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Posts Tagged ‘supreme court’

There is new interest in trying to prop up the Stolen Valor Act, a federal statute that prohibits people from lying about military service and being awarded military medals.

Last week the Supreme Court struck down the law on grounds that it violated free speech on a 6-3 ruling.  Many were disappointed with the action.  Veterans and military groups across the nation spoke in favor of the law.  While honest and integrity are at the heart of the law, people forget the impact this ruling will have on our service members.  As veterans continue to return home and seek jobs, there is an increasing need to separate fact from fiction.  Many private firms, along with government agencies, have veteran hiring preferences.  Those with military service may be placed ahead of others when applying for a job.  So there is something to gain from lying on a resume or job application.

Lawmakers will likely take a second bite at the apple.  Efforts are underway to pass another version of the law, one more narrowly focused.  The Stolen Valor Act 2.0, will make it illegal to lie about military service for profit.  This way charlatans cannot benefit from claiming military medals or combat tours.  By changing direction and focusing on the issue of fraud, let’s hope that this version will make constitutional muster.

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Is lying free speech?  Veterans and civilians should have an answer this year.  The US Supreme Court will soon take up the Stolen Valor Act and determine if people can lie about military service.

The Stolen Valor Act was passed to address people who falsely claim military medals and awards.  Since September 11, 2001, the number of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines grew to meet the need of protecting our nation.  Unfortunately, the number of charlatans and swindlers also increased as warriors went off to defend America.  Military service regained much of the popularity and prestige that was lost in prior conflicts.  As veterans came home from Iraq and Afghanistan, more and more people would make false claims about missions, medals, or just being in the military.  In short, it was popular to lie.  You could easily exploit the actions of America’s warriors for your own personal gain.  It made you look good.  It made you stand out in a job interview.  It made you look courageous and full of integrity.  You could immediately become a valiant war veteran with little to no cost.

After the passage of the law, several people were arrested for making false claims about military service.  As appeals and court battles ensued, attorneys claimed that the law needed to be struck down to protect and guarantee “pure free speech” for every citizen.

No matter where you stand on the issue, we should all take time to reflect on the basic claim of the law and the current court case.  Is it okay to lie?

The Bible is pretty clear on the matter.  In fact, the issue was so important that God handed it down to Moses as one of the Ten Commandments.  It’s number nine if you were counting from home.  Exodus 20:1-17 spells out an important code for God’s people.  This would be the fundamental way that they should be set apart from the world and obey God.  While it may not be as popular as jazzing up a resume or getting a pat on the back, pleasing God carries a far greater reward.

As the court battle ebbs and flows, take time to understand the importance of being honest in every aspect of your life.

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