"Bearing False Witness." Yeah, It’s Still A Sin.

It seems that the issue, or non-issue, of Barack Obama’s citizenship has been slugged out, in Moscow and elsewhere, for no apparent reason other than to cast him as a dangerous, shadowy “unknown” — just as it is clear in the eyes of people smarter than I am, and everyone else, that he is a citizen and is eligible for the Presidency. I don’t wish to resurrect that battle again.

What I do want to do is apologize.

It seems that the primary sources for this rumor are, nationally as well as locally, conservative, Libertarian-oriented people who identify themselves as Christians. Most of us, Christian or not, understand that it’s wrong to lie about someone and that it’s just as wrong to repeat those lies, whether under the guise of “innocent” questioning, prayer requests, or crusades against people we don’t like. Worse yet is the assertion that the lie must be given all possible exposure so that those shadowy forces denouncing it — some call them “truthtellers” — can be vanquished. Christians call this “bearing false witness.” Your grandmother called it “carrying tales,” and I call it “lying through your teeth to promote vicious falsehoods against someone who scares you.”

I suppose there’s a reason Grandma will be quoted in books of American folk wisdom and I won’t. Nonetheless, I wish I could apologize to Barack Obama for what members of the Church — I’ll assume that; only God knows — have done to him. I believe these people have fomented violence and hate that, if realized in any act against Obama, will be on their consciences just as surely as the one who commits the deed. That they’ve done so while proclaiming themselves to be Christians, and done this against a Christian brother, is indefensible. Once again, our local hatemongers have echoed the vitriol seen throughout this country in the final six months of the election, and for that I apologize — never for my faith, but often, lamentably, for those who hijack it for their own gain, in this case, an ill-gotten gain that speaks nothing of Jesus Christ and everything of Machiavelli.

Why apologize for something, then, that I haven’t done and deplore in others? Simple. Like Daniel in the Old Testament, I’m sickened by the conduct of my people, and for the sake of the Gospel plead with God to end it, to protect Obama, and to restore to the vituperative among us a sense of lovingkindness and justice. Now, let’s all get ready to hear the boys at Anselm House crow that I’ve actually compared myself to Daniel. What I’ve written is clear, and a heads up:

I will not engage with liars, cowards, or slanderers. I’m just sorry that, once again, the word “Christian” has become synonymous to so many for hateful and unjust, and I plead God’s mercy on all of us.

Leave a Reply