Are we a low-trust or high-trust country? 

Published 6:22 am Friday, June 1, 2018

I was listening to a political radio show, and the host said, “We are becoming a low trust country, and that is a dangerous thing.” I remembered an article I wrote years ago where I stated that we are a trustworthy country. We trust people all the time to be honest with us. We don’t think twice about giving our money to banks, we are only mildly surprised when people return money to us when we have lost it or are in error, and we expect people to be honest who have positions of leadership.

Since I wrote that article over 10 years ago I think times have changed, and not for the better. I believe the radio host was on to something. I think for most of my life I could describe our country as a high trust country. There have always been political scandals, religious scandals, and business scandals, but never have I seen these scandals applauded, covered up by so many, and become so common.

Throughout the Old Testament the prophets warned the political, religious, and business leaders to be honest and worship God alone, or a great price would be paid. God would judge the nation, and crush it if the leaders did not get it right. 

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Isaiah writes in 5:20, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Why must the leaders get worship of God and honesty right? Why not the people?

I think we can look at our own nation now and see why it is so important for the leaders to get it right. I think the statistics will bear out that the number of political leaders that are in trouble is at an all-time high. The number of religious scandals seems big news way too often. The number of rich business leaders who are getting very rich at the expense of their companies and innocent people who are losing their investments and life savings is a common occurrence. 

And so the ordinary citizen begins to wonder why s/he should be honest when political leaders lie all the time, call it misquoting, and get away with lying.

Why should I be honest with money when the leaders of companies that once brought financial stability to our country now send their CEO’s off with golden parachutes, while their companies flounder in bankruptcy court? Why should I give God any more than lip service when God’s shepherds, the ministers, are being caught in all kinds of sexual and financial sins?

We need to expect the highest standards from ourselves as well as our leaders because our nation depends on it. I think I would have described our nation as a “high trust” country at the turn of the millennium, with some concerns.

 I think that status of “high trust” was key to our country becoming the greatest nation in the world in a mere 200 years. Being trustworthy was considered one of those basic values that made our country great. I think we are still a great nation, and I am so proud to be the father of three veterans. My prayers go up to God regularly for the young men and women who fight and die for our country and freedom. 

But there is a dangerous shift occurring among the people who are willing to vote for and follow leaders who are leading us to be a “low trust” nation.

What does all this mean for you today? I call you to not be persuaded by the weak morals and integrity of our nations leaders today. I call you to expect better, and whenever you have a chance to communicate that expectation, whether by vote or some other means, do so. 

I think we can all agree that what we have as American citizens is very precious. It is also very fragile if we allow corrupt leaders to dominate us in government, business, and spiritually.

How strong do you think your moral compass is? 

Have you been affected negatively by all the scandal in the news? What role can you play in calling others to live lives of trustworthiness? 

What do you pray for to help keep our country strong and honest? 

To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles, see