This morning, I came upon a rather extraordinary tweet from a man who regularly extols his personal faith.
“If I was traipsed in front of the Senate on bogus charges and forced to answer deeply personal and embarrassing questions about my high school antics, maybe out of embarrassment and anger I might be less than truthful. Would that make me a liar who can’t be trusted again?” Come onMatt Walsh
Yes, Matt Walsh, it would. As you know full well.
First, Matt needs to peruse his Bible in regards to lying. Since he seems to have misplaced the Good Book this morning, I will provide some scripture for him to ponder. Unsuprisingly, there are quite a few verses that warn against a lying tongue.
In Proverbs 6: 16 -19, “a lying tongue” is listed as one of the things the Lord considers to be an abomination and in Proverbs 19:9 we are told, “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish.”
Proverbs 21:6 says, “The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death.” Being confirmed to sit on the highest court is precisely the kind of “the getting of treasures” referred to in the verse.
Luke 8:17 reminds us of the folly of lying. “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”
When talking about lying, one cannot forget the Ten Commandments, which lists “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16) as one of the divine laws which Christians often point out that our modern judicial system is based upon. Lying in a legal proceeding falls directly under this commandment and bearing false witness, to protect or profit oneself, is particularly frowned upon.
Telling your wife that dress doesn’t make her look fat? Not a big deal. Lying about misdeeds in your youth so you can be confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice? A very big deal.
If one is asked, whether it be in front of the Senate or in a courtroom, to answer questions that may have embarrassing answers, one is obliged to answer truthfully. One could argue that a Christian has a double obligation to answer truthfully – both legally and in obedience to his faith. Even if one assumes that Brett Kavanaugh is wrongly accused for political purposes, he still has a moral and legal obligation to truthfully answer questions that may be embarrassing.
A classic verse that is taught to children as a simple reality to live by is Luke 16:10. “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
Interestingly, our judicial system recognizes that common sense statement and, indeed, one instruction given to juries when deliberating is “Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus”. False in one thing, false in everything. A jury can determine that a witness is lying in everything if he is found to have lied about anything.
So, Matt, legally speaking, absolutely what you suggest could make you a liar not to be trusted again. Actions have consequences – if one lies, one loses trust. This is a concept simple enough a child can understand.
The Bible has a bit to say about following the laws of man, as well. I would point Matt, and anyone who believes lying under oath or to the Senate is a Biblically defensible position, to read Romans 13:1-7.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.Romans 13:1-7
As a society, we have determined that truthfulness in testifying about important things, like testimony given to a jury so they can render a verdict in a criminal or civil case or so the Senate Judiciary Committe can determine the fitness of a man to be seated on the Supreme Court, is a requirement and that lying in such a situation should be punishable by law.
We are a nation of laws and not men. Republicans used to hold firm to that concept but are wavering these days.
Will the ability to lie under oath or in front of Congress be extended to the Democrats? Or is this just a pass for friends of Republicans? What does this suggestion mean for the very institutions our society is founded upon? What chaos ensues if everyone decides that answering truthfully would be inconvenient?
What Matt suggests in his tweet is unconscionable and against the very foundations of our legal system.
Beyond the legal issue of defending the idea that purposely lying when one knows it is against the law being an irresponsible suggestion at best, what does it say about one’s faith when one does not trust in their God to walk with them through difficult circumstances?
Matt, what it tells the world, the churched and the unchurched alike, is God is not to be trusted and neither are Christians. For Brett Kavanaugh or Matt Walsh facing embarrassing questions and being tempted to given untruthful answers, I would suggest 1 Peter 5:7. “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
One last scripture for Christian Republicans who might think lying to the Senate, the FBI, local law enforcement or under oath in a courtroom is perfectly fine if it advances their political agenda.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?Mark 8:36