>Rumors, Smears, Lies, and Slander
>Allow me to begin with a promise: This blog will not become dominated with the presidential race, although it may touch on it from time to time as the issues in that race collide with the Christian’s pursuit of Christ.
When November finally arrives, I will cast my vote for Senator John McCain. I will do this because I agree with him on more issues than I do with Senator Barack Obama. I would really, honestly prefer that McCain win the election because I think he would be better for the United States and the world than Obama.
I make that clear primarily for the sake of integrity, because I abhor the rumors, smears and lies that are circulating already in this presidential race, mainly with regard to Senator Obama. There is no indication that Senator McCain is connected to the slander at all, and I commend both candidates for generally keeping their campaigns focused on issues and not personal attacks. The fact remains that rumors are arising at a grassroots level and are being propagated by people like you and me. For instance, haven’t you heard that Obama helped finance his socialist, East Germany educated, cousin’s presidential bid in Kenya; that he won’t recite the Pledge of Allegiance, was or is a Muslim, or that he was sworn into office with his hand on the Quran; that his campaign is being financed by Hugo Chavez; that he has been endorsed by the KKK; that he attended a madrassa as a child? Haven’t you been given a wink and a nod with regard to his name: Barack (a Swahili name that sounds Arabic) Hussein (remember Saddam?) Obama (rhymes with Osama)? The fact of the matter is that none of these claims are true, the truth is readily obtainable, and yet many people (Christians included) propagate these lies as if they are true or very well could be.
Why does this matter? Let us look back at that ninth commandment: “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” Should we try to weasel our way out by asking whether or not a presidential candidate is our neighbor, let us remember what Jesus had to say in response to a similar question. Think back to the many things the Bible has to say about false witnesses. Remember that we worship the God who once described Himself as being the Truth. Remember the apostle Paul exhorting us to buckle on the belt of truth as part of our spiritual armor. Remember that love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
If the Word of God teaches us such things, how can we take part in passing on lies, in bearing false witness against our neighbor? We cannot excuse ourselves for not knowing these rumors to be false, because we know better than to believe everything we hear without examination.
We might argue that we don’t care how the right candidate wins the election, as long as they win, but this kind of utilitarianism does not mesh with the teachings of Christ. If we use evil in order to do good, we corrupt the good that we were once seeking. Do we have so little faith in God that we feel the need to sin so that His purposes might be fulfilled? St. Paul did not allow for that kind of thinking.
Let us all trust God’s wisdom and pray that the candidate He desires to place in office should win the election. I am not demanding McCain from Him and neither should you demand Obama. Let’s simply pray that His wisdom rules the minds of America’s citizens and that our votes would reflect His desire.
Perhaps we can even begin to refrain from bearing false witness against other people in our lives: our friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors. With God’s help.