King David and Eric Greitens
People have an innate sense of justice.
One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful,3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba,the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” 4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. 5 The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”
2 Samuel 11 - NIV
A friend and political ally has called on Governor Greitens to resign. I, of course, have called on him to fight on. “If you want to change the world,” said Admiral William H. McRaven (SEAL), “don’t ever, ever ring the bell.” I don’t need to tell Governor Greitens that. He never rang the bell in BUD/S school. I don’t expect him to ring the much smaller, dinkier bell in Jefferson City.
In an email conversation with that friend (which was very cordial and friendly), I asked what the Governor did to lose his favor. My friend’s responses were completely reasonable and consistent with the kind of man he is: honest, moral, and decent. His reasons seemed to boil down to two, which I’ll summarize as:
- He feels Governor Greitens, as a candidate, lied to him by portraying himself as a loving husband even while his, now infamous, affair was going on.
- He feels the New Missouri 501(c)4 is a pool of dark money the governor uses to intimidate and harass legislators.
So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. 8 Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. 9 But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.10
David was told, “Uriah did not go home.” So he asked Uriah, “Haven’t you just come from a military campaign? Why didn’t you go home?”11
Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents,[a] and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”
2 Samuel 11
I responded to my friend:
Is it possible that he truly considered himself a loving husband even though he was having an affair? I know that sounds ridiculous, but isn’t there a difference between holding seemingly conflicting thoughts and lying? Personally, I have many inconsistencies between my self-image and my actions. I try, of course, to recognize and reconcile them, but it’s a daily struggle.
Bill Hennessy in an email
And ended with this:
Surely, if God and Israel could forgive David for his tryst with Bathsheba, murdering her husband, and defying God’s order regarding a census, [we can forgive the governor]. Yes, David felt the consequence of his actions when his son [died]. But he remained king. And . . . we know [how] that story ends in David’s hometown of Bethlehem.
Bill Hennessy in an email
My friend replied that Governor Greitens should suffer consequences just as David did. He went on to mention that I failed to address the 501(c)4.
In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”16
So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. 17 When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.
2 Samuel 11
I explained that I can’t really comment on the 501(c)4 issue. I have served on the boards of two such organizations. Both of those organizations kept their donors secret. Both existed almost exclusively to change legislation by educating and training grassroots activists.
Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 9 Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’
2 Samuel 12
Why do you think Lois Lerner and Barack Obama tried to stop Tea Party groups from forming 501(c)4s?
Conservatives and libertarians use 501(c)4s to have a fighting chance against the intolerant left. Without them, we’d be toast. Companies and individuals who openly donate to conservative groups are certain to come under attack from all of the mainstream media, radical groups like Common Cause and Antifa, and leftist talk hosts like Jimmy Kimmel. Once a company’s conservatism is exposed, they’re forced to denounce the organizations they’ve donated to.
And when was the last time you remember a corporation bowing down to _conservative_ pressure?
My friend wants all 501(c)4s to be forced to publicize their donors' lists. Maybe he’s right. But I can’t agree without being a hypocrite.
I ended the conversation with this admonition: “Be careful what you wish for.”
David’s army marched out of the city to fight Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. 7 There Israel’s troops were routed by David’s men, and the casualties that day were great—twenty thousand men. 8 The battle spread out over the whole countryside, and the forest swallowed up more men that day than the sword.
2 Samuel 18
Yes, the governor sinned and his sin has and will be punished. I do not wish punishment on him, because I consider Eric Greitens a friend. I don’t want him to suffer.
At the same time, it looks to me like he’s being punished right now.
It also seems to me that his wife has forgiven him or is in the process of forgiving. These things take awhile, and any forgiveness she worked up after learning of the affair probably got wiped out when it hit the press. My prayers are with Sheena and their boys, too. God help them all. They need Him.
As I told my friend, “Eric’s consequences . . . should be chosen by God, Sheena, or his boys, not the legislature.” And not the Post-Dispatch.
He won over the hearts of the men of Judah so that they were all of one mind. They sent word to the king [David], “Return, you and all your men.”
2 Samuel 19
David paid many prices for his sins. But he never surrendered. And, in the end, he prevailed for generations. All generations, if you think about it.
Eric Greitens is not King David. But there are parallels. And there are parallels, lessons, for us.
- You don’t depose the king for sins against God and family. Let God and family settle those disputes.
- You don’t depose the king or undo an election because you don’t like the tactics.
- You don’t depose the king or impeach the governor without so much as evidence of a crime committed in office.
- You don’t destroy 501(c)4s because some 501(c)4s are inconvenient for you.
In the end, despite his failings, King David wrote this:
“If my house were not right with God,
surely he would not have made with me an everlasting covenant,
arranged and secured in every part;
surely he would not bring to fruition my salvation
and grant me my every desire.
6 But evil men are all to be cast aside like thorns,
which are not gathered with the hand.
7 Whoever touches thorns
uses a tool of iron or the shaft of a spear;
they are burned up where they lie.”
Undoing an election is dangerous business, and playing God is folly.
Eric Greitens is our governor, and he’s discharging his office exactly as almost every Republican in Missouri hoped he would, which my friend conceded. Calling for his resignation or impeachment is a dangerous business. You don’t know the consequences of undoing an election. You don’t.
After Nixon’s resignation came the 1974 election. A radical group of Democrats, corrupt and conniving, took over the House and Senate. In 1976, Jimmy Carter became President. (Thank God, Carter was a decent, if inept, man.)
Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush could not completely undo the damage of that 1974 class of Congress and the Carter administration. Welfare reform, following Newt’s amazing taking of the House in 1994, was the first major rollback of the post-Watergate Congress. Now, Trump’s administration is trying to finish the job 44 years later.
The forces arrayed against Governor Greitens are so desperate to undo the 2016 election that Missouri faces a similar fate. Those forces would have our Congressional and state legislative districts determined by a “nonpartisan demographer.” Republican Senators and media are locking arms with Planned Parenthood, the SEIU, NARAL, and Common Cause to bring about that hideous end.
For myself, I will continue to pray that God gives Eric Greitens the strength and the wisdom to carry on. Like David, from whose house came the anointed one in David’s hometown of Bethlehem.
The enemy, my friends, is on the left. Put down your squabbles, mount up, and ride to the sound of the guns.