For some people, lying is easier than telling the truth because memory and facts aren’t required.
Our current president has stopped even trying to mask his lies. The more lies he tells, the more his followers believe. It must be so much easier for this administration than the 44 that preceded it. Others had to make sure there were facts to back up their ideologies.
Members of this administration simply make up scenarios and tickle their followers’ ears with no regard to reality — or even possibility.
Take President Donald Trump’s heartwarming story from the campaign trail that he told on the way back from his Korea trip.
“The soldiers that died in Korea, their remains will be coming back home,” Trump said of his deal with Kim Jong Un. “We have thousands and thousands of people that have asked for that. So many people asked when I was on the campaign trail ... when you can, Mr. President, we would love our son to be brought back home, you know the remains.”
Let’s take a look at that story.
First, why would people on the campaign trail be calling Trump “Mr. President?” That’s an obvious tell. He is conflating who he is now with who he was during the campaign because the story is some delusional fantasy that his base will love to hear. Second, there aren’t “so many” people still alive who have sons who died in Korea.
That conflict ended in 1953. They would all be well over 100-years-old. You have to realize that the grand total of people having that conversation with him was zero.
None of this ever happened. Not one word of that is true.
If you are reasoning in your mind right now about how what Trump said might be true, you are part of a big problem in this country. He isn’t even working hard to tell believable lies. You need to stop trying so hard to believe them.
That’s why what happened this week at my denomination’s national conference was so disturbing. I don’t know who the 60 percent were that voted to invite Vice President Mike Pence to speak at the Southern Baptist Convention, but I assume they were some of those same people who talked to Donald Trump about their kids coming home from the Korean War.
After this week’s Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas, Ed Stetzer, the Director of The Billy Graham Center, repeated a famous quote. “When you mix politics and religion, you get politics.”
Despite already fighting multiple controversies relating to the Seminary based in the same city where the convention was held, somehow the leaders of the conference came together and decided to bring in Vice President Mike Pence as a guest speaker.
That had to be reassuring to immigrants, people of color and any Democrat. I assume they all feel very welcome in the denomination now.
As Paul said to Timothy in an unfound third letter which hasn’t been included in the Biblical cannon, “When you have an affair with a sex worker while your third wife is home nursing your fifth child, make sure you have a good fixer to pay her off or you could get indicted. Otherwise, the Religious Right won’t support you.”
Obviously that was satire because Trump didn’t even have a good fixer and the Religious Right still supports him.
That’s the man Pence represented when he came to talk to the convention of churches.
Pence, who self-describes with the oxymoronic term of “evangelical Catholic,” was hand-picked to be Donald Trump’s running mate by Paul Manafort — Trump’s campaign chair who has been indicted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Pence put on a full-throated political rally for Trump at the gathering of Southern Baptist messengers. He even assured the crowd that he and Trump are taking the fight to Muslims on their own soil. I’m not sure that the Southern Baptist missionaries who share that soil and are working to reach people there with the gospel find much comfort in that.
“Come to Christ or Run from us” author and pastor Wade Burleson said, “Two different messages. SBC has to decide which one takes priority.”
I know one of the people who liked the idea of Pence speaking at the convention was the head of the Southern Baptist Seminary in New Orleans.
Chuck Kelley tweeted from the conference.
“Vice President Mike Pence speaking to SBC! Why do things like this matter?” Kelley asked. “It is good for people in power to know us. We may need them at some point. Also, we need to affirm evangelicals in politics. It is a tough calling.”
I guess we may need Vice President Pence or President Trump, you know, in case the whole Jesus thing doesn’t work out. It’s always good to have a back-up plan.
All snark and satire aside, discussing politics in a church meeting at any level is a bad idea. Bringing that particular politician to this particular meeting in this particular year shows a real tin ear.
Like many denominations, the Southern Baptist Convention has its problems. More divisiveness and partisanship isn’t the solution for any of them.
— Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.