Don Shipley’s purpose in life is to expose fake Navy SEALs (like the one portrayed above). There are heaps of these fakers. They buy a Navy uniform online, add in some insignia and medals, create a dramatic story about themselves, and before long they get all the glory of being a US Navy SEAL without any of the hard work or danger. On the other hand, Shipley is an actual retired Navy special operator. He became a US Navy SEAL in 1984 and retired in 2003 as a senior chief petty officer. Now he and his wife Diane spend their time ferreting out fake Navy SEALs – they go after “stolen valour.” The impostors are lying about their military service, stealing the honour from those who actually did serve, and the Shipleys are all about smoking them out.
There’s something satisfying about watching someone expose lies. I suppose it must appeal to our sense of justice. When a deceiver gets caught and humiliated we say, “Serves you right. You got what you deserved.”
Perhaps it also relates to the fact that so many other lies don’t get exposed. Our world is eagerly embracing deception and hardly anyone wants to talk about it. Falsehood is at the root of the accelerating social change ripping up the foundations of western civilization.
I was reminded of this the other day while reading Melvin Tinker’s That Hideous Strength: A Deeper Look at How the West was Lost. Tinker describes how neo-Marxism has successfully transformed society. One of the greatest challenges is that neo-Marxism doesn’t care about morality or truth. “Facts” are just means to an end and, when you have the power, they are there to be manipulated according to your desires. Tinker writes:
For neo-Marxist Gyorgy Lukacs, the saying of the German nineteenth century idealist philosopher Gottlieb Fichte is taken as axiomatic to further the revolution, ‘If theory conflicts with the facts, so much the worse for the facts.’ It is the inability to recognise this feature of cultural Marxism as it works itself out, for example, in the debate on homosexuality in the Church which leads to frustration and failure by conservative Christians. No matter how many Bible texts one might refer to or theological arguments adduced to support the traditional position on the matter, even when backed by scientific and medical findings, the progressive steam roller has been set in motion and trivial matters such as ‘truth’ will not be allowed to get in the way. This is tied to another ‘given’ of Lukacs, ‘Communist ethics makes it the highest duty to accept the necessity to act wickedly.’ The progressives play to a different set of rules and take no hostages. (pp.68-69)
When you have power, you have power to make your own “truth.”
Tinker explains further how this works out in practice. He discusses the influential 1989 book After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s. Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen argued that the homosexual community needed to harness the propaganda power of the media, including the use of deceptive advertising. Tinker quotes this excerpt:
It makes no difference that the ads are lies; not to us, because we’re using them to ethically good effect, to counter negative stereotypes that are every bit as much lies, and far more wicked ones; not to bigots, because the ads will have their effect on them whether they believe them or not. (quoted on p.92 of That Hideous Strength)
Note well: in this way of thinking, the wickedest lies need to be countered with more lies and the ends justify the means.
In my time here in Australia a debate about same-sex marriage has come and gone. SSM is now a reality in this country. During this debate it was often said by advocates that SSM wasn’t going to change anything. It was merely about equality. Some believed this, perhaps even many. But it was a lie. Everyone could have known that if they’d only been listening. Russian-American LGBT activist Masha Gessen was speaking in Sydney in 2012 and Melvin Tinker quotes what she said:
Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we’re going to do with marriage when we get there. Because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie. The institution of marriage is going to change and it should change, and again, I don’t think it should exist. (quoted on p.108 of That Hideous Strength)
It’s highly likely that even some SSM advocates believed this message to be true, but Gessen’s admission demonstrates how the engineers behind it knew it was a fabrication.
There’s that famous saying (variously attributed) that there are three types of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. However, from a biblical point of view, all lies are damnable. God condemns lying as being the devil’s work. Indeed, Jesus tells us that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). On the other hand, Jesus is truth embodied (John 14:6). In the Christian worldview, there’s truth and there are lies. There’s reality and there’s that which doesn’t correspond to reality. Facts and reality aren’t things with which we can play fast and loose according to our desires or agendas.
In union with Jesus Christ, our calling is to live according to the truth. We can never use lies as a means to further the cause of the gospel. Ephesians 4:25 says, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbour, for we are members of one another.” But we’re to go a step further according to Ephesians 5:11, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Don and Diane Shipley expose those who fraudulently steal honour from the Navy SEAL community. The Christian’s calling is to expose those who fraudulently steal honour from God. We must be God’s instruments to uphold truth, to convict liars and bring them to see their great need for Jesus, who alone is the way, the TRUTH, and the life.