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The public, the private and our principles

[quote_simple]“I have one principle: private affairs are dealt with in private and with respect for privacy of others. This is not the time or place and I will not respond nor answer any question today.”[/quote_simple]

Perhaps Francois Hollande needs a few more principles. His comments come in the middle of press conference the French President gave yesterday when he was asked to comment on his affair with a French actress.

Does the public / private dichotomy work anymore (even if it ever did)? With the virtual omnipresence of social media every citizen is sleeper citizen journalist ready to be called into action. Paparazzi are nearly unnecessary. What our leaders do in private affect their public office? Because the lives of our leaders are up to so much public scrutiny this obviously puts enormous pressure on them.

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The news is literally full of people abusing their positions of power for personal gratification. With ongoing trials for :

Dave Lee Travis
Rolf Harris
Bill Roache

Relating to allegations that they abused their public profile to abuse young girls and women.

Although Hollande’s situation is very different his actions; were not illegal and involved consenting adults. Its hard not to quote Spider man, but doesn’t great power involve greater responsibility and scrutiny.

[quote_box author="" profession=""]• Are you more or less likely to trust a politician who has lied about their expenses?

• Would you be more or less likely to have faith in a politician who has betrayed their partner / loved one / family?

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How do we recognize that just like us our leaders are fallible fallen human beings and yet leadership and trust are inextricably related. Personally, I am very unlikely to follow someone I don’t trust. I am very unlikely to trust someone who can’t keep promises to those they know and loved as they are even less likely to keep promises to people (like me) they don’t know.

I believe in a God who forgave a leader who not only had an affair but committed murder to cover up that affair. The story of King David is a worked example of the grace of God. But before forgiveness was possible the King needed to acknowledge his sin and repent of it. It took a prophet to show King David that in the end nothing is private from God and he calls for integrity in those who are called to lead.

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One thought on “The public, the private and our principles”

  1. There seems to me to be an ongoing public debate about public and private lives.

    Surely citizens look to the leaders of a country for a role model?

    Even if no-one is watching, the subterfuge needed to carry on a private affair whilst in the public scrutiny surely tells us something about the kind of man Hollande is?

    If he can lie and evade private a public scrutiny, what else is he hiding?

    Everyone has secrets, don’t they? Or should a president, prime minister or king or queen have no secrets?

    Interesting article. I believe our leaders should set a better example to young people.

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