No, God didn’t speak to me audibly and tell me who He wants to win the Republican nomination for Presidency. Nor did He pass along His opinion of the job President Obama is doing. He did, however, give some pointed words in Scripture.
But first, let me lay out the situation. Last night I heard on the news (and today read articles from MSNBC and ProPublica which apparently broke the story) that the federally owned lending institution Freddie Mac is still involved in
gambling investing gambling in the housing market.
It seems they have invested in “financial instruments that profit when homeowners are stuck in high-interest mortgages.” This is the company that is supposedly working to refinance so many of those troubled mortgages — reportedly 11 million of them were still in trouble as late as the end of last year. To put that number in perspective, a Freddie Mac rep says they have refinanced 4.3 million during the past three years. That’s roughly 1.1 million a year — not even a tenth of those that needed help in 2011.
It’s hard to believe that Freddie Mac is doing the best they can when they actually profit each time there’s a foreclosure connected with one of their “financial instruments.”
Just as troubling is the hand-wringing that the Federal Reserve is doing, saying that what Freddie Mac is doing is “difficult to justify.” Hmmmm. I thought government was supposed to give oversight to government owned organizations. But as part of the bailout, Freddie Mac was apparently ordered to get out of the risky investment business and they responded by “[doubling] down on securities that pay off when homeowners lose.”
As it turns out the regulatory agency that is … well, to regulate these mortgage institutions, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, now “plays the role of [Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae’s] board of directors and shareholders, responsible for the companies’ major decisions.”
What mystifies me is this: our society holds our athletes — those coddled iconic figures we keep in the green — to a higher standard than we do those in government and in finance.
College athletes — those in the top division of the NCAA — get nothing from anyone. No car (ask Reggie Bush about that), free lunches, watches, shirts, plane tickets home, extra tickets to games. Nothing. And if they break the rules, the powers that be come down with two feet squarely on the head of the entire program, not just the athlete. (Some people think it’s only one foot if you’re Ohio State and two feet if you’re USC, but the point is, there are dire consequences to pay.)
Pro athletes face restrictions, too. Theirs has to do with gambling. For this one, ask Pete Rose. Not only was he kicked out of baseball, he’s excluded from the Hall of Fame because of his indiscretion. Michael Vick went to prison for his part in a gambling scheme involving dog fights. Dogs, not people.
But our banks? They can gamble that Joe the factory worker and Juan the gardener are going to lose their houses.
Meanwhile, our Congressmen, unlike our college athletes, can accept all the lunches and plane trips and game tickets and campaign contributions they want from the very people who have a bill that they’ll be voting on in the next month or so.
What’s the disconnect here? Teach our kids to play it clean, make our athletes keep it fair, but our leaders — they get a different set of rules.
Which brings me back to what God thinks of this sort of shenanigan going on in our government. Take a look at Psalm 36 and notice the difference between the ungodly and God Himself (emphases in these verses are mine).
Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart;
There is no fear of God before his eyes.
2 For it flatters him in his own eyes
Concerning the discovery of his iniquity and the hatred of it.
3 The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit;
He has ceased to be wise and to do good.
4 He plans wickedness upon his bed;
He sets himself on a path that is not good;
He does not despise evil.
5 Your lovingkindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
Your judgments are like a great deep.
O LORD, You preserve man and beast.
7 How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.
8 They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house;
And You give them to drink of the river of Your delights.
9 For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.
10 O continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You,
And Your righteousness to the upright in heart.
11 Let not the foot of pride come upon me,
And let not the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 There the doers of iniquity have fallen;
They have been thrust down and cannot rise.
Perspective. Hearing what God says puts everything in perspective.