Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article originally ran in July 2014 under a different U.S. administration. The author has re-submitted it this week because the problem of lying in government is evergreen and not the sole purvey of any political party or affiliation.
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The chaos in our government is breaking my heart. I wonder if any politician is righteous and honest. It seems like no one tells the truth any more. Hardly anyone will stand up and say, "I was wrong. I did it."
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Our present culture reminds me of Aaron's behavior when Moses rebuked him for making the golden calf: "Don't blame me," Aaron said, "All I did was throw some gold in the fire and out jumped this calf."
What happens to a nation when its governmental leaders lie and can't be trusted?
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You’ve heard about politicians “putting a spin” on things. But why don’t we call it what it really is: “propaganda.” Propaganda is when someone takes facts and twists them for their own best interests.
To illustrate, I’m going to use Paul Joseph Goebbels as an example. He used propaganda as a weapon.
Goebbels was a German politician and the Reich Minister of Propaganda for Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. With his propaganda-spin, he convinced millions of Germans that the Aryan race was superior to all others. He deluded millions into believing that Jews and gypsies were inferior and ought to be exterminated.
And six million Jews died in the Holocaust.
PLEASE DON’T MISUNDERSTAND ME! NO AMERICAN POLITICIAN COMES CLOSE TO THE DASTARDLY GOEBBELS.
Nevertheless, he represents better than anyone else the ultimate power of spinning the facts for his own purposes.
The Congressional approval rating is hovering in the teens. One survey shows that 60% of Americans no longer believe that politicians are truthful about most issues. You’ve heard the term “fake news”?
Propaganda is not new. We might say that every government—especially autocratic dictators—engage in the process to one degree or another. Some of the earliest recorded propaganda was exercised by autocratic Egyptian rulers who date back to 3000 BC.
When A Government Is Just, Honest And Truthful, Its Citizens Are Safe, Secure And Prosper.
God has a lot to say about Kings and Rulers, their behavior, their integrity and their resulting impact on the people they rule. He gives clear wisdom regarding how governments should rule—and the pitfalls they should avoid.
Reading the Bible and employing its guidelines would result in a stable, healthy nation. The people would love their government.
“The king should delight in righteous lips, and he should love someone who speaks what is right.”
Proverbs 16:13 CJB
“Keep evil advisers away from the king and his government will be known for its justice.”
Proverbs 25:5 GNT
When A Government Is Unjust, Dishonest And Tells Lies, Its Citizens Are Insecure, Afraid, Neglected and Suffering.
A government that is "wicked" or dishonest may ultimately lead to rebellion and anarchy.
God says that government should be just and fair for all of its constituents. No group should get special advantages over another group. Think about our income tax appropriations. We hear of people who are rich enough to utilize loopholes to end up paying little or no taxes at all. That is not fair.
“Do you rulers indeed speak justly?
Do you judge people with equity?
No, in your heart you devise injustice,
And your hands mete out violence on the earth.”
Our Founding Fathers designed our Constitution with a system of checks and balances in place to keep any one individual, or small group of people, from taking control of the government.
I’ve been in many countries where rulers put their picture on every wall and billboard in sight to remind the people who is really in charge. These governmental leaders get rich and powerful at the expense of the people.
“Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a helpless people.”
One sign of a failing government is rebellion. All wise leaders use wisdom and integrity to meet the needs of its people. Much rebellion occurs when people think that they’ve been unjustly treated.
“When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.”
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant.”
“By justice a king gives a country stability.”
A nation’s citizens also feel cheated when special interest groups and lobbyists use money to get what they want. It’s not fair.
“But one who is greedy for bribes tears it down.”
What about the United States? How Does Our Government Stack Up with What the Bible Says?
American government is not perfect. However, it has often been an outstanding example of a good government meeting the needs of its people.
When natural disaster occurs, Americans unite to provide money and help those who’ve been hurt.
We allocate millions of dollars to help the poor and disenfranchised.
The civil rights movement has a long way to go; however, it’s an important step to promote healthy race relations.
In the midst of troubled times—think about 9/11 or Hurricanes Harvey and Irma—our American government pulls together with her people to stand strong and survive.
Religious freedom is the ultimate blessing.
“The king that faithfully judges the poor, his throne shall be established forever."
But our government fails often too. We’ve got to be on our toes, holding our leaders accountable to the truth.
Richard Nixon denied his illegal involvement in the Watergate fiasco. Then the recordings surfaced. He lied through his teeth… and got caught.
Lyndon Johnson told America that the North Vietnamese attacked us first, in the Gulf of Tonkin. That lie ignited the Vietnam war. As a result, over 50,000 Americans and millions of Vietnamese lost their lives in a no-win war.
The US consulate in Benghazi was attacked on September 11, 2012. Several US diplomats were killed. Immediately, the United States government told us that the riot was instigated by a You Tube video mocking Islam. It took five days before the State Department finally confessed that they knew all along that it was a well-planned terrorist attack.
Even the Secretary of State denied any knowledge of the actual truth. It is now known that they were deceiving the American people to save face and avoid the political impact when they did not sent reinforcements when the diplomats were screaming for help.
Here’s what God has to say about lying leaders:
"It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness."
"If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked."
"Mercy and truth preserve the king."
“Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness. May he judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice. ‘The king that faithfully judges the poor, his throne shall be established forever.’"
I used to think that America would be attacked and defeated from the outside. God would judge the United States through other nations. But I know better now. God's judgment is at work even today, coming from the inside. God's judgment is that our nation will rot from within (Romans 1:18-32).
What Now? Can We Do Anything to Change Our Nation?
It is time we return to our roots. The Lord God Jehovah alone who can bring truth, mercy, justice and peace to our country. It’s time to pray, to pursue integrity in our own lives, and to stand strong for what we believe.
When the Supreme Court removed the Ten Commandments from our schools, they failed to put anything in its place. So basic issues of values and morality are no longer taught in our schools. We are seeing the results in misguided ethics and the loss of values of absolute truth … in the ways we create divisions and harm each other.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.”
I remember in one hurricane, a television reporter was describing a scene of people lined up waiting to buy gasoline generators at a hardware store in case their power went out. It was obvious that there were more people were in line than there were generators available.
Suddenly a man from the back of the line walked to the front and pushed a man out of line and took his place. A fight broke out.
I thought to myself, "This is America. We are supposed to hold together in times of emergency. We don't fight each other.”
The fight escalated into a riot. Police were called in to restore order. I reminded myself that in times of need, many people will do whatever it takes to survive—even Americans. We no longer serve each other … we look out for number one.
My prayer is that one day, our beloved country will repent and return to Christ. Then we will have one Ruler, a righteous King. Thank God that the King is coming soon.
D.E Sheridan wrote: "The difference between golf and bad government is that in golf you can't improve your lie."
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