeaching the president. Alberto Gonzales will be but the first of high ranking Bush administration officials to be demonized by the Democrats.
But is my Christian talk radio program an appropriate forum for such a politically infused opinion?