When did we stop worrying about the impact and influence of liars? Does it bother you when someone lies to you?
When I was a teenager in high school, President Nixon and his cabinet made a huge political mess when they lied to the American public. It cost him his presidency and several cabinet members went to prison. America just didn't like the idea of a leader who lies. It was unacceptable at every level. It rocked our trust and our security. It caused us to feel unsafe.
Fast forward 30 years and now we hear lie after lie coming from our elected officials. And we simply shrug. Now, it's going to sound like I am trying to make a political statement here. You might even choose to read this as such. But I have a much larger and more frightening statement that I want to make if you will bear with me and read this post to the end.
How can we hear lie after lie coming from the politicians of this great land and give every one of them a pass? How can we let false promise after false promise (many of them made with clear knowledge of their falsities) be spoken and we say and do nothing? Here are a few bullet point descriptions of lies spanning the last several years -- lies made by our top ranking officials. Every one of these can be easily proven false.
- "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor."
- Health care costs will go down.
- Our economy is the strongest that it has ever been. (FACT: Our labor force rate is the lowest since the 1970's.)
- Fast & Furious was started under a previous administration.
- There have been no specific credible allegations of misconduct by anyone on the White House advance team. (FACT: Secret Service misconduct in Columbia.)
- "These protests [in Benghazi] are rooted in an Internet video and not a broader failure of policy."
- There is not even a "smidgen" of corruption in the Internal Revenue Service. (Even I know better than that.)
- "We (the White House) would not make any decisions about the transfer of any [Gitmo] detainees without consulting with Congress and without doing so in accordance with U.S. law.
- We stabilized the banking system and got back every dime we used with interest. (FACT: The Congressional Budget Office reported that we actually lost $24 million to rescue the banks.)
There are hundreds more that I could list and generalize, including when former White House press secretary said that he knew three women named Hilary Rosen.
I know that this all sounds political. But let me admit something here. If you go back and look at Republican administrations, you will find lies there as well. My point is not what political party is lying. My point is that there are hundreds of lies being told to the public from our nation's highest officials. And it is happening all the time. Even the press has a way of spinning the lies for our leaders. They will say that he or she "misspoke" or that it wasn't a lie, but an "untruth." They will say that it's simply a "failed promise" or a "failed statement." All of these are foolishly deceptive rhetoric for "lie." When I was growing up, if you told a lie, you apologized for it and you made it right. You didn't find someone to make you sound like a non-liar.
A Deeply Dangerous Trend.
My second point is that no one seems to care! In fact, a recent Washington Post article found that "81 percent of Americans believe Obama lies to them at least "now and then" on "important matters." (Marc A. Theissen, Washington Post, October 13, 2014. )
But who is making a big deal about this? No one! Who, other than a few conservative talk show hosts, are pointing to the barrage of lies. Most of these hosts are often striving to make political points about such a revelation. But the problem is much, much worse. There is a deeply dangerous trend happening in America -- one that says we can just sit idly by and let ourselves be lied to. In his book "How to Kill 11 Million People," Andy Andrews reminds us that it is a felony to lie to an elected official. But if an elected official lies to you, he is simply a politician. Something is wrong with this.
Jesus referred to Satan as the "father of lies" and says that lying is Satan's native language. (John 8:44) In John 8:32, Jesus also tells us that the truth sets us free. The flip side of that truth is that lies bring us into bondage. The more lies that we listen to, heed or follow, whether through apathy or ignorance, the more bondage we subsequently encounter. Consider the economic bondage brought on by debt (credit card debt, loan debt, etc.) Consider the bondage that the U.S. is currently in because of its enormous debt. But, more importantly, consider what happens when a nation of over 320 million people choose to accept lying as a normal cultural way of life.
I am not nearly as concerned with lying politicians (something that commentators of our culture say is normal) as I am with millions of people not being outraged by the lies. If we let our neighbor lie to us, we then have relational issues with our neighbor. If we let our bosses lie to us, then we have unstable and stressful work situations. So what happens when we let the top officials of our "free" nation lie to us on a regular basis? I would propose that bad things will happen and are bound to happen and have even already begun to happen. Our free nation and free culture will not survive longterm if we are a nation lead by and yielded to lies. Lies rob us of our freedom.
So what am I suggesting? First, we must teach our children the value of the truth. Truth is as valuable as any amount of gold or precious metal. Let your children know the value of truth and the dangers of lies. Tell them stories from the history of your own life and the value of truth dating back into the family and the culture at its most basic level, the home. It's not complicated. If you take the 10 commands given to Moses on ancient tablets and help your kids to follow those basic truths, they will turn out fantastic.
Second, we must express our outrage about leaders who lie. Local leaders, state leaders and national leaders who lie must be removed from office (circa: Nixon). This means we have to pay attention to the words, promises and plans of our leaders and we must get out and vote. We may also need to e-mail some of our elected officials to ask questions and to hold them accountable.
Third, and most importantly, we must practice speaking, walking in and following the truth. We must not tell "white lies" or "little lies." Lies are dangerous and they always lead to bondage. Truth is freedom and the freedom offered to us by God is a life filled with joy, hope and peace as we follow the "Truth" -- Jesus Christ Himself. (John 14:6)