Buddhism offers the “Noble Eight-Fold Path” as a way that all should follow. Among these Eight Paths is that of “Right Speech.” One who follows that Path is to abstain from lying.
Christian theologian Thomas Aquinas teaches that “it is natural for human beings to love their neighbor and the truth.” It follows that those who speak lies and sell falsehoods are committing sins against nature. We are not loving our neighbor if we are trafficking in lies.
Aquinas also teaches that truth is a way to justice and lies are a way to injustice. To pursue justice one needs to operate from truth.
Yet in our time, the most watched news cable station in America, now on trial in a 1.6 billion dollar lawsuit, is showing itself to be an institution dedicated to lying and offering a mega platform to those who spread lies. All who hold truth-telling in esteem, whether Buddhists, Christians, Jews or others who identify the divine with Truth, or anyone who recognizes the importance of truth for sustaining a society or democracy, ought to be concerned.
This week we learned* that when a Fox fact-checking correspondent questioned the veracity of Trump’s claims about winning the 2020 election, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott, wrote on December 2, 2020, “This has to stop now, this is bad for business…The audience is furious.” Scott complained that the company was losing subscriptions because of the fact-checking. Fox News viewers rebelled when the network accurately called the election for Biden. And Fox panicked.
One producer noted how putting Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell on the air was great for ratings, no matter how many lies they fabricated. “Any day with Rudy and Sidney is guaranteed gold!….To keep this alive we really need Rudy or Sidney.”
Rupert Murdoch, chairman of Fox, called Trump’s election lies that incited the events of January 6 “pretty much a crime…inevitable it blew up on Jan 6th.” Trump’s “insisting on the election being stolen and convincing 25% of Americans was a huge disservice to the country,” he wrote Scott on January 20, 2021. Yet his network spread these lies—and this disservice—non-stop.
It would seem that not only is “Fox News” an affront to the Path of “Right Speech” and Love of Neighbor and Truth, it is also an affront to the Path of “Right Livelihood” and “Good Work.”
See Matthew Fox, Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality, p. 99.
And Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, pp. 101-112.
And Fox, The Reinvention of Work.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s teaching video, click HERE.
Banner Image: Buddha Teaching the Group of Five. Wikimedia Commons. Sermon on the Mount, painting by Harold Copping. Wikimedia Commons.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you agree with Aquinas that it is “natural for human beings to love their neighbor and the truth.” What follows from that? And with the Buddha that “Right Speech” and “Right Livelihood” are integral to a fully human existence?
Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality
Matthew Fox renders Thomas Aquinas accessible by interviewing him and thus descholasticizing him. He also translated many of his works such as Biblical commentaries never before in English (or Italian or German of French). He gives Aquinas a forum so that he can be heard in our own time. He presents Thomas Aquinas entirely in his own words, but in a form designed to allow late 20th-century minds and hearts to hear him in a fresh way.
“The teaching of Aquinas comes through will a fullness and an insight that has never been present in English before and [with] a vital message for the world today.” ~ Fr. Bede Griffiths (Afterword).
Foreword by Rupert Sheldrake
The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times
A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of Aquinas’ mystical/prophetic genius, offering a sublime roadmap for spirituality and action.
Foreword by Ilia Delio.
“What a wonderful book! Only Matt Fox could bring to life the wisdom and brilliance of Aquinas with so much creativity. The Tao of Thomas Aquinas is a masterpiece.”
–Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit
The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood For Our Time
Thomas Aquinas said, “To live well is to work well,” and in this bold call for the revitalization of daily work, Fox shares his vision of a world where our personal and professional lives are celebrated in harmony–a world where the self is not sacrificed for a job but is sanctified by authentic “soul work.”
“Fox approaches the level of poetry in describing the reciprocity that must be present between one’s inner and outer work…[A]n important road map to social change.” ~~ National Catholic Reporter