In the 80’s there was a rumor that was going around, principally among churches, that Madelyn Murray O’Hare, the famed atheist, was petitioning the FCC to end religious broadcasting. People were frantic!
Since there was no Internet in the 1980’s, concerned Christians carried around petitions for churches to fill up with the names of people who didn’t want their 700 Club to go away. Periodically a new iteration of the petition would circulate.
O’Hare died in 1995, and one would think the rumor would have died at that time. But the rumor morphed and took on new life. When the Internet arrived a newer version of the rumor traveled at light speed. To this day I have never seen anyone print a retraction. “We were wrong; O’Hare never started such a petition.”
It turns out the Madelyn Murray O’Hare rumor was a metaphor for the state of integrity in our political debate. We really don’t care what we say or how accurate it is just as long as the other guy doesn’t get elected. Recent examples include a picture of Donald Trump’s parents in Ku Klux Klan uniforms. Turns out it was a photoshopped version of a family picture.
Another Internet lie stated that Trump Jr. was saying that Hispanics were going to be shipped back to China where they came from. Another Internet lie of course.
Regardless of what candidate one supports, lying undermines personal integrity and shows the weakness of one’s position. This includes indiscriminately passing around Internet lies because of hatred for the other candidate.
Furthermore, lying or passing on lies about a candidate or an issue is just plain hypocritical. The same truth we expect of candidates is also a good thing for the rest of us to practice. I’d love to see someone post on the Internet, “I was wrong. I should not have said that. It was not true.”
Facebook does not encourage integrity. Shares and Comments are so easy. Before you know it, you’ve perpetuated a lie because you love to pass on anything that makes the other person look bad.
But Paul’s advice to the Ephesian church is good advice for anyone. “…let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes….So stop telling lies.” Period. There are no exceptions. Stop telling lies.
Someone wisely compared gossip to breaking open a feather pillow in a stiff breeze; there is no way one can collect all the feathers to return them to the pillow. Similarly, lies told about another person cannot be reclaimed and returned.
People who take their commitment to God seriously, must be vigilant about the things either said or shared; they are a reflection on personal integrity. And when it is discovered that something shared is untrue, say so.
Otherwise, don’t call someone a liar. You are too!
2 thoughts on “Facebook and Political Discussion – Part 3”
You are so right about the power of telling lies in politics today. Today’s Internet and social networks such as Facebook could be compared to a feather mattress being torn appart during a windstorm. It seems to be human nature to feed on this type of character assassination with lies. To claim you are a Christian and to lie about someone makes it worse yet. Lies and politics has been going on for centuries but as you say the Internet magnifies it a million fold. Lee Atwater was one of the original campaign managers to utilize lying and the modern media. It seems to me he tried to make amends for it before he died at a young age.
Thanks so much Leland. I agree….like tearing apart a feather mattress.
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