Is it still a sin to lie? Then why does America shrug off lying?
When our politicians are caught lying, their supporters often resort to the old cliché: all politicians lie.
But if you study American history, that is itself a lie. Statesmen didn’t lie. It is difficult to find any time that George Washington lied. The same can be said for John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Garfield, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight Eisenhower or Ronald Reagan.
Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton stand out as famous liars – intentionally making untrue statements to the American public and being caught in the act. Among the presidents who did lie, there are enormous differences in the importance and frequency of the lies.
“Usually when politicians lie, they are trying to avoid political damage, or to make themselves look good,” observes John Ellis in Front Page magazine.
Clinton lied and was disgraced by his impeachment trial. However, he did it to save himself from embarrassment about his sexual misbehavior. His wife, Hillary, lied to the press about coming under sniper fire at an airport in Bosnia. Why? Perhaps to enhance her nonexistent foreign affairs profile.
“Nixon was forced from office because he lied to cover up his involvement in a political dirty trick,” writes Ellis. “John Kerry lied about his Vietnam combat experience to blunt his anti-military reputation.”
But even scarier is how lying is becoming a part of American culture. The culprit is a lack of honesty in the media, higher education and the entertainment industry, writes Andrew Klavan in the New York City magazine City Journal.
“In movies, TV shows, novels, even comedy routines, our intellectuals, entertainers, and others are busily reshaping reality,” writes Klavan. “See if you can spot the difference between reality and American culture. Terri Schiavo was a severely brain-damaged woman who was judicially starved to death in 2005 at the request of her husband, while evangelical Christian right-to-life groups unsuccessfully petitioned to keep her alive.”
That’s reality, however, how has it been twisted in modern American culture?
“An episode of Law and Order entitled ‘Age of Innocence’ depicted a severely brain-damaged woman whose husband tried to euthanize her – until he was murdered at the instigation of an evangelical Christian right-to-lifer.
“In reality, Christians try to keep people alive. In the media, they murder people.
“Anthropological studies have shown that primitive societies are even more violent than civilized ones,” writes Klavan. “Primitive life is pretty miserable in general, with no protection against drought or famine, no medicine – so that even the simplest diseases can be deadly – and no equality for women, who have zero defense against pregnancy or oppression.”
But the media loves the myth of the noble savage.
“In films such as Dances with Wolves, Pocahontas, and Avatar – which are really all the same film,” writes Klavan, “a civilized man enters primitive society and finds its values far superior to his own. The collectivist natives are peaceful, the women are treated with respect and ancient forms of medicine work as well as modern ones.
“Spot the difference?” asks Klavan. “Right! In reality, it’s civilization, democracy, capitalism, and technology that give us greater health, equality, and happiness.”
So when you watch Dances with Wolves and Avatar, while they worship the sacred Earth, but portray U.S. soldiers as evil sadists out to destroy native peoples, see if you can spot the difference between the myth of the films and, for example, Japan and Haiti.
“There our old pal, the sacred Earth,” writes Klavan, “slaughtered innocent people by the thousands and the U.S. military turned out in a massive rescue effort.”
But in the media, notes Klavan, “the U.S. military is always evil, corporations are always corrupt and poverty is always the fault of wealthy people’s greed.”
The problem, explains journalist Marsha West, is that too many in the media and entertainment think that lying is just fine. They don’t care about truth – they are terrified of being politically incorrect.
“Mull this over in your mind,” ask West. “When was the last time you heard an abortion supporter say, ‘I’m pro-abortion’? Pro-aborts proudly proclaim they’re ‘pro-choice,’ or they’re for ‘abortion rights.’ That’s weird. I mean, think about it. A woman has no ‘right’ to kill an unwanted child.” After all, what would the child’s choice be?
So, what’s wrong with a little political correctness?
In Revelation 21:8, John warns “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
That’s not open to much interpretation, notes author Dave Hintz. John also “describes the character of those unfit to enter the pearly gates in Revelation 21:26-27, ‘no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it.’
In Revelation 22:15, John notes the character of those who do not reside in the heavenly city, “Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.”
Only one sin makes all three lists. Lying.
Of all sins why does God pick on this one?
“First of all,” writes Hintz, “liars do not trust in God. The second reason God hates lying is because He is a God of truth. He is trustworthy and reliable in both word and deed. Therefore, if we are to be holy as He is holy (Leviticus 19:2) we must not lie.
“A third reason why God hates liars,” writes Hintz, “is that this sin enslaves the liar. Lies are like potato chips – no one can have just one. When someone tells a lie, he must utter another fabrication to cover it up. With great speed, the liar spins a tangled web of falsehood which envelops himself.
“Only the sharp sword of truth can cut him free.”
And that applies to America.
Even when telling the truth is politically incorrect.