I used to understand “bearing false witness” as a kind of super-lie, like not only are you willing to lie, you’re willing to testify in court against your neighbor a thing you know to be untrue. But it seems kind of weird that you’d have “thou shall not lie” and “thou shall not bear false witness” if they are, indeed, practically the same thing.
But after reading this story about Kelly Keisling emailing his constituents about how Obama is going to fake an assassination attempt on himself in order to impose martial law (Don’t even get me started on the meat of this story. Talk about a person who need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and do some big-time soul searching. You don’t like Obama? Fine. I didn’t care for George Bush. But you think Obama is so hugely fucking evil that he would do that to our country? Fuck you. But worst of all is Keisling, who should eat a bag of dicks for knowing that Obama is not going to intentionally put our country through an assassination attempt, but is still willing to trade on it in order to score political points with people who don’t know better (even if they should)).
And that’s when I realized that this is bearing false witness. It isn’t just lying. It’s freeform gaslighting. You know what the truth is. You reserve the right to live in the truth for yourself. And yet you happily keep the people under your influence from the truth so that you can benefit from their fear and uncertainty.
It is a different beast than lying, because you are intentionally distorting and corrupting other people’s ability to even accurately understand what’s going on around them in order to maintain influence over them.
Keisling is a Baptist. Maybe his pastor will have a talk with him about bearing false witness, then.