Friday, August 21, 2009

Does President Obama read Atheist Ethicist?

From the New York Times

President Obama sought Wednesday to reframe the health care debate as “a core ethical and moral obligation,” imploring a coalition of religious leaders to help promote the plan to lower costs and expand insurance coverage for all Americans.

“I know there’s been a lot of misinformation in this debate, and there are some folks out there who are frankly bearing false witness,” Mr. Obama told a multidenominational group of pastors, rabbis and other religious leaders who support his goal to remake the nation’s health care system.
The part I bolded is what led me to write the tongue-in-cheek post title, as one of the themes that Alonzo Fyfe has repeteadly written about on his blog is the failure of so many figures (many of them self-professed Christians) to live up to the basic moral principle that one should not bear false witness against others.

One moral principle that transcends almost all moral systems (and all moral systems of merit) is the principle that it is wrong to "bear false witness against thy neighbor." Whenever a person speaks about his neighbor, he should make sure that his statements are true and accurate.

Speaking dishonestly about a neighbor leads to injustice. Unjust treatment is treatment that cannot be justified. Any treatment grounded on the words of those who bear false witness is, by that fact alone, unjustified in the same way that convicting an accused criminal based on lies is an unjust conviction. Civil society requires that its citizens have a respect for the truth if they are to prevent the misery and injustice of actions grounded on error.
And in addition to leading to injustice, bearing false witness leads to the subversion of the democratic process because it leads people to act on false beliefs. Which is why I'm glad to see President Obama calling out the bearers of false witness for doing exactly that. It's well past time to call out liars for their morally bankrupt and democracy disrupting behavior.


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We Are The 801 said...

I smell spam...

Hume's Ghost said...