I strive to find out what the data say because I value truth above most else. The Church is supposed to be "the pillar and support of truth" (1 Timothy 3:15).
However, Truth is always the first casualty of war and political campaigns.
McCain and Obama have enough clear differences, so why does one feel the need to lie about the other? Because it's effective. Elections are decided on character rather than issues, so smear the character and win the election.
The problem I have is that many that are putting out the lies these past 2 weeks claim to be evangelical Christians. Those who engage in this kind of misinformation would tell you that "the ends justify the means." That's fine for people who don't answer to a higher authority, but Scripture makes it clear that the ends never justify the means. The means tend to be what matter, the ends are in God's hand.
My position on Truth and fact-checking, sadly, puts me at odds with the majority of my peers.
I started this post a couple days ago, but today liberal Paul Krugman sums up the situation well. When a godless liberal like Krugman accurately calls you out for lying then you've essentially lost your salt.
It's also bad when a godless, perverse man (warning extreme profanity) like Bill O'Reilly is held up by Christians as a hero. Google "Bill O'reilly apologizes" and you'll get a long list of untrue things he's said and later apologized for. Remember Matthew 12:36-37 and 15:11.
Monday, it was the McCain camp demanding an apology for a "disgraceful" remark about Sarah Palin, when Obama wasn't talking about Palin (YouTube clip) and was actually quite complimentary of her. YouTube clip Sean Hannity and FoxNews made a big deal about how "shameful" Obama was. It was all a lie.
McCain said the exact same thing about Hillary Clinton's health care proposals last year... with no apology.
Then, it was McCain's ads resurrecting last year's issue that Obama endorsed legislation that would teach comprehensive sex education to kindergartners in Illinois. The Wall Street Journal echoed the ads. Here is the original bill , which was never passed (click "Full Text").
It's your standard sex education guideline. "Students will be taught about statistics, health issues, abstinence, etc..." It was amended to be from 6 to 12th grades to K through 12th grades, and I assume Obama was instrumental in that amendment. But it specifies "age-appropriate" curriculum.
I remember in 1st grade we had a lesson on inappropriate touching and were told what to do if a stranger or relative ever touched us in a way we didn't like. This bill would provide the same training to kindergartners as 1st graders. Every parent has to sign a permission slip to permit their child to participate.
To say Obama wants to teach comprehensive sex education to kindergartners is pretty asinine. Newsweek agrees the McCain attack is "simply false."
But, it's working.
Worse, from Day 1 of Sarah Palin we've been hearing about how she said "no" to the Bridge to Nowhere, which she didn't, and was one of the top earmark-seeking governors in the U.S. Palin has since dropped it from her speeches. But, the damage is done.
McCain deserves better than what his staffers are giving him and I have to believe he is better than this. *Update*: Maybe he's not. McCain stands by all the above claims on The View today. *sigh*
I got a mass email forwarded to me the other day from an evangelical Christian which included all kinds of misinformation about both candidates' stances on issues and encouraged prayer about who to vote for. Among other things, it claimed Obama would raise taxes on dividends to 39%. As has been pointed out here, Obama is raising the tax to 20%, but only for people whose income is more than $250,000. Odds are sadly better that a McCain presidency will see the Bush tax cuts expire and dividends will then be taxed up to 39% for everyone.
I hate it when Christians forward un-truths to other Christians, whether it's something they heard on Oprah or something they haven't fact-checked themselves.
On cue, 10 minutes ago I got another mass email forwarded to every employee at my university with this YouTube clip whose commentator claims Obama is mocking Scripture. The clip is an ad set to air in key battle ground states. But, here is the full text of the speech. I highly encourage reading it as it's pretty intelligent. Obama is wrestling with the dilemma of James Dobson's conservativism vs. Al Sharpton's black liberation theology and responding to Alan Keyes' claim that "Jesus wouldn't vote for Obama."
McCain can run on his own merits, character, and the strength of his own policy proposals. It sickens me that so many people in the religous right, who shunned McCain for so long, now are trying to further his campaign by spreading lies. It sickens me more that it's probably why McCain is now winning.