Yesterday, Franklin Graham disingenously decried “the absence of God” at the Democratic National Convention.
This bizarre claim is easily falsifiable: In fact, many speakers paid eloquent tribute to the deep faith of Joe Biden, the party’s presidential nominee.
Graham can lie so audaciously because he knows most of his followers get information exclusively from hard right propaganda echo chambers — none of which dared question or complicate the multimillionaire evangelist’s false narrative.
Of course, Graham knows few in his docile flock will ever encounter contrary facts, and that even if they did, nearly all lack the courage, decency, and intellectual rigor to reconsider their biases in light of new information. For five decades, Graham and other evangelical leaders have trained their followers to extend their habits of unthinking obedience from faith to politics, by preaching that voting Republican is a religious duty. Worn down by fifty years of fundamentalist fatwas, the right’s remaining critical faculties crumbled into dust during three decades of escalating lunacy, from Rush Limbaugh and Fox News to InfoWars, Teabaggers, Trump, and QAnon. All of this has relentlessly reinforced the right’s mental reflex of loving lies and loathing truth.
Intellectual rot begat moral decline, speeding the degeneration of the GOP from the Party of Reagan to a cult of personality propping up a corrupt, inept, clueless bigot. False prophets like Graham anointed this spiteful reprobate and duped their followers into worshiping a plump, gilded steer squatting atop a volcano of mendacity.
So, with perfect faith in his flock’s servile credulity, Graham pivoted without irony from lying about Democrats to reviewing the Ten Commandments — a list of religious duties generally followed by Biden and conspicuously flouted by Orange Foolius.
“You shall not murder”? Combover Caligula’s callous, craven incompetence helped COVID-19 kill more than 178,124 Americans.
“You shall not steal”? As a businessman, Don the Con thieved from partners, taxpayers, investors, contractors, customers, & creditors. As a politician, Putin’s puppet conspired with Russia to steal the 2016 election & is trying to steal this one, too. Throughout his presidency, he has robbed taxpayers by billing us for lavish vacations at Trump properties, while amassing foreign bribes through constant violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause.
“You shall not commit adultery”? Hair Gropenführer is a proud, promiscuous, unrepentant serial adulterer.
Dolt45’s baffling stupidity and unremitting sloth dishonor his smart, hard-working father — though the son arguably honors his Klansman dad by being racist enough to earn endorsements from the Klan in 2016 and from former Grand Wizard David Duke this year.
Twitler keeps the Sabbath by golfing.
“You shall not bear false witness”? As president, Benedict Donald has racked up 20,000 documented lies in less than four years. Fully half of those fibs were cruel, disparaging lies — meeting the Torah’s literal definition of bearing false witness against one’s neighbor.
Cadet Bone Spurs has spent his life coveting his neighbors’ wives and property.
Trump idolatrously worships himself and Mammon, but not God.
His life & works comprehensively repudiate every discernible Judeo-Christian moral principle.
Nevertheless, Graham and other Fake Christian prelates — and their followers, the Religious White — remain stubbornly devoted to their Fear Leader.
Having established his false premise — the alleged “absence of God” at the DNC—Graham piled on with a dubious assertion: that taking “God out of government and public life” will hurt us by provoking divine punishment, both “in our individual lives and for our nation.”
Of course, that dubious assertion relies on three additional, demonstrably false premises:
First, God remains a major force in our government and public life. Evidence:
- Nearly all prominent leaders in both parties are professed Christians.
- “Under God” remains in the Pledge of Allegiance.
- US currency still displays the national motto: “In God We Trust.”
- Congress and the armed forces continue to employ chaplains.
- Churches and religious schools remain tax-exempt — a fact to which Graham owes much of $10 million fortune.
- Neither party’s platform proposes changes to any of the foregoing.
Second, the prominence of religion in US government and public life has not reliably correlated with the “finest hours” of our history. Evidence:
- In the 17th century, immigrants flocked to the religious freedom of the Middle Colonies — while avoiding the strict theocracy of Puritan New England.
- The Founders fought for independence and framed the Constitution during the least religious era of American history.
- In the 1830s, the Second Great Awakening sparked reform movements across the North (antislavery, women’s rights, public education), while spawning strident proslavery fanaticism in the South, leading secessionist “Christians” to start the Civil War.
- In the 1890s, the Social Gospel inspired Progressive social and economic reforms that made the country generally safer, richer, and more fair — but also justified Jim Crow, overseas imperialism, Prohibition, and bigoted immigration restrictions that led to the Great Depression.
- In Engel v. Vitale (1962), a bipartisan Supreme Court ruled teachers could not organize prayer in public schools. Fans of forced religion predicted steep moral decline; instead, the Civil Rights Movement, Great Society, and War on Poverty inaugurated real gains in social, economic, and environmental justice. Racial minorities and women gained equal legal rights, joined later by LGBTQ+ Americans.
- Since 1980, the Religious White has helped the GOP dominate politics, wreck unions, block universal healthcare, perpetuate racial and gender injustices, promote extreme income inequality, cut fatcat taxes, run unsustainable deficits, and “starve the beast” to hobble the federal government’s ability to aid Americans in need.
Third, several scientific studies have conclusively shown that Christians behave no better than the unchurched — and faith may in fact make kids more selfish. From the ’60s to the ’90s, religious scolds blamed surging assault and murder rates on sagging church attendance. However, since the ’90s, religious adherence declined more sharply, while violent crime fell by half.
Why is there so little correlation between belief and behavior, faith and ethics? The extreme moral confusion of Fake Christian Trumpsters — led by Graham and other ayatollahs of the Religious White — offers a key clue.