by Ken Gardner

Where is there more corruption in government, in Mexico or the U.S.? Before you answer, read yesterday’s newspaper. And try to keep up with what’s going on in Dallas. Yes, there’s corruption in the Mexican government, law enforcement, and military. I doubt if anyone denies that. Last week the Mexico’s Senate passed a major reform bill, aimed at curbing abuses in the judicial system. “Legal observers…say the current court system has encouraged corruption and led to many wrongful convictions.”

So, yes, it’s common knowledge that there’s a certain amount of corruption in Mexico. But before we’re too critical of other countries, maybe we should take a closer look at ourselves. Just how much corruption is there in our government? However much there is, there seems to be more and more all the time. The district attorney in Rockwall, Ray Sumrow, is on trial right now for forgery, theft and record tampering. Last week, former Dallas city council member James Fantroy was convicted of bilking $20,000 from Paul Quinn College in Oak Cliff. And Lynn Flint Shaw, chairman (excuse me, chairwoman) of DART, has had to resign and is facing charges that she forged the district attorney’s signature in order to deceive a creditor.

Why so much corruption? What’s going on? That’s what James Ragland, Dallas Morning News columnist, has been wondering. So he decided to ask the FBI, who’s investigating these cases. They’ve got their hands full trying to deal with all this corruption. Their case load has increased 50% in just the last few years. “In the last two years alone…about 1,800 federal, state and local officials have been caught up in public corruption investigations.”

Why there’s such an increase in this criminal activity right now, I don’t know that anyone knows. But the authorities do have some ideas why people do these things. To put it simply, it’s because they’re greedy and arrogant. They think they’re above the law, or that they won’t get caught. “I believe it’s true of most criminal activity—people believe they have the answers, they have the methods to conceal these activities,” and FBI agent commented. “Every criminal believes they probably are going to get away with it.”

I don’t know if this FBI agent reads his Bible or not, but he almost sounds like a prophet. According to God’s word, some wicked people “persist in going their own way” (Deu. 29:19, NIV). They are “determined to disobey the Lord” (I Kings 21:25-29, CEV) and “to do whatever the Lord hates” (II Kings 17:17, CEV). They “sin against the Lord even worse than before,” even after they have been punished (II Chron. 28:22, CEV). They “are abominable and filthy” and “drink iniquity like water” (Job 15:16). They “are so terribly evil that they thirst for sin” (Job 15:16, CEV). They “shake their fists at God” (Job 15:25). They “love the taste of sin; they relish every bite and swallow it slowly” (Job 20:12-13, CEV). They say to God, “Leave us alone! Don’t bother us with your teachings. What do we gain from praying and worshipping you?” (Job 21:14-16, CEV). They are “too proud to turn to God or even think about God” (Psalm 10:4, CEV). They “don’t respect God; sin is all they think about” (Psalm 36:1, CEV). They “sin without fear” (Psalm 64:4). They “rejoice to do evil” (Prov. 2:14). They “sleep not, except they have done mischief” (Prov. 4:16-17). They “gulp down evil” (Prov 19:28, NIV), “crave evil” (Prov. 21:10). They “do not know how to do right” (Amos 3:10). They sin so much their sins are “piled up to heaven” (Rev. 18:5, NIV).

But regardless of why they do it, or how much they do it, the fact of the matter is, they will be caught and punished. Agent Casey said, “This [public corruption] is a serious business….If a person right now is committing acts of corruption, they should be very nervous. They should be looking over their shoulder.”

But if the FBI doesn’t get them, you can be sure God will. Through the prophet Zephaniah, God told the Israelites, “I’ll search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those people who sit there unworried while thinking, ‘The Lord won’t do anything, good or bad” (Zeph. 1:12, CEV).

Yes, God will so something.