Moses gave one of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16).
Lawyers use terms like libel, defamation or false witness. Today, we tend to use words like lie, smear, vilify, and character assassination. The term slander isn’t used as widely these days.
16th century theologian Martin Luther said: “this commandment pertains to public courts of justice, where on may accuse and malign a poor, innocent man and crush him by means of false witness, so that consequently he may suffer punishment in body, property, or honor.”
Luther also said, “Every report, then, that cannot be adequately proved is false witness. Therefore, no one should publicly assert as truth what is not publicly substantiated.” (Large Catechism, Book of Concord, 1529). Claims must be substantiated or proven. Our courts of law still need substantiated evidence.
In 1529, Luther taught about speaking truthfully in court. Today, it can still apply to all people, yes, even to politicians. It reminds us to refrain from bad behaviour like slander, character assassination, malignment, vilification, and defamation of another.
During the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa, Canadian truckers were standing up for their freedoms. They were rallying in protest for the federal government to drop the vaccination mandates. Mandates had affected their livelihood and ability to drive their long-haul trucks across the U.S.-Canada border. It affected their income, their ability to work, their ability to pay their mortgages on their homes, and loans on their rigs. Many lost their work and ability to support their families. Truckers are down-to-earth hard-working folks. They are now forced into a very vulnerable situation. They were also ignored by this prime minister, Justin Trudeau.
As we watched the news and heard Trudeau slander these peaceful truckers and protesters, I was horrified and could not believe my ears. He had slandered the truckers as racists, misogynists, nazis, etc. I had never heard slander to such a degree from the mouth of a prime minister. His words have divided the people of Canada on a national level. This has caused irreparable damage and this is exacerbated by a misuse of powers when he invoked the Emergencies Act (or War Measures Act). This was urged on by his deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland in order to promote World Economic Forum’s globalist agenda.
It was hurtful to listen to this kind of rhetoric from mainstream media (or legacy media). My response was shock, horror, and sadness. I was very disgusted and disappointed with Prime Minister Trudeau and with the mainstream media. I was not alone. Millions of other Canadians and Americans also feel this way. Today, I have switched off mainstream news almost completely. There is a deep sense of betrayal, like as if a knife has been stabbed in the backs of the people. A large portion of people across Canada, vaccinated or unvaccinated, feel they have been betrayed by Trudeau and this government.
Moreover, the legacy/mainstream media are not doing their job in holding the government accountable. They are supposed to do what they were trained to do in journalism school. Mainstream media and journalists seem more akin to state propaganda than the fifth estate. They are now controled by Trudeau and is not effective in holding the government accountable. Democracy has waned to its lowest point in this nation’s history and is in desperate need of good governance.
These mandates (federal/provincial/state) have divided people, co-workers, friends and families. They’ve been very harmful to national unity. It weakens a nation. It has pitted one group against another. It has cast a superior attitude of the vaccinated against the unvaccinated. Science has now shown that the vaccinated are not immune to transmission of the virus. Each person, vax’d or unvax’d, can all transmit the coronavirus to others. We need to see each other as equals again. All citizens want and deserve equal access to work, to all services, and to travel across borders.
We can never go wrong when we portray others in a truthful and honest way. The golden rule is to treat others the way we would want to be treated. To go a step above this is to treat others as they would want to be treated. Truckers wish to be treated with respect, fairness and dignity. They want to be heard.
This commandment of “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” is an ethic that needs to be reviewed and taught in our universities and colleges again. It is not an archaic teaching. It is as relevant for today as it was four thousand years ago.
Vilifying good people who protest peacefully will potentially bring grave repercussions—no matter how much one might disagree with the others’ views. Falsely slandering others is libellous, and defamatory. It is character assassination. It is blatantly dishonest and divides a people, relationships, society and a nation.
Will there be a strong Canada in the near future? Nobody knows. Good people must take a stand. Good people must come out to take up space on the political landscape. Good people must come out to bring order and good governance. Otherwise, Canada’s future will be hanging in the balance.