From the Editor

That Pesky Eighth Commandment

Michael L. Sherer

Michael L. Sherer

Not everybody is lying, but a lot of people are.

On Hennepin Avenue, just as it changes its name to Larpenteur, I saw it. A vehicle in the next lane was boldly displaying a bumper sticker with only two words, both in solid uppercase letters:


Now there’s an eye-opener for you! Nothing else was on the sticker but those two words. There was not a clue about whom the exclamation was describing. I was left to my own imagination.

About the same time I saw the bumper sticker, I heard a radio newscaster, interviewing a reporter for a major American daily newspaper, ask the blunt question, “Is it possible we could reach the point where nobody believes anything that comes out of this White House?”

Suddenly my mind raced backward, to another journalist, asking our former president, “Did you have an intimate relationship with your intern?” And, further back, there were the exchanges the press had with a Hollywood actor-turned-chief-executive, about what was really going on in the Iran-Contra business (as it turned out, a lot more than was admitted). And still further back, there was that messy Watergate affair.

This is not even to mention the dishonesty of corporate leaders, whose double talk and double-dealing brought shame to themselves and ruin to their employees.

One can forgive a frustrated citizen for wanting to sport a bumper sticker that shouts “THEY’RE LYING!”

In ancient Athens one old gentleman wandered the streets with a lantern, peering into people’s eyes. Asked what he was doing, he said, “I’m looking for an honest man.” He persisted in his quest for years. Clearly he wasn’t having much success.

Why is that pesky eighth commandment (“You shall not bear false witness”) so critical? It’s because trust is a commodity without which communities cannot exist, nor continue.

As disciples, we have an uncommon opportunity. Let it always be said of us, “Look how trustworthy those Christians are!”