Chewing gum

KENT COVINGTON, HOST: Today is Wednesday, March 28th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Kent Covington.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. George Washington, our first president- once said: “I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”

COVINGTON: WORLD founder Joel Belz is here now with some thoughts on honesty.

JOEL BELZ, FOUNDER: About 25 years ago a friend told me a depressingly funny story.

He was mostly retired, but drove a public school bus to augment his income. Glancing in his rear view mirror, my friend had noticed that one of his young passengers was breaking the no-gum-chewing rule.

My friend reported: “When I asked the boy if he was in fact chewing gum, he said no, so I told him to open his mouth—and behold, a wad big enough to choke a Dalmatian.”

My friend decided to mix a little mercy with discipline. He tore up the so-called ticket and asked the young man whether he knew the Ten Commandments. No, he said—but then, spurred by a streak of optimism, added that he might know some of them.

‘Good,’ my friend responded. ‘Tell me the ones you know.’

“Freedom of the press,” the boy stated proudly. He was not kidding.

It’s too bad we no longer exalt honesty as a national virtue. Instead, these days, it’s one’s ability to fib his way out of a political quagmire that wins the electoral rewards. Appoint enough special counsel lawyers; schedule enough congressional hearings; fire enough top person­nel; bluff your way through enough Washington Post or network TV interviews.

Do all that once or twice for practice—and then repeat the process a few times over—and see if you’re any less confused than that poor kid on the bus.

Have you been tempted to hi-jack that big school bus, head for Washington, D.C., and load it up with all the bald-faced liars we can find? Let’s run them out of town—once and for all!

Problem is, we’re dealing with multiple categories of habitual falsifiers. The temptation is to start with the politicians. But here’s a troub­ling test: Whom do you trust to stay behind and make things right?

If you turn the process around—and assemble a short list of politi­cians whom you utterly trust—you see what a challenge this is.

Category Two: the media who report on Category One. This includes the giant media mainstreamers—all the way down to the increas­ingly influential social media world shaping the thinking of millions of Americans.

Being lied to is never fun. Discovering that you’ve been deceived is a souring experience. And that may par­tially explain the unhappy tone so prevalent in today’s culture.

There is, however, something a good bit worse than being lied to by others. That’s the dis­covery that you’ve been deceiving yourself. You’ve looked in your media mirror, and you see something that suggests you weren’t as careful as you should have been pursuing the truth.

What a good time to stop and ask God’s Spirit to saturate us all with new—and frequent—doses of His eternal truth!

For WORLD Radio, I’m Joel Belz.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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