george_hancockstefanDuring the presidential debates and the days after, we have been introduced to many intentional inconsistencies in the presentations.  While some commentators would say that the statistics does not bear the candidate out, others were more direct and would say that either President Obama or Governor Romney intentionally lied.  A person that tells lies is a liar and we were presented with two people who for the sake of reaching a particular governmental position were willing to lie to themselves and to us.

I was in kindergarten when my Mother found out that I was lying for the first time.  I told my kindergarten teacher that I was feeling sick and she let me go home. My mother observed that I was really having a good time by myself (not sick at all) and took me that day to the teacher to ask forgiveness for lying to her.  I tried it a couple of more times, but my mother’s punishment cured me of that desire.  Later on, as I learned the Ten Commandments it was drilled into me that telling the truth was the best thing that I could do.

I was thinking if the candidates’ mothers, Mrs. Romney and Mrs. Obama, were both alive and able to listen to their sons’ debates would they not turn to their respective son and say: Son, you have really embarrassed me by your lies tonight! Son, could you do better next time!

I was also thinking of a number of times in the Old Testament and New Testament when people lied to God.  Acan in the battle of Jericho had stolen some beautiful clothes and lied to Joshua and God and he was destroyed together with his family.  Or in the New Testament, Ananias and Sapphira, husband and wife agreed together to lie to God.  Peter asked them if they have indeed sold their property with the price the couple provided and when they confirmed the false price, they dropped dead on the spot.

I have met people who argue that personal ethics are very different than official or business ethics.  I personally have difficulty in accepting that. There are people who make a great separation between the presidency as an office and the president as a person.  They hold the office in high esteem, while they disrespect the president.  However, I become more convinced that even in this highly complex time of ours, the presidency and the president are tightly interwoven.  A presidential candidate who is willing to lie in order to get to be president will lie while he is president.  Therefore, in a simple way, the presidency is made by the president.


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In the 15th century, before the Reformation started, Catherine of Siena, one of the great Catholic saints, coined the expression “sickness in head and in body.” It meant that from the pope, who was the head, to the people in the church, who were the body, all were corrupt and all were lying. They became used to a lying lifestyle.

I was thinking that in the 21st century, the ‘sickness in head and in body” is repeated again.  Our presidential candidates do not mind if they have to tell lies.  It does not appear to upset those within their own political affiliations if the lies are told for the benefit of their party.  The young people view this display and see that lying is a strategy. Lying is not awarded the negative stigma it once had. They in turn lie to one another. Consequently, we have become a nation who really does not feel good in the presence of the truth because we are too much used to telling ourselves lies.

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Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...