As a 1983 graduate of Auburn University, I am ashamed to say that I recently and publicly betrayed an important element of the Auburn Creed: “I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men.” 

Last week, I was given an opportunity on "The Jeff Poor Show" to speak about pending Ethics reform legislation and my reasons for opposition to State Rep. Matt Simpson’s HB 227, which recently passed the Alabama House. 

I would like to apologize to Rep. Simpson and his fellow House members who voted for this legislation. The tone and tenor of my comments were full of pride, arrogance, and condescension. Furthermore, I imposed negative judgments against the motives of these public officials when I had no basis for such judgmental commentary. 

Frankly, I am grieving at the harshness of my rant against people that work very hard. I am therefore publicly apologizing, not only to the people I've named, but also to the listening audience of "The Jeff Poor Show."

As a member of the Alabama Ethics Commission, I have let down the people I serve by ignoring sound biblical counsel of maintaining self-control, of being quick to hear and slow to anger, and of esteeming others higher than myself. 

Unfortunately, I have an unhealthy high view of myself and especially my political opinions. My years of experience should have taught me that if I want to influence opinion, then I should treat those who disagree with me the way I would want to be treated myself. 

To my fellow conservative Christians and the fine listeners of Jeff's show: I am deeply sorry for treating you to an angry rant which could have instead focused on helpful substance. 

To Rep. Simpson and members of the House: I do understand my offense against you, and not only do I publicly apologize, but I stand ready to make things right for your reputation in whatever way I can. You are welcome to reach out to me to discuss. 

As far as the legislation goes, my reasons for opposing it remain, but I renounce my own words, which suggested negative motives against otherwise friends who are so willing to serve this state. 

Lastly, later that day, Rep. Simpson correctly pointed out that I had admitted to political contributions which may in fact be in violation of the present Ethics laws. This came to me as a surprise, but I am ready to admit it and take full responsibility for the consequences of my actions.  

In my opinion, Rep. Simpson was making a relevant point when he suggested that I should have been more aware of the law. He could have spoken against me with a harsher tone, and given the way I spoke against him earlier in the day, I wouldn’t have blamed him. 

In short, Rep. Simpson responded to my attacks with more respect and dignity than I gave him. I think that speaks well on his part.  

I believe I can learn from him and many others who have given me much more patience and charity than I deserve. 

In the future, I plan to speak about public policy causes we as conservative Christians share with much more sympathy and charity for my fellow man.  

Stan McDonald is a member of the Alabama Ethics Commission.

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