When I was growing up, I was taught that what our family believed was the Truth; if you didn’t agree, you were wrong. Then I learned that there is my truth, your truth, and then there is the Truth. In 2016 President-elect Trump is trying to convince me that there is no truth; truth is what is convenient in the moment.
Wiser men and women than I are debating this self-serving belief. This is not a political blog per se, although I do have a political perspective. But Mr. Trump’s stance is not just a political issue. It is a moral (or amoral) statement. As a Christian I protest! And I believe all Christians should look beyond their politics to the sleight of hand we are being asked to ignore.
When Jesus was baptized and given God’s approval to minister publicly in his world, his first action was to disappear into the wilderness (Matt. 4: 1-11). There he faced the Father of lies who attempted to move him off his moral center by flattering and cajoling him and offering him power and the adulation of the people. Jesus resisted the temptation to take the short cut to “success.” He centered his message and ministry on the truth he had learned and experienced from his journey with God the Father.
Donald Trump has done the opposite. He is in the middle of a “thank you” tour, reveling in his victory and pumping up his followers with whatever “truth” comes to his mind . . . . and walking back other statements that were truths when he was campaigning but are no longer useful. I have been told that “all politicians lie and Mr. Trump is no different.” Even if that were true, however, most politicians don’t like to be caught in a lie. Mr. Trump seems to have no concern about that – perhaps because truth is what he says it is. Undoubtedly he is aware that it is hard to hit a moving target.
American Christians need to carefully consider Mr. Trump’s belief that we should not take what he says literally – as he tweets false information without apology. How do we live in a world where truth is what I say it is? How does the Trump’s principle of owning truth square with Jesus’ statement, “I am the way and the truth and the life”? (John 14:6)
A study of other world leaders who believed that they can manipulate the truth for their own purposes (lie) – Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Hugo Chavez and more recently Thaksin Shinawatra (Thailand), Rodrigo Duterte (the Philippines), Silvio Berlusconi (Italy), Vladimir Putin (Russia) to name a few – is truly frightening. Christians need to remember Edmund Burke’s belief that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing.”
Click here to find Part 1 of “People of the Lie.”