Last Saturday morning my wife Gloria left the house saying she was going to get her hair cut. Some time later she returned, opened the front door and entered. A few steps behind her was my wonderful younger daughter Melissa. The two had conspired for weeks to surprise me in anticipation of my approaching birthday by having Melissa come for a visit. I was totally astounded, had no hint of what was going on. We had a marvelous weekend.
But Gloria told me a lie. It was unvarnished prevarication, an outright fabrication totally lacking in verisimilitude. Yes, but it was a virtuous lie, free of all moral delinquency., absent of any moral taint. The act met the two fundamental criteria of moral judgment(1). It honored my worth as a human being, and it had good consequence.
I shall always remember with gratitude this virtuous lie.
(1) The two are: honor the intrinsic worth of all sentient beings, especially humans, and promote the optimum good possible in a situation. My authority is the renowned philosopher-theologian Kenneth Cauthen in his classic work, The Ethics of Belief, 2 vols (Lima, Ohio: CSS Publishing Co., 2001)