From My Perspective - - -
On Wednesday, February 22nd, CNN Justice reported that The United States Supreme Court “…took on the role of constitutional truth-seeker in an especially vigorous argument…dealing with the harm from lies and the value of honor.” The discussion and report was occasioned by: “A former California politician was prosecuted by the Justice Department for publicly stating he had earned the Medal of Honor, when in fact…he…had never served in the military.” His claim was made publicly: “…at one of his first open meetings claimed to be a retired Marine who won the Medal of Honor in 1987. The highest military decoration awarded by the U.S. government is sometimes mistakenly called the Congressional Medal of Honor. I got wounded many times by the same guy…he… declared, according to court records. I'm still around." CNN continues: “The justices showed a surprising amount of support for the federal Stolen Valor Act, which makes it a crime to falsely claim military medals.”
At issue here is integrity, truth, and non-exaggerated representation. One of the discouraging elements of political debates and representations is the finger-pointing by one to another in terms of who is lying and who is telling the truth. It has been suggested that they make themselves to appear to be like a Firing Squad standing in a circle – everyone is vulnerable and in danger. One is caused to wonder – “who or where is the Honest Abe of today?” Part of the dilemma as this matter is discussed in terms of what can legally be done in terms of the Stolen Valor Act is summarized by CNN: “Several justices wondered during the one-hour session Wednesday whether the act would chill other types of speech, while others suggested a narrowly tailored law like this one is important to preserve the integrity of military honors from frauds and charlatans. Justice Anthony Kennedy asked whether the government is going to have a Ministry of Truth and then allow (legal) breathing space around it, and I just don't think that's our tradition. On the other hand, I have to acknowledge that (these lies do) diminish the medal in many respects."
A major reason why Stolen Valor has occurred is because of the Stolen Values of our Culture. Our nation has slowly but surely jettisoned many of the things that were foundational and has allowed an anything goes mentality and lifestyle. When one thinks of where we are heading – same sex marriages; a deteriorating economy; the loss of international respect; the ignoring and undermining of religious tenets of faith and practice; an increasing cynicism; an enlarged welfare mentality; etc. – one needs to pause and reflect on where and what we once were – and now – where and what we have become and are becoming. Stolen Values has allowed for the Stolen Valor possibilities. The CNN Justice Report concludes that the one claiming what he had not achieved “…was prosecuted on one count of falsely verbally claiming to have received the medal. He had conditionally pleaded guilty, reserving his right to later appeal on constitutional grounds. He was fined $5,000, given three years' probation, and resigned last fall from the utility board based in Claremont, California.” What if that standard was implemented and applied regarding those who have allowed and fostered the Stolen Values of our Culture – what would be imposed upon them as their penalty?
There is a standard for one to follow. Ephesians 4:25 states it simply: “Therefore, putting off falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another." We are reminded in Proverbs 21:6, “The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death." Proverbs 6:16-17 indicates the things that God hates. Among them are 1) “a lying tongue, 2) a heart that devises wicked plans, and 3) a false witness who breathes out lies.” It is a struggle to keep oneself free of exaggerations and misrepresentations. The tendency to want to do it is so subtle requiring that we keep ourselves alert, being fully aware of our enemy’s strategies, and not allowing ourselves to speak any inaccuracies or indefensible assertions. If we belong to Christ Who is the Truth, then we ought to represent Him appropriately as children of The One Who Is Truth. Consider these things with me!