A Lesson from Larry Flynt

Yeah, yeah, I know…he sells porn for a living.  Not a very Christian thing to do.  But here’s the thing…I’m a Christian who believes that everyone has something to teach me.  (craziness…I know!)

So I was driving home after school today hoping not to be pulled over by the super scary police, in my beat-up radio-less Fiat…thinking.    I was thinking about this whole mess with the president (that would be Alvaro Colom, Guatemala‘s president) being accused of murder, and my mind flashed to a scene from the movie The People vs. Larry Flynt, which I guiltily watched this past weekend (there was NOTHING else on…I swear!).

In it, Mr. Flynt’s lawyer questioned Rev. Jerry Falwell, who was on the stand during one of their many court battles.  The lawyer got Mr. Falwell to admit that what Hustler magazine had printed about him was so completely outrageous that no reasonable person could ever believe it.  This ended up being to the detriment of Mr. Falwell’s case as the jury had been given instructions that said if a reasonable person could not believe that the magazine had described actual facts about Mr. Falwell, then they would have to dismiss the claim against the magazine.

And it was that flashback that got me wondering.  If it was completely unreasonable to believe that the president could have ordered someone killed, why would reasonable people be believing it?  If it was a completely outlandish claim, why would so many rational people be calling for his resignation?  The point is that if he had to this point lived an upstanding, non-shady life, the masses would be dismissing such an accusation as preposterous rather than believing it.  Plato suggested that “when men speak ill of thee, live so as nobody may believe them.”  Now, I don’t know whether the president did or did not make the call he’s being accused of.  But apparently he’s lived a life that to this point allows people to believe that he could have.  And in the end, that may prove to be much more important than any of the actual facts (which no one will probably ever know anyway).  Just something to think about.

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