Sometimes politicians shouldn’t tell the truth

It’s always amusing to watch politicians try to wiggle their way out of trouble.

Some of the more obvious lies told by our elected officials – “I did not have sex with that woman,””I did not inhale,” and “I am not a crook” – have undoubtedly jaded the American political psyche to such an extent that people don’t even expect honesty out of politicians.

It’s gotten so bad that straightforward lying is almost desirable in politics today. When politicians are honest, they often have more to answer for than if they had just lied.

Take U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris, for example. While speaking to the Florida Baptist Witness, Harris questioned the validity of the separation of church and state and called it a lie. She also said if Christians are not elected into public office, the federal government will “legislate sin.”

In the political firestorm that followed her comments, Harris said she was “speaking to a Christian audience, addressing a common misperception that people of faith should not be actively involved in government.” She then used her “deep Judeo-Christian values” as justification for her statements.

Precisely what this “common misconception” Harris is addressing is unknown to this editorial board. Elected officials who are deeply religious are the rule, not the exception. Harris’ personal religious roots don’t get her off the hook, either. The majority of Americans are religious to some extent – few would agree with the gist of Harris’s theocracy-endorsing comments.

There aren’t a lot of alternatives for Harris. She can either say she didn’t mean it and was posing for an audience who appreciated it – in which case she doesn’t mean what she says – or she can say she did mean it and that she thinks the separation of church and state is a lie.

With three other Republican candidates on the primary ballot and a Democratic incumbent on the ballot in November, it’s possible that her campaign might be a moot point.

It’s a new low for politicians, regardless: Now they sound just as bad when they tell the truth as when as they lie.