Monday, February 21, 2011

Mark Shea hits it on the nail again re: lying

Why do I go on so much about the morality of lying?

Because it's that important.

If we don't understand these basic points of morality, we will set ourselves back in the fight for life. Lying sounds like a good idea. Until you do it over and over again. And then no one trusts you anymore. Let's not go there folks. Every single word that comes out of our mouths must be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Mark Shea:

But I have *grave* misgivings about the prolife movement embracing, as a core pillar of its thought, the new enthusiasm for actively running around and lying to people we deem unworthy of the truth. If we clasp that to our bosom we will be indistinguishable from Muslim apologists for taqiyya. Jesus does not need us to lie for him. The Light of the World is not another taqiyya sunrise.


In sum, I greatly fear that Lying for Jesus is rapidly revealing itself as a classic Faustian Bargain. C.S. Lewis once remarked that the devil is quite happy to concede a little ground if he can win the battle, to cure our chillblains if he can give us cancer. Embarrassing PP for a few days—indeed, passing a defunding bill (good as that is)—is curing chillblains (for, of course, the bill will either die in the Senate or most certainly be vetoed by Obama) and our feel-good moment will pass. Embracing the notion that ordinary resistance to abortion is “not taking any real action” and that the prolife movement can only survive by Lying for Jesus is cancer. Precisely the problem with placing our hopes on things the Church calls intrinsically immoral is that you tend to lose your soul and, as Screwtape gleefully notes, get nothing in return. In the same way, what is increasingly troubling to me is that the short term gain of Lila Rose’s action has been to temporarily embarrass Planned Parenthood (which I celebrate) and induce a sort of moral giddiness among prolifers. But the long term effect will be to give Planned Parenthood the extremely effective tool (already being deployed to good effect in their fundraising letters) of being able to say, “Now those evil prolifers are resorting to lies to attack us” and, as this very controversy demonstrates, is to transform the prolife movement into a huge number of people whose top priority is to staunchly defend the notion of Lying for Jesus. Added Screwtapian bonus: while latching on to lying as the New Hotness more and more prolifers are speaking of those in their ranks with moral qualms about lying who support more traditional forms of resistance as contemptible Do Nothings, Pharisees and legalists. It’s only going to end in disaster and sorrow, I fear.

Let's not go there, people. It's a losing strategy in the long-term.