COMMENTARY: Senator Shortey’s Shortcomings
Published: March 20th, 2017
Last week the Oklahoma State Senate unanimously voted to strip Senator Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, of his privileges as a State Senator. He can still vote, but he doesn’t have an office, a legislative assistant or a parking place. Shortey was evidently caught in a motel room with a 17 year old boy and allegedly he wasn’t there to do spiritual counseling with the lad. The Cleveland County DA charged him with three counts, all involving prostitution. Social media blew up after the incident was revealed. Most called for Shortey to resign including the Governor and Lt. Governor. Others said he should be considered innocent until proven guilty and the Senate’s action was too quick.
First, those who thump their Bible better be prepared to be thumped harder than those that don’t when they fall. Shortey claims to be a Christian conservative. He doesn’t drink and he doesn’t chew and he doesn’t run with girls that do. His bio says he studied to be a missionary, but abandoned that idea to go into politics. It seems strange God would lead a man to abandon an eternal calling for a temporal one, but that’s between Shortey and God.
I don’t know Shortey’s spiritual condition before God, but the scripture says there is something known as the ‘fruit of the spirit.’(Gal. 5) Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control flow out of a believer’s heart. True believers aren’t vindictive, retaliatory, hateful and impatient. Those actions are the fruit of the flesh. Sadly, there are more professors than possessors and just because someone says they are regenerated doesn’t mean they are.
Second, depravity is universal. The condemnation of Shortey, by those on both political spectrums reminds me of when the Pharisees brought to Jesus the woman found in adultery. He told them, “He that is without sin, cast the first stone.” One by one they left until not one of the Pharisees was there to accuse her because their conscience condemned them of their own sin. The realized they had a sin nature and except for the grace of God, they were just like the adulterous woman. Bear in mind, the Pharisees were unregenerate. Even the unregenerate know they are not perfect and that they sin. When Adam fell, all mankind fell. We have an inherent sin nature and those who claim they don’t sin are either dishonest or ignorant of their very nature. Depravity manifests itself in many ways and alleged Shortey’s transgression is one that seems particularly grievous, but he that is without sin, cast the first stone. Depravity misses no man.
Third, Shortey should have resigned immediately if the accusations are true. True Christian believers don’t cover up their sin- they repent of it. They face the music. They don’t hire a high powered defense attorney, try to find loopholes and pull legal shenanigans to beat the rap. They do the right thing and repent. Everyone sins, everyone misbehaves, but how a person handles themselves when they do is what defines them. Shortey shouldn’t be concerned about a paycheck or future retirement; he should be concerned about doing what is right. When professing believers sin and then cover it up, dodge responsibility and act like the world, they hurt the cause of the Gospel. If the allegations are true, he is unfit for office, period. He should immediately apologize and resign.
Fourth, political leaders should be like those described in Exodus 18:21. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law gives four attributes of true leaders; able, truthful, those that fear God and hate covetousness. Most modern day leaders exhibit none of these. They instead campaign one way and then lead another way. We need leaders who have conviction and are worried more about the next generation than the next election.
Shortey’s situation should humble anyone who is involved in politics- no matter their ideology. We live in a culture that calls good evil and evil good. Situational ethics rules the day. No one should rejoice when someone fails if they recognize they have the same feet of clay. Shortey should face the consequences for his actions, but the sober man shouldn’t take delight in his shortcomings.
Note: Steve Fair is Treasurer of the Stephens County Republican Party, although the views expressed here are his own, as a frequent commentator on politics and current events. He can be reached by phone at 580.252.6284 or by email email@example.com. His blog is stevefair.blogspot.com. A widely published writer, he last wrote for CapitolBeatOK.com in 2013, honoring the memory of former Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau.