I’d like to write about the Ten Commandments. Specifically, I’d like to write about number nine: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Those that know me, you can have a moment to recover yourself. I mean really, what’s my expertise here? Well not much. However, according to Rachel McIver-Morey from the Northfield United Methodist Church, what this commandment is really about is, “will you tell the truth if it costs you something?”
She provides this example:
“Bearing false witness in our context could be somebody speaking up in a workspace about something that is happening that is clearly wrong, and everybody else in the workspace holding silent—putting their heads down, looking away. That silence when everybody knows what’s happening—that silence is false witness.” (Covetousness – Deuteronomy 5:18-21)
Ok, now I’d like to connect this to the politics of the current leading voices in the Republican party, such as Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, Josh Hawley, Marjorie Taylor Greene, etc. I know, I know, first religion, then politics. Next I’m gonna talk about “Your Mama.” I think these politicians consistently are breaking the ninth commandment (and probably others too). We all do at times of course. These politicians do so while claiming to speak for Christians and have weaponized Christianity to remain in power, so I think it’s fair to focus on them.
Now, before you throw out Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Bernie Sanders, or any other far left Democrat, I’m going to cut off this false equivalency. Let’s consider Ted Cruz’s response to current HR 1, For the People Act. He’s bearing false witness when he states that the intent is to make it legal for millions of “criminals and illegal aliens” to vote and that the bill “says America would be better off if more murderers were voting, America would be better of if more rapists and child molesters were voting” (AP News 3/19/21). It is certainly a common tactic of politicians to misrepresent or spin the contents of an opponent’s proposal as part of debate. But the current GOP has made bearing false witness about Democratic proposals their one and only tactic.
You may disagree with the agenda of legislators on the far left. Here’s the difference. The Democrats are making complex policy proposals with the primary aim of improving the lives of citizens. Certainly, many are also enriching themselves and turning politics into a lucrative career, but that’s not what this is about. You may disagree with their ideas and proposals. Fine. Debate them and offer up a counter proposal, and the proposal that makes the most sense to the most people to solve the problem at hand gets the most votes. That’s how it should work. But, that is not how it has worked for quite some time.
The GOP has completely abandoned the democratic process and rely solely on a strategy of bearing false witness about the only proposals on the table to address current problems and simply cast stones. (See what I did there). In fact, the only policy agenda of the current GOP is to restrict voting rights.
Here’s where we come in; putting our heads down and looking away is also bearing false witness.