My experience is that most people think this commandment says "thou shalt
not lie" which it doesn't exactly say either. I agree the spirit and
heart of it is t hat we should not slander, libel, even scurrilously intimate.
Such things are not taken seriously, just like most of the other
commandments.Gossip, the cowardly and dastardly attack on the
reputation of another based on evil surmisings, envy, and speculation is
epidemic. Gossips downplay the damage they do by superficially, jestingly
bespeaking "tasty" or "juicy" pieces of gossip. I think it
should be actionable but courts commonly don't seem much interested in
prosecuting such wickedness. Divorce, and many other, judicial trials would not
be so irresponsible if perjury was taken seriously. The Old
Testament law has it right: the person guilty of making false accusations
should, to begin with, suffer any penalty that such an accusation would bring
upon another. It is, I agree, not only what is usually termed perjury, lying
under oath, that should be actionable. A gossip should be held in contempt by
our society which, perversely, seems to rather encourage it than anything.
Some one once said; It doesn't matter weather what's right or wrong
but who wrights it for the history books.