Along the Way: You Can’t Handle the Truth

The prophetic message to fallen-world priests and potentates can be summed up in the line taken from the movie “A Few Good Men”—”you can’t handle truth.” Walter Brueggemann writes powerfully about this in a recent blog. I have attached it at the end of this post. Using the book of Jeremiah (chapter 36) he shows how banning and burning is in play when people cannot stand the truth. It happened long ago, and it is happening today as…

–Trump and his cronies keep telling “The Big Lie”
–legislatures pass voter restriction laws
–anti-LGBTQ+ bills go into effect
–fundamentalist Christians deny new facts about human sexuality
–witnesses plead the 5th when testifying about the assault on the Capitol
–sanitized history and related restrictions on public education advance
–demagogues go to war without regard to the lives of others
–white supremacy is deemed patriotic
–a Supreme Court nominee is demeaned by questioners
–the rich keep getting richer through legal and illegal (hidden) means
–right-wing media fan the flames of anti-democratic ideologies and actions
–QAnon craziness is promoted by politicians

A veritable mountain range of falsehood runs through the nation by those who cannot handle the truth. Brueggemann sums it up when he names the banning/burning tactics as efforts “to maintain a status quo social arrangement of advantage, privilege, and domination”—efforts which require the perpetuation of ignorance aimed to keep the sacred cow of untruth well fed and the feeders of that cow in power.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 43 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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