Lying For a Good Cause
We Christians believe in the Ten Commandments given to us in Scripture. We demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in our public buildings. And sometimes we tell ourselves that we are better than those folks who don’t agree with us because we obey the Ten Commandments. But do we? Do we really take each command seriously?
Lately, everywhere I look, I find Christians breaking one of these special commandments. Sometimes I’ve broken it myself. The ninth commandment is: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16 It seems lately that some of us Christians are bending this command a bit. But aren’t we stretching the truth for a Godly purpose- for family and country? Maybe it’s not so bad to lie if we’re lying for a good cause.
We have received a constant barrage of scary e-mail messages these last few years from Christian acquaintances and friends. All of these e-mails seem to have the same theme; - that our Christian Nation is in jeopardy. One such message reads that President Obama has cancelled the National Day of Prayer since he doesn’t want to offend anyone. Hurry, the sender urges, if we love Jesus we will pass this rumor out to our whole address book. Scriptures are quoted followed by a plea to take our country back for God! But the well documented truth is that President Obama has issued a National Day of Prayer proclamation (that can be found on the internet) and his administration is fighting and appealing a ruling that was made last month by a federal court that cancelled the National Day of Prayer.
These e-mails filled with false information are generally designed to attack our government or smear our president. They are often interspersed with God talk and lectures about Christian values. And the senders seem bent on leaving political hatred and paranoia in the minds of their readers.— all in the name of Jesus, of course! Finally we began checking these stories out on Snopes.com and other neutral websites that examine and scrutinize the truthfulness of the gossip that is out there. After carefully checking many sources with each new message we received, we found that most of the stories being passed on to us were either untrue or just partially true.
One by one we have answered all of the people who have e-mailed us these false rumors. Please, we beg that you check to be sure a story is true before passing it on. We send along web sites and articles to challenge the twisted stories. But in nearly every instance we have been answered with angry replies and refusals to stop sending more of the same.
At least twenty Christians have sent us the photo out there of President Obama taking his shoes off with others. The heading under the photo states: “Obama praying with Muslims”. When one does a web search for this photo a completely different explanation of what our president was doing here in the photo comes out. The photo was taken at the doorway of the national mosque of Turkey, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul in April 2009. As our president, Obama was making a chief executive’s two day state visit to Turkey. The photo was not of him inside praying but of him taking his shoes off along with others outside at the entrance of this national monument. Protocol dictates that visitors take their shoes off at the doors before entering.
Since Turkey is a major NATO ally of ours there are also photos of President Bush during his presidency, politely going along with Muslim customs when he was in Turkey on chief executive visits. Yes, there are many photos of President Bush in mosques and yes he also took his shoes off. Just do a Google search of “President Bush” and “mosque” and you can see photos of him and read about him doing the same things that President Obama did on his state visits as our president.
Why are Christians involved in passing this photo around of President Obama removing his shoes with the misleading caption under it? Even when they are shown that it is false, it remains a favorite! Do we have such a sense of entitlement as part of the powerful Christian majority that we feel that we have the right to spread lies around if the lies can influence people for our cause? Why do we often refuse to check references before passing a rumor along? Isn’t bearing false witness against another still a serious sin? Isn’t breaking the ninth commandment as wrong as breaking the seventh commandment, which forbids adultery? Can Christians fudge a bit with truth in their political fight to end welfare and healthcare for those who are “undeserving”? Is that what Jesus would want? Maybe it’s not so bad after all to lie for what is thought to be a good cause?