Exodus 20:5 contains a difficult statement about the sins of the father being “visited” upon the son. I think I get it, at least in a way. I am an adult child of a violent and alcoholic father and to this day I continue to suffer manifestations of his abuse. Issues of trust and incidences of neglect and abandonment rear their ugly heads periodically as I sometimes still feel like collateral damage left in the wake of his “sins.”
But nowhere in Exodus does it say that the sins of the son should be visited upon the father. Sometimes, however, people like to try to slip the reversal of Exodus 20:5 into the interpretation. For example, about seven years ago, a hate crime murder of a Latino man occurred in the community in which I live. He was attacked by seven teenagers from the local high school. Despite their age, they were tried as “adults” and all received severe prison sentences. Then the family of the Latino man sued the families of the teenagers, seeking huge financial compensation from the parents of the teenagers for not taking adequate care of their “children” that, in part, resulted in the murder. The parents were enablers. The lawsuit failed.
Presently, we have a national presidential campaign in which forces friendly to Donald Trump have released scummy ads holding Hillary Clinton partially responsible for the behavior and actions of her husband. His wife was an enabler. My hope is that this antic will also fail.
I call upon all self-described Christians, Jews and other persons and institutions of faith to disavow Donald Trump and his handlers and financial contributors for these morally indefensible, crude, rude, vulgar and ugly attempts to implicate Hillary Clinton in the sins and transgressions of her husband, Bill Clinton. We should know better. I suspect we do.
For those who are entertained by and advocate violent and abusive language and confrontations in presidential primary elections ~ take heart! The Bible also says that those who are without sin should cast the first stone (not surprisingly, against an accused woman). But if you must, cast the stone of condemnation against Bill, not his spouse.
Dwight Lee Wolter is the author of several books and the pastor of the Congregational Church of Patchogue on Long Island, New York. He blogs at dwightleewolter.com