Most of the Psalms were written by King David. David had an affair with a married woman named Bathsheba. He ordered her husband, Uriah, sent to the front lines because David knew Uriah would be killed. She was pregnant at the time with David's child. Still, God used David, after he repented, to produce some of the most beautiful, profound and yes, "virtuous," words ever written. (see 2 Samuel 11)
If the standard is that one must be perfect in order to speak or write about man's fallen nature - or about societal weaknesses - then we would have no laws or morals at all, because "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), including those who write the laws to control us. Every word in Scripture came from the pen of a man who had sinned. It is not how far short of the standard anyone has fallen, but whence comes the standard itself. Neither Bill Bennett nor I make the rules or set the standard. Was Bennett humble enough? Probably not. Am I? Absolutely not. Does that dilute the power of the standard we proclaim? Certainly not.
Even had Bennett been perceived as humble, would that have mattered to critics like Kinsley? Unlikely. Mother Teresa was the most humble person I have ever met, but her humility probably did not convert many pro-abortionists to her point of view.
Bennett's enemies will use his gambling problem as a kind of reverse sermonizing, but what are they going to do - come out for debauchery, chicanery and vice? They pay homage to virtue by their condemnation of Bennett, acknowledging that a standard for human conduct does exist, otherwise it wouldn't matter what he said or did.
Like all of us, Bill Bennett suffers from certain vices. But that does not override the virtues he has proclaimed.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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