When Your Leaders are Liars

Fact-checking website Politifact has determined that President Trump has spoken falsehoods, either substantially or completely—69 percent of the time. He regularly hovers between Pants-on-Fire and Pinocchio.

Understand the gravity of that reality for a moment:

More than two-thirds of the time the President of the United States opens his mouth, in a press conference or in an early morning Tweet or in a public rally or in a meeting with lawmakers—he is completely lying.

The Leader of the Free World, is regularly and intentionally manufacturing an ever-malleable counterfeit truth; one that is being perpetuated by political allies, financial benefactors, supportive clergy, opportunistic partisan media, and rank and file supporters who simply want their guy in power, and they don’t care what they need to do to ensure that.

This is how far we’ve drifted in less than two years.

Of all the ghastly wounds inflicted by this Administration; to the environment, social services, immigration, education, equality, religious freedom, national pride, and global standing—perhaps the greatest injury has been to the Truth. It is simply no longer a requirement for many here in America.

You see evidence of this disregard almost hourly. Over the weekend, Georgia Senator Michael Williams declared in an interview with Brianna Keiler, that Georgia-based airline Delta had been giving discounts to Planned Parenthood. It was a seemingly off-the-cuff, matter-of-fact declaration dropped in as an afterthought.

It was also a lie. It was a fabrication. It was not truth by any objective standard—just something he said. Keiler pressed Williams on the statement, and he danced and stammered and talked around her—and in the end continued on.

The scene plays out hundreds of times each day: A leader willfully lying, being called out, brazenly gaslighting his accuser—then and doubling down on the lie. With these people, the truth need not be at all considered anymore. 

Williams isn’t an outlier. He is simply doing what his President has campaigned on, modeled daily, and emboldened in both word and deed: he is molding the truth as if it were soft putty, and building whatever narrative he needs in the moment—facts, data, and reality be dammed.

Tragically, this is one of those rare times when trickle-down actually works: Liars are yielding more liars.

FoxNews fills its slate with phony headlines, falsehood-spewing pundits, and egregious perversions of reality, on-screen crawls. The fully manufactured fiction disguised as news, plays on repeat in kitchens and car repair shops and fast food restaurants—and like frogs in a slow-simmering pot, millions of people gradually lose any semblance of the truth. They never see it happening, until one day statements no longer require scrutiny to be ratified into belief. They only need to have been spoken.

As a Christian and a pastor, the President and his party’s allergic reaction to the truth has made the vast Evangelical Christian support for them all the more disheartening. Pastors and celebrity evangelists amplify and amening lies; giving them credence in the eyes of the faithful, who leave their Sunday gatherings and bible studies prepared to passionately spread the False Gospel According to Donald on social media, in their living rooms, at their workplaces, and on their college campuses.

For a group of people so supposedly compelled by the Bible, they conveniently misplace one of the commandments, and a few thousand verses from the revered prophets, their spiritual forebears—and from Jesus himself.

And day by day, millions of people who used to know better, who once valued the truth as a nonnegotiable—no longer give a damn about it. It is relegated to a very distant afterthought.

These co-conspirators in untruth, then daily raise children who grow up with no desire for veracity, because they’ve seen the upsides of the opposite.

They’ve watched a man who lies as easily as breathing, ascend to the highest position in the country.

They’ve seen politicians and preachers following suit, winning elections and reaping financial rewards.

They’ve seen their own parents rationalize it all away.

What need or respect for the truth will they have? Why would they even consider it?

Our children will inherit this America unless we reverse course.

Unless we pushback against these professional liars, if we keep allowing them to freely speak falsehood, we will be reproducing more of them.

Our children will become easily-lying adults; teachers and law enforcement officers and caregivers and lawmakers, who have no inclination to speak truth.

This will be a horrible legacy to leave the world.

When our leaders are liars, we need to lead them.

We need to be courageous enough to speak truth.

This, it is said—will set us free.


Order John’s book, ‘A Bigger Table’ here.

