Virtual Voices

Lying cloaked as virtue

Worldview

In mid-February ESPN execs fired Anthony Federico for using the words "Chink in the Armor" in his headline, because it violated the current politically correct culture. Apparently there is no such outrage over overtly encouraging dishonest destructive behavior.

On Monday's edition of the Fox News commentary show The Five, Bob Beckel led a discussion of a proposed law in Richland, Calif., that would restrict smoking even in the front yard of one's own home. Beckel and the other four commentators were rightfully unanimous in their outrage at the overreach of the authorities proposing this intrusion into personal liberty. But Beckel went a step further.

He voluntarily proposed a method for all "smokers" on "How to avoid the $250 fine for smoking in your hotel room." Beckel explained with a smug smile this scheme: Check into your room, smoke as you wish, use the soap dish as an ashtray because hotels no longer provide ashtrays, leave a $20 tip for the maid, and upon checkout, proceed to the front desk, fill out a survey form critiquing your stay, and say that you are furious that they gave you a room in which the previous guest had smoked. "It works every time," Beckel said with a proud smile. Everyone on the panel laughed and Beckel thought he was quite clever, gloating in a scam well executed and well taught. Lying was presented as a virtue.

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In the discussion that followed, Beckel's underlying deceit and lack of values was totally submerged as the focus was on "the unreasonable smoke police everywhere." But what Beckel revealed about himself and about his liberal thinking in general was telling. He revealed that lying was an easy act for him. He even thought it virtuous, since he had decided the rule of no smoking in hotel rooms was unfair. He revealed that if a rule affected him personally and negatively, he saw nothing wrong with ignoring and flaunting it. He revealed that he had no problem causing damage to property as long as he was not held responsible. Finally, he encouraged every smoker watching the show to copy his behavior and try out the scam. His total lack of sensitivity to personal truth, virtue, good and evil was as appalling as it was effortless. It seemed an innate element of his character. The ease with which he explained and recommended this tactic was as natural and free flowing as a cat licking his paws to clean his head. So the next time you check into a hotel and the room reeks of smoke, you can thank Bob Beckel for the odor.

All that is bad enough, but the total lack of any negative reaction to Beckel's instruction reveals much more about the panel, the audience, and the executives who tolerate and even reward this behavior. Lying is now accepted as OK, even creative. I am not a smoker, nor am I a non-smoking Nazi, but I do want to encourage truthfulness and properly righting wrongs. I do not want to see lying and destructive behavior encouraged and made to be virtuous. Smoking in a hotel room does degrade the value of the room. Try selling a hotel with all rooms smelling like smoke. It will sell for less if it sells at all.

I hope that every hotel manager in the country reads this and adjusts accordingly. I also hope other smokers who read this will be appalled at the thought of copying this scheme. I hope that others will become sensitive to the ease in which we are sometimes sucked into a smoothly presented lie and will consciously try to develop discernment for the truth. Bob Beckel, do not check into my hotel!

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

Bill Newton
Bill Newton

Bill is a pastor based in Asheville, N.C. He also serves as a member of God World Publications' board of directors.

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