We live in time when Christians have to be told…

We live in time when Christians have to be told… June 20, 2012

…that lying for Jesus is wrong:

To repeat, this does not mean that truth is the only, or the most important, good. But it is sufficiently important, in a systemic and architectonic way, to make us aware that concern for truth—of the sort that could rightly be characterized as a love of truth—is required by the demands of all the goods, as well as the good of truth itself. So every agent should possess the virtue of truthfulness, and this virtue should include, amongst its constitutive dispositions, a love of truth. And if love of truth is incompatible, for the reasons suggested above, with a willingness to lie, then the lie is, in fact, a violation of the good of truth, just as it is a violation of the goods of personal integrity and sociality. The wrongfulness of lying, even for a good cause, is thus triply confirmed.

Thinking you can establish the gospel of Truth on a foundation of lies is like thinking you can fornicate your way to virginity. It is amazing that Christians have to be told this. Even more amazing that they have to be told this when a) the lies do not in fact save a single life but instead, b) give Planned Parenthood a nice documented record of Christian lying in order to drum up pro-abort zeal and donations. Not only wrong, but stupid and counter-productive. A perfect Faustian bargain.

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  • As I recently said in a homily, “Evil will never conquer evil. . .”
    We cannot/must not use evil to fight evil. That’s called surrender.
    Fr. Philip Neri, OP

  • Ted Seeber

    Has there ever been a time when human beings do NOT need to be reminded that sins are sins?

  • AK

    I agree with everything said above…but I don’t see what Live Action is lying about. Acting and using symbolic metaphor are not sins. Walking into PP and symbolically representing a particular kind of person is not the same as lying about facts, statistics, or someone’s actions, which is clearly wrong and detrimental to the cause.

    • Mark Shea

      Spare me. “Acting” is when the audience knows you are playing a character. Lying is when you present yourself under a false identity. It’s embarrassing to see Christians spout this BS.

  • AK

    Wow, I’m kind of shocked about your response. I really never thought about going undercover as lying. Sorry, I’m so stupid and that I embarrass you. I see your point about acting. I’m honestly not trying to argue or spout anything here, my Pooh-bear brain is just trying to think this through. What about those guys painted all in silver/white who pretend to be statues and fool people, if even only for a moment? Are they lying? Is it a sin when they do fool people and make them look silly? It’s not a stage, but in the everyday, public square,where someone doesn’t expect actors. What about police officers who go undercover? My husband really does that. Is he committing a sin? What about plain clothes officers driving unmarked police cars? They are presenting themselves as everyday citizens, when they actually have the authority to give someone a ticket or arrest them. Are they lying? Is all undercover investigation sinful, -like for journalists? I know society or the gov’t is not our standard of morality, but I can’t see how PP can complain about Live Action going undercover when it is a standard investigative technique for other journalists, officers, and whistleblowers. It just seems like more of their double-standardard propaganda to me. ?

    • Mark Shea

      No. The statues guys are not lying. Neither is a novelist. Neither was Jesus when he told stories about people who never existed. There are different kinds of speech acts. But when you go and give a false name and purpose to somebody for the express purpose of deceiving them into believing who you are and what you want then, yes, you are lying. And when your lie is calculated to get them to commit a mortal sin, you are doing something gravely evil, whatever your long range purpose is. Appealing to the CIA and reporters for our moral formation instead of to the Church is an inadvisable way to proceed. “The cops do it” is not an airtight argument, since one of the problems the cops face is that the culture of lying also leads to perjury, falsifying evidence, and fraudulent convictions of innocent people. It turns out the Church is right: “Lying, by its very nature, is to be condemned”. Trying to establish the gospel of truth by lying is like trying to fornicate your way to virginity.

  • AK

    “The cops do it” was not my argument. My questions are not obnoxious assertions, as they may come off in print. Truly, I’m just trying to clearly get your point. Is it a sin for officers to go under cover? Calculating to get someone to sin who wouldn’t ordinarily is entrapment, which is a different ball of wax. I agree, that’s gravely evil. Thanks for your time.