72 thoughts on “When Your Leaders are Liars

  1. I will bet that there are days that you feel so discouraged…the whole “crying in the wilderness” thing. I want to tell you I believe the work you are doing, your writing and your perceptions on what christianity should be is valid and honorable work. In this terribly difficult time, the action of corrupt politics and society that feels devoid of ethics, yours is a calm and honest sight…many thanks.

    • Wellsaid, Kate Dollar. Yes, thank you Pastor John for your courage and for speaking in truth. I have no doubt it also is spoken in love.

  2. In high school over 40 years ago my social studies teacher led our government class in an activity where groups portrayed different countries. Events were presented and we had to come up with policies of how our country would respond. Our USA group lied to get their way which initially seemed to work well for getting what they wanted… but in the end the lying resulted in our class going to war. It was very enlightening.

  3. Jesus described Himself, using three qualities- the way, the truth, the life. I expect lies from much of the world. Jesus tells us that the devil is the ruler of this world, and is the father of lies. I expect truth from people of faith. I’m not sure how often today’s American Christians willfully choose to lie, but far too many clearly repeat statements, without spending 2 minutes to confirm whether what they are saying is true or not.

    Whether it’s emails that spread falsehoods about elected leaders, policies, science, or people who hold different views, we have to do a better job of making sure that what we say is true. When people send out information saying that President Obama was born in Kenya, we are “bearing false witness”. When people say that President Trump said “If I were to run, I’d run as a Republican. They’re the dumbest group of voters in the country. They believe anything on Fox News.” they are bearing false witness ( he may believe it, but there’s no proof that he ever said it ).

    As Christians, we bear Christ’s name- the embodiment of truth. Of all people, we should value and guard truth. Sadly, in my experience, we tend to do just the opposite. John, thank you for speaking the truth, even when it is uncomfortable.

    • I actually went there and read that. The spelling and grammatical errors in this piece are numerous. Was the author of this piece, allegedly “someone who is not a Trump supporter,” someone who can read and write?

  4. Lies. You can keep your doctor. The cost of your health insurance will go down $2,000 … $2,500 … whatever! Americans are killed in a carefully staged attack at Bengazi … and the blame is placed on a third party who was not asleep and who was not the Sec. of State. Former President Clinton/husband of then Dem. Pres. candidate Clinton meets with AG Loretta Lynch on a airport tarmac … and no notes/records are available about what they discussed? The once head of the FBI clears the then Dem. Pres. candidate Clinton of any legal problems before any hearing of the evidence, etc. Lies. What does it matter? Lies. Guess it’s no problem for the occupant of the White House to be a liar … as long as he is your liar. The left can lament loosing as long as it wishes. It can complain as loud as it wishes. But, what is the difference between the lies the left swallowed hook, line and sinker … and the lies they now cannot stomach? It sounds to much like camels and gnats.

    • So basically, you are saying it’s ok for Trump to lie because other people do it to? BUT HER EMAILS!!!!11!!!!!

    • Benghazi was a lie from the right wing from the start. The healthcare problems were not because of one man trying desperately to get coverage to ALL Americans, but the grandstanding republcians who dragged their feet and twisted every step of the way. Mrs Clinton was cleared after how many years of phony investigations? Please tell me you went after Bush for his 60 embassy killings with the same fervor. It’s clear to everyone that you stump for trump and the radical ways of the Reich wing, as is apparent in your misconceptions and straight out parroting of lies, but I do have to thank you. I thank you for proving John’s point spot on. You have no problems lying and turning those lies into attacks against your own fellow Americans. A country I fought to protect and defend, and here you are helping turn this place into a Dictatorship. We held our own accountable when they lied, you willingly follow the lies and repeat as truth. You willfully vote to have the worst people do terrible things to this once great nation. And that you have shown right here with your post.

    • Check your facts before you comment. Most people on this site will know you’re wrong and you will lose credibility.

    • Yes, I agree with bthomas…
      It’s not ok to lie, but we had an election, and we chose the lesser of the 2 evils because we knew she was a liar. WE know that!

