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Because a lie was viewed as depending on one's intent, so long as the equivocator told the truth in his own mind (before God, as it were), he was not held to have lied even if a listener or reader was deceived.
They had intermarried with the governing and merchant classes, and many New Christians now feared persecution as equivocators.
QUOTE -- ``I think there are people in this room who will actually go out and stand for the mindless, mediocre equivocators who put our principles on the back burner while promising that they will achieve everything under the sun.