In an age in which people are not only complaining about lying politicians but even about an a-moral if not immoral President (and that’s an understatement) it might be useful to make some distinctions between truth and honesty. Honesty does not simply mean ‘telling the truth’. It is a term which means ‘telling the truth as you genuinely believe it to be’ But of course, we all can be mistaken and often are. So when someone (wrongly) but genuinely says ‘I’m convinced Barak Obama is a Muslim’, that may reflect that person’s honest and genuine opinion— but it doesn’t make it the truth or even a fact. Honesty is often hard to come by, but truth is even more so. Truth involves what actually happened, or actually is the case. It is grounded in facts not opinions….. period. As the man said— ‘you are entitled to your opinions but you are not entitled to your facts’. Facts belong to everyone and can be checked. Like truth, it is and should universally accessible. Now, I’ve actually run into folks in the mountains of N.C. who think the world is not round, and that the sun revolves around the earth— call them flatlanders. Now, these folks are utterly convinced they are right, though clearly they are not. But they are not being dishonest when they state their opinion on this matter— they are just reflecting stubborn invincible ignorance.
Our country is suffering not merely from dishonesty. It is suffering from truth decay— an inability to recognize the truth even when it’s slapping them in the face. For example, let’s take the honest opinion of some Southern folks that ‘if we build it, they won’t come’. I’m referring to the billion dollar boondoggle called ‘The Wall’. Many people actually hold this opinion, and frankly, they are geographically challenged. Last I checked there is a lot of water in the Gulf of Mexico and people can simply get in a boat and come to America. Nobody is talking about building a wall from Key West all the way around to Brownsville Texas or thereabouts. The only places that a wall might be a partial deterrent to illegals coming in is the left half of southern Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. It will not stop those coming by water to California etc. etc. etc. If we build a wall just in those places, it will be a revisiting of Paul Revere’s cry— ‘one if by land and two if by sea’. They will find another way.And can we talk about the truth about ‘the caravan’ for a minute? So far as we can tell, the vast majority of these people are prepared to walk over a thousand miles to get away from the gangs and the drugs and the poverty of Honduras and Guatemala. Think about that journey for a minute. Ask yourself this question— what would motivate you to walk all that way for the sake of yourself and your families? It involves clear desperation. They are not all a bunch thugs etc. and they are certainly not from the Middle East!!! Fear mongering and just plain lying is not going to get us to a place where an immigrant nation, namely the U.S., has reasonable processes for legal immigration and naturalization. Do we need border patrols and asylum procedures that address this sort of issue? Yes we do. And no matter who says it or thinks it— the 14th Amendment of the Constitution is not going to be erased by an illegal executive order about birth rite citizenship. How quickly we forget that apart from native American Indians, we are all immigrants in this country— all of us. There is a reason why the Statue of Liberty says ‘give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free….’ That quite accurate describes so many of the folks in that caravan.
If we are to have good, godly, reasonable policies on such matters we need not mere honesty from our leaders— we need the truth. Unfortunately, too many of them can’t handle the truth, so they settle for sharing ‘my honest opinion’. It just isn’t good enough! We can do better. One more thing. No Christian worth his or her salt should put up with their governmental representatives lying to them, or even with them being willfully ignorant of the truth or the facts. Not if you actually serve the one who says ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life’.