Consistent with his deeply-held Christian faith, Barack Obama established the Matthew25 Network to promote a Gospel-based outreach to religious voters. Run by the former Director of Religious Outreach for the 2004 Kerry/Edwards campaign, the site sports a page called Put Away Falsehood to counter alleged misrepresentations regarding Obama and his political positions. The page name is taken from Ephesians 4:25, which states: “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with your neighbor, for we are all of the same body.” The injunction is refreshing in its scope. Our obligation to tell the truth is not limited to statements made in court, but extends to all our dealings with our fellow human beings.
Some of Obama’s statements suggest that a more nuanced interpretation of the Ephesians command may be required. For example, among the list of alleged falsehoods on the Put Away Falsehoods page is that Obama supported gay marriage: the site states unambiguously that “Senator Obama has never supported gay marriage,” with the emphasis in the original. However, this appears to be contradicted by his publicly stated position during his 1996 Illinois State Senate campaign.
More significantly, just two days ago Mr. Obama stated that he had had “no contact” with Illinois Governor Blagojevich’s regarding the replacement for his U.S. Senate seat. But Newsbusters has posted links to contemporaneous news accounts indicating that Obama met with Blagojevich to discuss that very subject on November 5 (see here and here). Additionally, on November 23rd Obama advisor David Axelrod stated on television that he “knew” that Obama had discussed his replacement with Blagojevich.
Because Mr. Obama is from that unique new breed of devout “change” politicians who reject falsehood, I am trying to determine what Biblical category best encompasses his statements. For example, Rene Magritte’s famous Ceci n’est pas une pipe (”this is not a pipe”) painting does not actually promote a lie, because either (1) it is merely a picture of a pipe, or (2) the statement is so obviously contradicted by the context in which it appears that no one could be deceived. Obama’s statements likely fall in the second category, as he knew very well that his assertions would appear on the Internet merely a click away from prominent, conclusive refutations. Is there a scriptural passage which authorizes this particular form of truth-telling more clearly than Ephesians?
Consider also this: does this post “put away falsehood,” considering that it was written with the knowledge that the news organization which announced that Obama met with Blagojevich yesterday suddenly retracted that story? Does my belief that the retraction is unconvincing or false, or my posting of a link to the retraction, excuse any seeming falsehoods on my part?
The Raving Atheist blogs at ravingatheist.com.