Why President Clinton Should Resign

Article by

Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

This is not an issue of forgiveness. Forgiveness is always possible wherever genuine repentance and faith in Christ are possible. Nor is this a partisan political issue. I rejoice that Christianity cuts across political parties and cultures. Nor is this mainly an issue of impeachment or personal animosity. It is an issue of principled leadership. Why then should he resign? Because he is morally unfit to lead our nation and because his remaining in office would therefore damage both our society and our positive role among nations. Here are some supports for this claim.

1) The length of the sexual involvement with Ms. Lewinsky, as well as other sexual immoralities which the president has confessed, show that his bad judgment, and lack of self-control, and willingness to take reckless risks for personal gratification are not the lapse of a one-night stand in a life of stability and virtue, but are evidence of a long and deep pattern of failed judgment, immoral inclinations, and disregard for numerous sacred commitments, both public and private.

2) The president has broken the sacred and essential covenant of marriage. It is sacred because, as his own Christian profession maintains, it is ordained by God as inviolable. It is essential because a society where infidelity is treated as minor will not hold together. Keeping commitments is at the heart of our social fabric. It will rend and unravel where failure to keep covenants (or contracts) is not despised. Yet the president has done all that language can do to distract from how despicable his covenant-breaking has been.

3) The message the President has sent to all young men is this: "If you can get away with it, it's OK to do it, and if the potential harmful consequences for tens of millions of people don't matter in my case, how much less do the little consequences matter in your case." The president has not taken any of the remarkable opportunities to speak to the young people of our nation about the evil and folly of such behavior, and - as their leader - to call on them to be chaste and to honor women by treating them as persons rather than sexual stimulators.

4) The President has shown callous disregard for the public humiliation of his wife, child and trusting associates, as he not only deceived them, but used them to join him in defending his deception. This kind of self-serving indifference to the pain and shame of others is so base that any attempt to create respect for the office of President while such a person is holding the office will have a deleterious effect on the people by inevitably lowering the standards of respect to the point where it is indistinguishable from disrespect.

5) The President has lied and deceived and distorted truth repeatedly over the years and in these recent months has blatantly looked us in the eye and said that he was not involved sexually with Ms. Lewinsky, and under oath has said that he could not remember being alone with her. These lies, and this manifest manipulation of language to evade truth is so unworthy of public trust, that it is scarcely imaginable that any man could serve in an office of trust after such blatant public dishonesty and corruption of language.

6) The president has brought reproach upon the honor of the office of President of the United States and seriously damaged the esteem of our land in the eyes of the world. He has done this at a time when the moral high ground in world affairs is of extraordinary importance for world peace. The president, for his own fleeting personal gratification, has heightened the stakes of violence and war in an atmosphere of international hatred of America by giving other nations not imaginary, but real, reasons to regard us as a debauched people whose highest leaders are philanderers whom we as a people do not have the moral fiber to remove. This image of America will, in the minds of many adversaries, add moral warrant to any violent intentions they may have against us. The president should have known that the stakes of his moral life are this high, and added that to his disincentive to gratify himself at the expense of the nation. This reckless, foolish and faithless behavior unfits a man to be a world leader in this moral context.

Seeking the good of the nation and the world,

Pastor John