This is heartbreaking. Sadly, young people are used to being lied to. Despite the avowals of their parents (“Mommy and Daddy will always love each other”), only “45 percent of U.S. children on the cusp of adulthood have grown up in an intact married family. The mother and father of the remaining 55 percent of 17-year-olds have at some time rejected each other as husband and wife.”

Given that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are about 20 million new cases of sexually-transmitted disease annually, it’s safe to say that a lot of young people are lying to one another, too.

President Obama presented himself as someone different, as a leader who shared the same somewhat jaded view of politics and politicians as the rest of us. He would bring a fresh wind of change to Washington not only because he stood outside petty partisanship and ideological squabbling, but because he would shoot straight with us. Instead, as economist Mark Hendrickson writes scathingly in Forbes, “(Mr.) Obama repeatedly shows himself to be an implacable ideologue who never lets reality interfere with his demagoguery.”

Frankly, I hate writing that our president is a liar. No one expects, or should expect, moral perfection from anyone, including political leaders. But is basic integrity too much to ask?

Having been in Washington for more than 20 years, I’ve been around a number of politicians, Republican and Democratic alike, who have betrayed their spouses, their constituents, and, on occasion, even the vital interests of their country. All of these betrayals are disgraceful.

What make Mr. Obama’s lies so odious is that they derive from such a potent source, that of the senior and most respected office and office-holder in the nation, and that they have been about Mr. Obama’s overwhelmingly most important legislative achievement.

Disillusionment, once it takes hold, is hard to shake. Its grip is made even tighter when the person who disillusions is one in whom such high but not wholly unrealistic hopes had been invested.

The effects of Mr. Obama’s dishonesty are only beginning to be felt. The laceration he has made on the soul of our country goes deep. Its effects will be many, and the wound will not be easily healed.

Paul the apostle wrote of himself and his co-laborers in the Gospel that “we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man” (II Corinthians 8:21). Mr. President, it’s not too late for you to follow suit.


Rob Schwarzwalder

Schwarzwalder, senior vice president of the Family Research Council, is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and graduate of Western Seminary (Portland, OR).