Of all the dishonesty in the world, probably few public spectacles (in a non-election year) have matched the Casey Anthony trial. We will never know what happened to her poor child because of the utter lack of fidelity by almost every person called to her defense. Her family told wild tales; contradicting each other and at times, even themselves. When the last words were spoken, the Florida jury, like most Americans, had no chance of piecing together what actually happened to her daughter three years ago. Without a definitive story to go by, the jury had no choice but to declare Anthony not guilty. The only thing they knew for sure was that she was a liar.
I have come to believe that the most important aspect of relationships is honesty. Without honesty all interactions begin from a stance of distrust. Is it any wonder that when Adam and Eve fell from grace, the first thing they did was hide themselves from each other and from God? We often speak in terms of “misunderstanding” and “confusion,” but often these phenomenons are deliberately caused by deceit and evasion. Often times this deceit is so ingrained we don’t even do it consciously. It becomes built into our cognitive communicative process. We use words not to communicate reality, but to communicate in a way to project a version of reality upon those we speak to in order to garner a preferred response. In response, we learn at an early age to treat all incoming communication with an element of distrust. We attempt to “decode” what we are being told based on (sometimes faulty) information weighed against how honest or deceitful we believe the person talking to us is. In the end we are left with a world where we can fully trust anyone and devolve into a mild paranoia.
Contrasting this reality of the world we live in, Jesus told his followers to escape the trappings of dishonesty. He presented to his few disciples a radical standard of honesty, telling them to let their “yes” be “yes” and their “no” be “no.” By reducing honesty to the two most direct responses, and demanding fidelity in those responses, he left no wiggle-room for “miscommunication” or any other sort breach of truth. There is no difference between “little white lies” and criminal cover-ups in regards to this standard. While we may justify our lies as harmless, we rarely dismiss the same sorts of lies when directed at us. The end result is a world where we will never know the full story and will always be forced to act on bad information. We have grafted dishonesty in some form or another into our DNA, and it has reached the point where we don’t even notice or care even more.
During the trial the defense attorney told the jury that Casey Anthony lied to police because lying was all she knew how to do. That was the most honest thing I have heard in a while.