We should be understanding of our political leaders as they try to contain and lessen the impact of COVID-19. These men and women are making difficult decisions and many of them are legitimately trying to do their best to save lives, even if we think their decisions are harmful or counterproductive.
However, we cannot excuse them lying to us. Our civil authorities knowingly lied about the effectiveness of masks in preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus. Had they outright banned the sale of the masks to make sure that there were enough for medical professionals, I would have been fine with that. An emergency sometimes requires temporary emergency powers.
Lying about it, however, is completely unacceptable and is a rebellion against Almighty God and against His perfect law. Scripture is clear that God hates lies. Christians must never compromise on this and must never excuse lies by the government, even if the intentions behind those lies are “good” – and saving lives is most certainly good. But the law of God is paramount. Our government must submit to God’s law.
Lies are ultimately harmful and counterproductive because lies destroy trust and make people less willing to obey reasonable and lawful “stay at home” orders. If people cannot trust the civil magistrate, law and order starts to break down. Honesty and transparency are critically important.
We also live in a time where conspiracy theories spread like wildfire. We see these conspiracy theories every day in our social media news feeds. Twenty years ago, we saw them in our e-mail inboxes. There are many good things about the internet, but one of the bad things is that the speed of communication allows conspiracy theories and urban legends to spread at a speed that is unprecedented throughout human history. When our civil authorities lie to us, they enable and strengthen these conspiracy theories and the hacks and fraudsters who exploit the theories for their own advantage.
We should not forget that we are in this crisis because the Communist government of China lied about and covered up the spread and severity of the novel coronavirus. Our own government is hypocritical if they denounce Communist China and then engage in the exact same dishonesty.
If we are going to slow the spread of the Communist Virus to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed and save as many lives as possible, we need to have people trust the government and obey reasonable orders. If that trust is broken, efforts to “flatten the curve” are doomed to failure, especially as people become more economically desperate. Most of all, though, lies cannot be tolerated because it God is the source of all truth, and He forbids lies in His Word.