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June 12, 2021

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Power Scandals: Abuse of Information Systems for Political Gain

4 min read
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by Elizabeth Sharon MorrisWhite House, Washington DC

Our current political environment and plethora of scandals would seem to support the old adage, “Information is Power.” However, on closer look, it is apparent that what one ‘knows’ is not nearly as important as what one does with it.  Biblically, ‘information’ that doesn’t include understanding and wisdom might be worthless. Ultimately, the only knowledge with any power is that which comes through the Holy Spirit.

It is interesting to note how many of our current scandals involve the abuse of information systems.  Data has been collected from information systems that shouldn’t have been collected, given out that shouldn’t have been given out, or withheld that shouldn’t have been withheld.  Some people are in trouble for using the information system in a criminal manner.  Others are in trouble for not picking up a phone and using the Information system afforded them at all.

So is Knowledge Power?

If Edward Snowden, the man who recently leaked information concerning the government gathering of telephone records, had simply sat on the information and done nothing, he would have had knowledge, but would he have had any power?  Further, after leaking the information, running to Hong Kong, and now tensely waiting to see what the government might do to him, has he gained any power?

Specific people have information concerning Benghazi, and they are not sharing it with anyone.  Who has the power?  On the other hand, the IRS had lots of information they liberally used and disseminated.  They clearly had the power while doing this, but now that the awareness of their activities has become common knowledge, who has the power?

Certainly, as more information has hit the news concerning our current federal government, tables have tipped.  We can see that knowledge does, indeed have some power.  The question is, does it have ultimate power?

In the end, we will all be cognizant of the same data points.  But with the benefit of those data points, the entity that is able to win over more citizens, news agencies, legislators, and public opinion in general will prove to be the one with the most power.

And what will cause this tip in one direction of the other?  Will it be money? Will it be cronyism?  If one of these two points factor in, are they then the source of power?

Within Scripture, we are told the importance of knowledge.  Hos 4:6 (NIV) My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.”  But we are also told that having mere “knowledge” without wisdom – and more importantly, love – is said to be worthless.

1 Cor 13:2 (NIV) If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge… but have not love, I am nothing.

Proverbs is filled with urgency concerning wisdom and knowledge. They are vital to our lives. Reading these verses, it is clear that the only source of power comes from God’s Wisdom and Knowledge.

Prov 1:29-31 (NIV) “…Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat of the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their scheme.”

Prov 23:23 (NIV) Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline, and understanding.

Prov 8:11 (NIV) For wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.

Prov 24:5-6 (NIV) A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength. For waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisers.

Jam 1:5 (NIV) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

But again – only the knowledge that comes from God, as His discretion.

Gen 2:17 (NIV) But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.

God, who is Love (1 John 4:8), alone has and is the power. He gives us what we need when we need it. He will give us all the information we need, if we would only look to Him and trust Him for it.  These are all part of the gifts promised through the Holy Spirit, to each according to God’s grace. (Romans 12:6)

An increasing amount of data is being stored into information systems around the world.  Are the current scandals just a taste of the potential misuse that can occur with our personal information?

Further, as an increasing amount of data surfaces concerning the various scandals currently plaguing our country, we are all growing in knowledge.  Whether or not wise decisions are made based on that knowledge is another matter.  Data alone, without the discernment and wisdom gifted through the Holy Spirit, can be hurtful. However, ‘information’ that includes God’s knowing wisdom, understanding, discernment – and love – is most definitely powerful.

Elizabeth Sharon Morris is Chairwoman of the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare and author of ‘Dying in Indian Country.’ http://dyinginindiancountry.com/