We’ve now reached the apex of America’s deconstruction of the meaning of truth.
The nation’s most notorious pathological liar just launched a new social media platform called Truth Social — because he got kicked off mainstream social media platforms for telling dangerous lies.
If you want to understand the sheer peril America faces today, this ironic news alone ought to send you into despair. For five years now, we’ve heard Donald Trump tell bald-faced lies while trying to gaslight us into believing his lies are actual truth. Now he’s ensconced this fantasy land in a social media app that on Monday was the most-downloaded app on the Apple Apps store.
Like lemmings to the sea, hundreds of thousands of people — many of them evangelical Christians who claim to follow Jesus, who said he alone is the “way, the truth and the life” — can’t wait to get served more titillating lies by Trump and his acolytes.
What a Trump spokesman once famously called “alternative facts” now has morphed into an entirely alternative reality.
This reminds me of when my kids used to play a game called “Opposite Day.” To play, you had to say the exact opposite of what you meant or what was true.
Donald Trump is the master of Opposite Day. He lies so much and so often that it’s nearly impossible to know when — or if — he’s ever telling the truth. His lies have been documented over and over and over again, and the saddest thing is that his devoted followers don’t care. They want to believe his lies because he offers a view of the world they desperately wish was true.
This denial of reality has real-world consequences — beginning with hundreds of thousands of Americans who now lie dead in their graves because Trump and his followers made light of the threat of COVID-19 — an inconvenient truth.
And as we saw on Jan. 6, 2021, Trump’s outrageous lies have the power to motivate ordinary citizens to take up arms and storm the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overthrow a legitimate presidential election. This is the kind of thing that happens in banana republics, not in the United States.
“We are threatened now not only with a banana republic but with an entire fruit salad of crazy.”
We are threatened now not only with a banana republic but with an entire fruit salad of crazy.
This week, the Houston Chronicle reported that of 144 Republicans running for Congress in Texas this year, only 13 — that’s 9%! — are willing to say that Joe Biden’s election as president in 2020 is legitimate. Despite zero actual evidence that there was election fraud.
This is an astonishing indictment of our current reality, that 91% of Republican candidates for office in the nation’s second-largest state cannot — or will not — affirm the simple reality of the outcome of the last presidential election.
From the Chronicle: “Hearst Newspapers sent questions about the election and searched campaign websites and social media pages of all of the 143 Republicans running for Congress in Texas. Of the 87 with discernible stances on the issue of voter fraud, at least 42 have said outright that the 2020 election was stolen, called the results illegitimate or said they would have voted not to certify. Another 12 candidates have said there was enough fraud or irregularities to cast doubt on the results of the election. Twenty candidates are campaigning on the need to combat fraud but did not appear to have taken a stance on the 2020 election.
“In Texas’ reddest congressional districts, it has become a rite of passage for Republican candidates to echo Trump’s baseless claims that Democrats rigged or stole the election for President Joe Biden. Even outside the conservative strongholds, GOP candidates across the state are calling for large-scale audits or otherwise casting doubt on the outcome of the election as they battle for votes.
“Candidates in nearly every competitive race across the state have raised questions about the validity of the 2020 election or said outright that it was stolen, despite widespread evidence to the contrary and the overwhelming failure of Trump and his allies to overturn the results in court. Hearst Newspapers was able to confirm just 13 Republican candidates who say the results were legitimate.”
“Dear God in heaven, what has become of truth?”
Dear God in heaven, what has become of truth?
At the same time, so many people were seeking to download the new Truth Social app that there was a waiting list to get it, a waiting list of hundreds of thousands.
We should not be surprised that the ironically named Truth Social app is a product of Trump Media & Technology Group, which is led by another notorious liar, former Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif. Even the creation of the media company already is under investigation by financial regulators.
Truth Social claims it offers a “Big Tent” platform that encourages an “open, free and honest global conversation without discriminating against political ideology.” What that means, no doubt, is a platform where conspiracy theories and the alternate reality of Trump and Nunes go unchecked.
Further irony: At the Apple Apps store Truth Social is given a rating for ages 12 and up with the following content warnings:
- Infrequent/mild cartoon or fantasy violence
- Infrequent/mild medical/treatment information
- Infrequent/mild realistic violence
- Infrequent/mild horror/fear themes
- Infrequent/mild alcohol, tobacco, or drug use or references
- Infrequent/mild profanity or crude humor
- Infrequent/mild contests
- Infrequent/mild mature/suggestive themes
Back to the 2020 election: The Chronicle found that even among those few Republican candidates in Texas who do not believe the presidential election was stolen from Trump, there are hints that something was wrong, that further investigations are needed to find out what role voter fraud might have played in Trump’s defeat.
Which explains the flurry — no, avalanche — of “voting integrity” bills being adopted in Republican-controlled states across the country. In reality it is these partisan bills that lack integrity because they blatantly target minority (and non-Republican) voters.
You’ve heard all this before; there’s nothing new in these reports — except for the fact that too few people actually care that dangerous lies are supplanting truth in the public square.
“If there is any unique role for people of faith to play in the present moment, it must be to stand up for truth.”
If there is any unique role for people of faith to play in the present moment, it must be to stand up for truth, even if that truth defies your political or religious convictions. The American evangelical church is complicit in exchanging the truth of God for a lie — all in the service of self-preservation.
If Truth Social follows the normal pattern of Trump business enterprises, it will turn out to be all sizzle and no steak. In the meantime, however, and in the aftermath, it will once again be the nation that gets burned. Remember, Trump’s life goals are to make money and to promote himself. Everything and everyone else are collateral damage.
This is a good time to remind Christians — yet again — of the words of Jesus and Bob Dylan: You cannot serve two masters. Serving Donald Trump and serving the cause of truth are mutually exclusive — whether you have the app or not. It’s time to make a choice.
Mark Wingfield serves as executive director and publisher of Baptist News Global.
The white evangelical war on truth | Opinion by Joel Bowman
Truth Decay: Christians are supposed to tell the truth | Opinion by David Gushee
January 6 truth or consequences | Opinion by Erich Bridges