Never be afraid of raising your voice for honesty and truth and … against … lying and greed.  If people all over the world … would do so, it would change the earth.  (Emphasis added.)

William Faulkner

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You know you live in very trying times – times full of risk and increasing danger – when truth is rare and getting rarer.

Truth used to be the hard currency of leaders and the desire of reporters and newspapers. It seems, but for few exceptions, neither the elected nor journalists have much interest in truth or the stamina required to seek it.

In the midst of this I remember St. Thomas Aquinas and his words:

“As a matter of honor, one man owes it to another to manifest the truth.”

Seeking the truth requires effort, re-thinking one’s view, listening to others and that requires, in itself, humility.

Yesterday I listened to the President’s hour-long press conference.  As a lawyer I listened with growing concern.  He spoke with such certainty – yet, his utterances word after word, topic after topic left out aspects of the issue discussed in a manner that labeled his words untrue.  Had he been my client I’d have grilled him until he attended to the facts he ignored and the version of crimped reality that, in its offering, said of him and what he uttered, “I am not attending to the truth.”

I know people whose ancestors left their native country to come to America so they might practice their faith freely, so they might know its truth and live it.  Yet, generations removed from the ancestors their present day remnant live in this land devoid of faith, and unable and unwilling to acknowledge the lying of their favorite politician – when the lying has produced legal problems galore for that politician.

Strange to see such people ignore truth.  Strange to see its absence in The New York Times and The Washington Post and televised news.  Indeed, I now ignore those who no longer speak truthfully – I do so in order to avoid their sickness, not let the “comfort” of untruth and lying settle in my life, infect and sicken my heart and soul.

As to truth, we have a character crisis.

How have we gotten here?

While there is a longer answer than this space allows so I can offer one critical ingredient: we no longer believe in God.  That being absent, we do not have a common ground of shared fundamental belief.

When that which has served to organize society is no longer shared and that thing contained a fundamental paradigm of truth about the human person and his existence, we live, quite simply, as lost souls, attempting each to conduct our affairs ad hoc, depending on our rendition of reality and truth and often some concocted ideology – which always reverts to our self-centered and unrestrained desires, guided by fear and a feeble mind.

Neither a culture nor country can survive on lies.

We’re no longer in Kansas anymore.