Thursday, September 30, 2010

Speaking the Truth, or Not

We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
Ephesians 4:14-16

When opponents of healthcare reform talked about “death panels,” Representative Alan Grayson set out to prove that not all of the crazy people were opposed to reform. Establishing his own credentials as one who fully embraces craziness, he characterized the Republican health care plan as:

Don’t get sick.
If you do get sick . . .
Die quickly.

Even if we give the congressman the benefit of the doubt for a quirky sense of humor and an attempt at sarcasm, it didn’t exactly advance the debate or clarify the issues. Amazingly, if you go to his reelection web site, you will find that he remains proud of his statement.

Now, he is at it again.

His opponent in the fall election is Daniel Webster (that really is his name). In a political advertisement, Representative Grayson calls Webster “Taliban Dan” and shows a video clip of Mr. Webster telling wives to “submit to their husbands.”

The clip is taken from an address that Mr. Webster gave to a group of couples. He was talking about their need to pray for each other and he suggested that when husbands choose a Bible verse to guide how they look at their wives, they should not choose the verse that says wives should “submit” to their husbands. Instead, they should focus on the related verse which calls upon husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and to sacrifice for them as Christ sacrificed for the church. In other words, Mr. Webster was saying precisely the opposite of what Representative Grayson claims he said.

The “Taliban Dan” tag would be over the top even without the deceptive editing of Mr. Webster’s speech. We have enough trouble debating serious issues in a thoughtful manner, without lying about what someone is saying.

As the Apostle admonished his friends in Ephesus, we need to speak the truth. And we need to speak the truth in love. Especially when the issues and the differences are important.

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