Historians usually agree that character is an important high quality for a president. There’s a cause that our biggest president’s nickname is Honest Abe. But in Donald Trump’s Washington, mendacity has grow to be normalized. Perhaps the newest and stark signal of it was within the abandonment of alleged precept to push ahead the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
The irony is that perhaps the most religious and socially conservative Supreme Court nominee in decades will have been put in place by an abandonment of the basic ethical standard known as the Golden Rule, articulated in the Bible as “Do to others as you’ll have them do to you.”
For many conservative Christians, the ends may justify the means in this case. Other partisans will reach for whataboutism and point to lies by previous Democratic presidents. But in terms of the sheer volume of lies, we’ve never seen anything like President Trump. For voters motivated by questions of faith and ethics, how should they view the President’s lying and the effect it seems to be having on our politics?
I asked two priests what role they thought it should play in election calculations.
“How ought to Christians account for a sample of mendacity in casting their vote?” reflected the Reverend Don Waring of Grace Church in New York. “Quite merely, they need to not vote for anybody who intentionally deceives. Lying is a mortal sin, and the dominion of God shouldn’t be superior by means of unrighteous means. It by no means does anybody any good to have public officers in workplace who play quick and unfastened with the reality. One lie results in one other, and it all the time catches as much as them. Then we’re all embroiled in distracting public scandals that taint the entire political course of.”
In his view, normalizing lies threatens to drag our whole democracy down.
But the Reverend Al Zadig, of St. Michael’s Church in Charleston, South Carolina, no doubt reflects the views of other conservative Christians by weighing lying against other sins.
“Certainly, there’s a presidential character that requires fact telling,” Zadig says. “Lying is a sin. There isn’t any hierarchy of sin within the eyes of God though the results could also be totally different in society. This creates an actual wrestle for a lot of clergy and folks of religion with the sin of homicide from the attitude of abortion. …Again, sin is non-hierarchical, however the penalties between mendacity and homicide are so vastly totally different. As a priest, it gives an trustworthy and highly effective dilemma. But the widespread nature of what we name the seven lethal sins is that they kill the guts and the soul of an individual.”
Instead, the President’s favorite weapon—projection — is deployed at political opponents, regardless of truth.
All of that is to say that if faith and advantage matter when casting your vote, then mendacity ought to matter as properly. Because honesty issues. Character issues. On the flip aspect, campaigns that concentrate on worry or greed run counter to fundamental tenets of religion. If we overlook these bedrock virtues to focus as an alternative on one or two coverage positions — regardless of how deeply held — we lose sight of probably the most basic teachings of religion and run the danger of reaping the whirlwind as a society.