Ethical questions surrounding President Reagan’s arms-for-hostages trade with Iran are generating bipartisan soul searching on Capitol Hill. In interviews conducted prior to this month’s joint congressional hearings on the Iran-contra affair, Christian lawmakers pointed out painful ironies in the events. They also described opportunities for Christians to learn valuable lessons about the hazards of governing.
U.S. Rep. Don Bonker (D-Wash.) pointed out, “If anyone other than Ronald Reagan were in the White House, Christians would be saying, ‘Let’s get a Christian in there.’ … [The Iran-contra affair] is cause for introspection about what we expect from our leaders, about values and attributes we want to see them possess in their personal and their public lives.”
On the other side of the aisle, U.S. Rep. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) said he hopes the Reagan administration’s difficulties will result in wiser discernment among Christians. “We are not looking just for Christians in government,” he explained. “We are looking for competent Christians who understand the process and who will take the time to learn how the system works.”
Lessons To Be Learned
Some of the profits from the arms sales to Iran were reportly funneled to Nicaraguan counterrevolutionaries, known as contras. Vast sums of that money remain unaccounted for, calling into question the secrecy surrounding the Reagan administration’s actions.
“There was a notion that we could conduct a lot of business in secret,” said U.S. Sen. William Armstrong (R-Colo.). “In the final analysis, very little remains secret. I think we ought to include on the federal payroll somebody who would ...1
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