Acts of political courage, and especially political courage borne of religious faith, have always been scarce in Washington, D.C.
We are fortunate to have a rare sighting of such courage yesterday when Senator Mitt Romney announced his conclusion that President Trump was guilty of abuse of power. This is a video of his Senate speech.
Of course, one can never know what prompts another person to act in a certain way. But I believe Romney when he says that his decision was impelled by his faith.
He said, “I swore an oath before God to exercise impartial judgment. I am profoundly religious. My faith is at the heart of who I am.”
After laying the foundation for his vote, he stated the question and his conclusion, “The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the president committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a high crime and misdemeanor. Yes, he did.”
What prompts me to think that his vote was based on his oath before God and not other matters is that there is no upside for him in voting to convict. However, there is a decided downside.
And, the downside backlash he will have to endure will have nothing to do with faith or truth but everything to do with the intense partisanship which infects American politics.
Thus, he will face the scorn of fellow senators for not voting “with the team.”
Many of his constituents will turn against him.
MAGA diehards will do their best to make his life miserable.
Conservative talks show hosts will do the same.
And President Trump and his family will lead the chorus.
Indeed, the piling began immediately and has only intensified.
I admire his action, however, and wonder if it is not actions like this that Jesus was referring to in the Sermon on the Mount when he said, “ ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.’ ” Matthew 5:11-12, NRSV.
The rest of us should do so well in giving our main loyalty to God and not to “the team.”