    • A pathetic response. The Benghazi tragedy was investigated thoroughly by representatives of both parties and neither could produce a shred of evidence that then Sec. of State Clinton was at fault in any way. It was the same with the ridiculous “email scandal”…..But now we have a man in office who actually lies to the nation on a daily basis about some of the most important issues in the country and it’s ok?

    • You can keep your doctor was not a lie by ant stretch, and the rest of your tired diatribe is a list of fabrications as well.
      You are the liar.

    • Bravo bthomas ! You’ve said far better what I tried to put on FB earlier. I’m going to make a copy to study your great remarks. Thanks .

    • To all you Trump-like CULT followers…You justify your stark belief in the “master of lies” by first believing that, as he reported, “HE WON by the largest margin in history…and that he has a MANDATE from the people…” He lost the election by 3 million votes and now wants to play off that he had nothing to do with the “RUSSIANS” who hacked the system early and often. The corrupt “thief of the TRUTH”, claimed that the first Black president, “was not an American citizen…” He LIED in order to cover his own incompetence…
      He claimed that he would reveal his taxes AFTER THEY HAD BEEN AUDITED, so we could see the extent of his involvement, financially, with other NATIONS… NO DICE… Keep drinking the KOOL-AID… and you and YOUR COUNTRY will end up like the Jim Jones followers…

  5. One bright spot in these hard times: According to the New York Times, evangelical women are “quietly tiptoeing away” from supporting “45.” Possibly his paying off a porn star and then lying about it was the straw that broke the camel’s back

  6. I can’t help wondering when God is going to step in and reveal this wickedness. If He knows that so many of His children are being hurt, why isn’t He helping us?

    • It’s not up to G-d to step in to rescue us, it’s up to us to do what is right. Hold your representatives accountable to truth. Seek out unbiased news and make sure your opinions are based on good information and not biased sources. Stand up every time you hear a lie, and combat it with facts. When Jesus presented “The Kingdom of Heaven” he wasn’t talking about “heaven after you die”, he was presenting the way this world “could” be if we all joined in to do what is right. Standing up for fairness. Standing up for the disadvantaged. Standing up for those who are hurting. That’s what the “Kingdom of Heaven” is about – it’s about US, bringing it. “The kingdom of G-d is within you”… I would challenge you to read every single reference Jesus made to the “Kingdom of Heaven” or the “Kingdom of G-d”. Does it fit “Heaven after you die” or “get your buns out there and do what is right” better? I believe it’s the second. If we are just waiting around for G-d to do the work, it’s not going to get done.

      • There are days when I feel like I’m screaming in the wilderness. Thank you for so eloquently expressing what I feel.

    • God doesn’t “step in”, not because God supports what is happening, but because God gave us free will, and won’t mess with it. We make choices, we reap the consequences.

  7. This has been SO unbelievably apparent throughout this guys’ entire life. My question is “why are people so desirous of the spewing forth of lies from this guy?” What are they so enamored with the gutter behavior? Particularly white evangelical christians? What happened to them? I have atheist friends who see clearer than they do. I have always said DT is the anti-christ and it is viciously playing out.

    But I still believe that sanity and great Love will eventually prevail. That higher purpose will arise and slaughter the behemoth of gluttony and hedonism, falsehood and demagoguery. I also believe Christianity will be forever changed, and boy does it need to be!!

    • Too many people hate Trump for him to be the Antichrist. Don’t you know how many people just loved Obama. What did that get us. In the Bible it explains how the Antichrist, will fool the people and they will love him dearly. You ought to start reading your Bible real soon. Because you’re really going to have to be able to recognize the Antichrist or we’re doomed.

  8. Just because Trump lies so much does not mean it is no longer a requirement. We do not change the norm in the face of a storm of lying. Instead, we double down on our insistence on truth. We do not acquiesce the norm to a lying coward. Why would you write such a thing?

  9. I want to thank Denise for writing an excellent and well said response to why God dosen’t step in and help us out of this mess. That’s our responsibility, “The Kingdom of God is within us”, not somewhere out there where we go when we die, and the “Kingdom of Heaven” is for us to establish here and now. However, we were created as free moral agents, to be moral or to be immoral. That’s our choice.

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