The Unforgivable Sin

If I should live a thousand years,
I shall never understand
Why they have such outrage
Over calling a liar a liar
And none over the lie itself—
Unless it is because,
In calling out the lie,
The challenger is threatening the very essence of their being—
Desecrating the twisted religion—
Toppling the idol of the lying class—
That being, of course, the lie itself.

They are outraged to the core
With the same fire that is summoned
By cursing someone’s mother
Or by spitting in his face.
He assumes a fundamental right,
To feel it deeply and fiercely
And to lash out with impunity.
And when he does it,
He’s not processing reason and principle,
But acting on mere impulse,
As the barking dog,
At once protecting what he considers his
And pretending he is not afraid.

And if you tell him he’s done wrong in all that,
You have reached down to the bottom of his shallow soul,
Where there’s little but the fear of being
Undone by the words of another—
That fear which he has painted over with anger and spite,
Thinking those the more fashionable traits.
This is his house of cards,
Threatened by the mere breath of the truth-teller,
Before a word ever parts the truthful lips.

And so they band together, the liars—
“Enemy of my enemy”, and all—
Even though they lie to one another
And hate it when it is done to them—
And they call you out for having
“Crossed the line” and
“Gone too far”—
The lie in question, apparently,
Having done neither,
As far as they are concerned.

I have watched the fledgling honest—
Who think honesty a good idea,
Thought their beliefs are not yet
Soaked through and through with it.
They get swept up in that outrage,
Having learned it by long exposure
To the ways of this world,
Until it just seems right to them to be offended, too,
Having never thought it through
To discover the error in it.
And they have no idea
What harm they cause
By throwing in with the liars
To shun the one who calls out the lie.

And so it goes in this world
That the lie and its teller
Are well protected,
While he who dares to call them out
Is committing the unforgivable sin—
The sin that cannot be tolerated,
Lest their whole way of life
Should come crashing down.
They are in a fight
For their very way of life.

Though the greatest Liar ever was undone
By the greatest Truth Teller,
The mindless masses
Have found little cause in his downfall
To reconsider their own ways.
For most, the will leave this world
Still counting the lie their friend.

But there is still that miracle of miracles
By which that rare soul decides to let go of it
While still this side of the grave—
To let the truth be what it is—
To fall where it may—
To let its light shine into their dark corners—
And to tell it themselves,
Even to themselves—
Having decided to defend against it no longer—
And daring to tell it even to liars who will turn on them for it,
Booing and hissing and scowling as they do,
In that great theater of pretending,
Where one puts on a show for himself
And pretends it’s a good one.

To tell them they are lying
Is to do that one service
They have already refused to do for themselves.
They’ll have none of it,
From you or anybody else,
For as long as they think
They are in charge—
That being, it seems,
One of the fundamental lies.

19680cookie-checkThe Unforgivable Sin

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