No. 368

Several years ago I heard my friend Bob Murphy from Nacogdoches, Texas tell about a young man who had just gotten elected to his first term in the state legislature. When this young man arrived at the state capitol to perform his duty, an old member who had been there for years, took him in tow to show him the ropes. After he had given him a tour and introduced him to a number of prominent people he said, Son, I want to give you a little advice. You have been elected to represent your people. You are in a position of power where you can be of greater service than anyone in your district. With that in mind, above all else, be Honest, just take money from one side and stay with em.
When I heard Bob tell that story it was funny, but in todays times its not nearly as funny as it used to be. Its a sad day in America when we see more and more corporate executives being led away in handcuffs because they had been indicted for participating in schemes to achieve dishonest gain. In other words, they have bilked those they represent out of millions and millions of dollars. Greed is a terrible thing.
In case you have not thought about it, the word honest means A person who will not lie, cheat or steal. One who is truthful and trustworthy. Obviously, the people who have been involved in various dishonest schemes thought or think they can get away with it. They either didnt care or forgot to consider their family members who were or are going to be humiliated, plus the fact they would wind up spending time in jail or prison.
Im sure you know that dishonesty comes in many different forms. Here is a good example that I had never run across before. You may recall a recent column about Dr. Billy Grahams daughter being interviewed on television soon after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. What she said (or was supposed to have said) was wonderful and Ive had more positive feedback regarding that particular column than any in a long time. I totally agreed with the content, otherwise I would not have shared it with you.
Sadly, here is what happened. Some person took her sentiments and added a good number of things that she did not say to further their own cause. In her interview, Anne Graham Lotz did not say anything about Madeline Murray OHare, prayer in schools, Bible reading in schools, Dr. Benjamin Spock, teachers, principals, lack of school discipline, abortions for our daughter, murder, suicide, satanic themes and on an on.
One of my very astute readers, Mr. Carroll Williams, called me the day the column ran and pointed this out to me. He was even kind enough to send me the transcript of the actual interview. The way this lie was perpetuated was by e-mail over the Internet. While I am nave and perhaps a little too trusting, I never even considered checking the transcript against the e-mail to see if it was accurate. When I contacted the ministry headed by Anne Graham Lotz, a staff member wrote me back to say they were aware that a false interview was being circulated.
Here, I am reminded of what Gomer Pyle would say, Shame, Shame, Shame. In my heart I believe this person thought they were furthering the claims of Christ, when all they really did was turn a wonderful interview into a lie and in doing so, they did more damage than any good they could have ever hoped to achieve. What this person should have done is stand on his or her own two feet and shout it from the rooftop. In America we have the freedom to do that. But dont ever lie by putting words into someone elses mouth to further your own cause.
My sincere apologies to each of you who read my previous column. I will try to be more careful in the future. Ignorance is one thing, but deliberately lying is wrong. We all need to be honest, because there will be a payday someday. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 2034.)