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What Freedom Demands:
Integrity and Trust

February 2, 2015

A few decades ago, Bill Griffith, a news reporter for CNBC, interviewed a senior member of the Templeton family who managed at the time the very famous and successful Templeton Funds. Griffin’s hope was to discuss the reasons for their success.  The elder Templeton replied that their success came from trust.  They never invested unless a common trust existed between the parties.  Trust and integrity breeds’ life into all that is important.  Integrity isn’t just about financial transactions, it is the life blood of relationships; it is that which adds meaning and identity to our being.

True integrity embraces honesty; rejects falsehood, manipulation and guile.  Integrity seeks first to forgive and ask forgiveness and only then for a fair resolution.  It exhibits patience, even when ridiculed.  It shows courage, even when others don’t see it.  It stresses fixing ourselves first, knowing it is only then that our chances for outside success will improve.  Integrity is not relativism.  Its foundation lies upon unchangeable natural laws that were established by God. 

We wonder about how well prepared we are for what lies ahead.  Christian Smith, an eminent sociologist from Norte Dame conducted a study on morality and integrity.  In doing so his team conducted in depth interviews with 230 college-age students.  As reported in the NY Times, “The interviewers asked open-ended questions about right and wrong, moral dilemmas and the meaning of life. In the rambling answers… the young people [were] groping to say anything sensible on these matters. But they just don’t have the categories or vocabulary to do so…”  

“When asked to describe a moral dilemma they had faced, two-thirds of the young people either couldn’t answer the question or described problems that are not moral at all, like whether they could afford to rent a certain apartment or …had enough quarters to feed the meter at a parking spot.”

“The study reports most of the students’ default positions were that moral choices are just a matter of individual taste -- relativism with no absolutes to anchor their beliefs.  They seek happiness but can’t seem to find it!”

This editorial’s primary author is an avid baseball fan, one influenced by the powerful story of Jackie Robinson.  Jackie, being the first of his race to penetrate the unjustified rules barring players of color from playing in the Major Leagues, exhibited integrity and character.   He patiently endured heckling, spiking, and being shunned by some of his own teammates.  One sportswriter wrote he was “the loneliest man I’ve ever seen in sports.”

Integrity is something you have, not something you do!  When you have it, it opens doors because it exudes trust.  Where integrity and trust are, relationships flourish. Without this foundational cornerstone there will be no chance for building relationships or consensus. There will always be disagreements over matters of policy but with trust and integrity disagreements can be overcome. Unfortunately we don’t see much of this in Washington these days.  Those without integrity lash out at those who have it, much like what happened to Jackie Robinson. 

Now more than ever we need to see more integrity within our Nation.  Have it, build trust upon it, and with God’s help our nation will continue to be a light to the world.

Mark Mansius, Bill Sargent, and John Gay