David Hegg is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church and a Santa Clarita resident. "Ethically Speaking" runs Saturdays in The Signal.
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Every leader understands the principle that communication breeds trust, while lack of communication tends to breed suspicion.

When we are open about things, others tend to appreciate and accept what we’re saying, while keeping all the information to ourselves tends to make people think we’re hiding something.

In our world, it is clear we need to go a bit further and demand what is being said be true. In fact, if the information given out is a rich mixture of truth, half-truths, and untruths, suspicion will become disbelief and disdain no matter how prolific the pronouncements.

No matter how many you have, you can’t make a good omelet with bad eggs.

On the national scene today, truth is getting beaten up by those we trust to traffic in factual information.

What we believe about a whole host of things is formed by our leadership and the media. And, tragically, we are more and more aware that we are experiencing a deep truth drought.

Then again, is it ever ethical to deceive? Ethicists universally agree there are times when deceit can be moral.

Take, for example, plays in football where the offense fakes a run and throws a pass. Or when you leave a light on in your home when gone to deceive a would-be robber.

And, again, we’d have to agree deceit is fair in wartime when, for instance, a massive misinformation campaign laid the groundwork for the D-day invasions.

In all these situations, deceit is not immoral simply because those being deceived are not considered to have a moral right to know the truth.

But what about us as citizens, partners, spouses and neighbors? In all cases where it is reasonable to assume we have a moral right to the truth, it is the ethical responsibility of those around us to tell the truth.

And, if this is so, how come we’re being bamboozled by too many, too much, and too often?

My great fear is we will come to accept duplicity in all its forms as the new normal and give up on truth as an essential element in ordered society.

Every relationship stands or falls on trust, and trust is formed and maintained only when continually infused with truth. We simply cannot accept any substitutes for truth if we desire to remain a nation united around the bedrock virtues that brought us together in the first place.

The remedy is simple, and we must hold our newsmakers and news reporters to the age-old standard: Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

First of all, don’t lie to us. Don’t say things you know are not true. And don’t intentionally leave out facts that are substantially necessary to understand the truth.


And don’t add commentary or bias designed to mislead us about what is really going on.

The real question revolves around the reason so many are lying to so many more for so many selfish reasons.

The answer is simple. We’ve devolved into a society of pragmatics who believe anything we get away with must be permissible. We’ve decided accountability impinges on our freedom and eliminated most of the consequences of unethical behavior.

Besides, the outlandish lies of today will be forgotten as soon as the next news cycles spews out the newest set of absurdities.

Shakespeare’s Polonius exhorted his son: “This above all: to thine own self be true/ And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

While controversy still rages as to the Bard’s intent here, this much is true: If you are a person of truth, you will most likely be true to others.

And all you have to do is look around our country to know our truth drought will only end as a deluge of truthful people dedicate themselves to truthful beliefs and behavior.

David Hegg is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church and a Santa Clarita resident. Ethically Speaking runs every Sunday in The Signal.


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  • charles maurice detallyrand

    I’d hope you’re speaking about this but somehow I think you feel the complaint lies with mainstream media.

    “FBI’s Russian-influence probe includes a look at Breitbart, InfoWars news sites”
    “Federal investigators are examining whether far-right news sites played any role last year in a Russian cyber operation that dramatically widened the reach of news stories — some fictional — that favored Donald Trump’s presidential bid, two people familiar with the inquiry say.”

    http://www.mcclatchydc .com/news/politics-government/white-house/article139695453.html

    • Gil Mertz


      Remember when your president mocked Romney during their last debate about Russia? Now Russia is the blame for everything Democrats don’t like about our democracy.

      • charles maurice detallyrand

        Remember when our President and Clinton and Merkel decimated the Russian economy to punish their military aggression in Ukraine? Oh right you don’t because you weren’t paying attention and none of your news sources reported it.

        • Gil Mertz

          Charles, can you post some of the “well documented” sources that show how Obama “nearly ruined Putin’s control over Russia” because of his sanctions or that Putin considers Clinton “for more competent” than Trump? A credible source please, not MSNBC.

          Except for Clinton’s silly re-start button schtick and Obama ordering sanctions against Russia for alleged hacking BEFORE his own report had been completed, you’re right – I know of no progress made by the last administration with Russia. Please, enlighten me with facts.

      • lois eisenberg

        Again a “Whatshisname”

  • lois eisenberg

    “Every leader except the liar-in-chief understands the principle that communication breeds trust, while lack of communication tends to breed suspicion.”

  • Ron Bischof
  • Ron Bischof

    This one is a real blooper and I cannot let it pass by

    by Tyler Cowen on March 27, 2017 at 7:23 am in Current Affairs, Data Source, Education, Uncategorized | Permalink

    I don’t usually “go after” news stories and headlines but this one is such a bad mistake, and it so affected my Twitter feed (I was swindled too), that it deserves comment (the pointer by the way comes from Alex, our Alex). Stephanie Saul wrote in The New York Times:

    Nearly 40 percent of colleges are reporting overall declines in applications from international students, according to a survey…

    Here is what the opening of the survey itself said:

    39% of responding institutions reported a decline in international applications, 35% reported an increase, and 26% reported no change in applicant numbers.

    The NYT article does not reproduce the more positive pieces of information, from its own cited study, which may be suggesting international applications are not down at all, or perhaps down by only a small amount. If you look at all the data, they probably are down, but by no conceivable stretch of the imagination should the 40% figure be reported without the other numbers. The headline of the piece?:

    Amid ‘Trump Effect’ Fear, 40% of Colleges See Dip in Foreign Applicants

    I look forward to not only a correction but in fact a retraction of the entire article and its headline.