Such scenarios occur in every organisation whether it be a political party vying for elected office, inter political party rivalry, business, corporations, sports, service clubs, the church and missions, scouts and guides, in fact wherever you have people meeting and decisions need to be made.
This happens in two arenas in particular, that of leadership challenges in whatever the organisation might be, and in areas of policy that leaders seek to have endorsed by those around them in the first place, and then by those in the broader organisation in the second. A common term for this today is 'spin'.
'Spin' is an attempt to turn the facts into a certain light regardless of the real or true circumstances in order that the leadership's line on the matter is upheld and becomes seen in the public place as positive and endorsing.
Wikipedia calls 'spin' a form of propaganda. Spin is achieved through providing an interpretation of an event or campaign to persuade public opinion in favour or against a certain organisation or public figure. While traditional public relations may also rely on creative presentation of the facts, "spin" often, though not always, implies disingenuous, deceptive and or highly manipulative tactics. (en.wikipedia.org)
Many examples in everyday life
There are many well documented example of manoeuvrers of this kind to illicit the dumping of someone within an organisation, and to achieve this, inevitably involves casting the facts within a certain light. In so doing, that collective community (political party, work place, social organisation) in effect, have become complicit in such disingenuous endeavours often without realising what the original agenda was and then finding that it is all too late to do anything about it.
In the Australian politic a political party's platform is considered the basis upon which one or the other is elected. To counter issues within the party's stated platform that a group find are not considered 'cricket' to their interests - a lobby group is established to make those points. Of course there are other groups that operate outside the political parties such as environment lobby, the timber lobby, the mineral lobby, the anti-gambling lobby and the like.
This is all well and good in a democracy, but in a dictatorship it becomes very dangerous to speak politically. In this arena we see in 1942 where the Nazi's cleverly ensured the civilian government authorities became complicit in the Holocaust. German historian Peter Longerich says of the famous 20 January 1942 Wannsee Conference:
"The main purposes of the conference were, firstly, to establish the overall control of the deportation programme by the RSHA (SS authority) over a number of important Reich authorities and thereby, secondly, to make the top representatives of the ministerial bureaucracy into accomplices and accessories to, and co-responsible for, the plan he was pursuing. To reiterate: the plan was to exile all Jews in the present and future areas under German rule to Eastern Europe, where they were to be exposed to extraordinarily harsh living conditions and fatally exhausted or murdered. Heydrich had pursued this deportation plan since the beginning of 1941." (en.wikipedia.org)
Once the bureaucracy became complicit, the German nation became equally responsible for the Nazi policy of the Holocaust. Anyone who spoke against the policy became liable for arrest and in many cases death. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was the classic example of someone who paid with his life by objecting to the Nazis. (en.wikipedia.org)
ANZAC reminds us how this can sneak up on us
As ANAZC is upon us once again, and Australians remember those who willingly gave their lives for political freedom. Christians are reminded that they have a responsibility to become salt in their communities and participate all all levels of society in the politic and retain "their say".
Herein lies the importance of engaging in the political process whether it be the sports club or the local church, that although you may have raised your hand for the better of two options, you still have a right to express your views on areas with which you have issues of concern.
This might mean, in an example of the local church, speaking quietly to the Minister and or the leaders within the congregation as there might be very good reasons for a particular policy for which you were unaware. The leaders might take your concerns on board and make adjustments to the policy, or you may need to take it further and in the last resort, leave, all of which you have a divine right and responsibility.
ANZAC says, if anything, each person must be eternally vigiliant.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html