I am just old enough to remember one of the all-time great radio newsmen. Every day in his News and Comments, Paul Harvey would bring the news succinctly and with his own cogent analysis. But what I remember most was his feature known as The Rest of the Story. In these segments he would narrate the backstory behind famous events and people, always ending with his famous tag line: “And now you know the rest of the story!”
I just wish he were around today because I’m getting quite tired of being asked to believe what turns out to be only part of the story. And, if you listen to, or watch the broadcast “news” sources, you certainly know what I mean. Years ago, Dr. J. I. Packer put it well: “A half-truth masquerading as a whole truth is actually an untruth.”
Here are a few examples of what I mean.
We’ve all just heard that the California drought has drastically diminished our water supply and the culprits are those of us with green lawns. So, we citizens are commanded to cut back, but we only have part of the story. So tell us the rest. How do we measure the water supply? What amount ought we to have? Where are the levels now? How much rain water has been captured? And why were a few people on the Coastal Commission allowed to scuttle a plan to build the desalinization plant like San Diego has, which would have produced 50 million gallons of drinking water a day?
And how about the COVID news? We hear that infections are up by some percentage. But a percentage of what? If there is a 20% increase, then what is the baseline? Where were infections all along the timeline of the past couple years? Where are the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths? How do they compare with previous months in real numbers and not merely percentages? What comorbidities have played a roll? What’s the rest of the story?
And of course, there are the arguments surrounding the abortion decision that we’re expecting from the Supreme Court. We’ve all heard the rhetoric on the thousands of women who will lose their lives if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Am I the only one who thinks the fact that 63 million lives have already been intentionally ended by American women is at least an important element in the overall discussion?
I also find the signs proclaiming “my body my choice” somewhat misleading, given all but a very small percentage of women seeking abortions made the choice to engage in sexual activity. Why isn’t the choice to exercise mature common sexual sense being argued in the public square? Why isn’t it deemed as grossly immature to insist that the baby both partners were complicit in bringing to life pay the ultimate price for their choice to ignore the possible consequences of copulation?
As for the “gender-affirming” trans movement, we really need the rest of the story. Why don’t we hear about the research that is shouting dire warnings against radical hormone therapy and “transitional surgeries” for anyone, but especially for elementary school-aged children? Why aren’t we provided stories about the predictions from legal authorities that in a decade there will be massive lawsuits filed by those children who, having been manipulated and mutilated, are now suing their parents, teachers and therapists?
And, in the ever-expanding world of “phobias,” when are we going to get the rest of the story? When will it become clear that disagreement is not “fear,” and disagreement does not equal hate? I believe sex outside of marriage between one man and one woman lies outside of our Creator’s design. Having said this, I am not “afraid” (the true meaning of the Greek words phobos and phobia) of those who practice what I consider wrong, and neither do I hate them given that, as a Christ-follower, I actually strive to love my neighbors as well as my opponents. Should I follow the trend and brand everyone who disagrees with me “Christophobic?” No, I won’t because they do not fear Christ, as their worldview clearly demonstrates.
So, where to end? My purpose here is simply to say to you my friends and my critics, don’t settle for partial truth. Don’t act on half of the story. And certainly, don’t hate others because you disagree with their point of view. The real pandemic is our culture’s pervasive incivility. It is everywhere. And this incivility is the product of half-truths brandished about as whole truths leaving so many blindly accepting untruths. It’s time we demanded the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Local resident David Hegg is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church. “Ethically Speaking” appears Sundays.