For many years, I have felt that the ninth commandment ‘Thou shall not give false evidence against your neighbour’ (Exodus 20:16) meant giving evidence in a statement to the police or on oath in a court of law. As a Police Officer I always did my best to record things accurately and when called upon, to tell the truth in court. In spite of pressures from others, I was not prepared to embellish the facts or bend the truth to secure a conviction. That was not my job, nor was it morally acceptable.
Today a completely unrelated incident has made me think more deeply about this commandment – the report of the actor Phil Hoffman’s death. It was not the tragic circumstances of his death, but the role of Father Flynn, a Catholic priest that he played in the film ‘Doubt’ which is based on a play by John Patrick Stanley called Doubt: A Parable.
The clip below speaks for itself.