You know I have usually felt that brainwashing in the United States was something we joked about and something that only happened in controlled societies where news was carefully crafted and children were indoctrinated in a specific way of thinking, but boy was I brainwashed. Don’t laugh, you probably have been too.

I am reminded of Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 10:16, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” I think that as Christians, particularly, we are much better at being as innocent as doves and much more careless when it comes to being as shrewd as serpents. I think, to some degree, we cringe at the pairing of those two words – shrewd and serpent. I believe we gravitate much more easily and naturally to being innocent, forgiving, believing the best and being gentile like doves. Somehow that seems to be much more Christian – but is it really?

We may be somewhat shrewd at discerning false Christian teachers, such as deniers of the Divinity of Christ or the efficacy of His sacrifice or our path to salvation, but we are not so discerning when it comes to the “false teachers” in all things “secular”. The problem with this is that the first part of Jesus’ admonition actually refers to the fact that he is sending us out into the midst of wolves. He is not here specifically referring to false Christian teachers (although they are certainly to be looked out for) but to the world and all the pitfalls of error that we can fall into and thus be lead astray.

What if we believe things that will lead to harming other people? What if we believe things that will cause us to contribute to evil? If we are just innocent as doves and not shrewd as serpents, we are participants in that evil that causes harm. We are in grave danger.

What if we believed?

  • The earth is warming and it is mankind’s fault because we are using too many fossil fuels.
  • It is possible to be pro-life and believe that life begins at conception, but also believe a woman should be free to choose what to do with her own body.
  • All governments are evil and it is only the leaders that make one government better than another.
  • Israelis the reason we are unable to have peace in the Middle East.
  • Disagreement with the opinions and policies of a person of color makes you a racist.
  • America is a racist nation.
  • America is an imperialist nation.
  • America is not a Christian nation.
  • The constitution requires that religion be separated in every way from public policy. (the separation of Church and State)
  • Socialism is as good as, if not better, than capitalism as an economic system.

What if you believed more recent and less generalized lies?

  • Newt Gingrich repudiated Ronald Reagan on the floor of the House of Representatives in the late 80’s.
  • Mitt Romney said he does not care about the poor.
  • The unemployment rate in January dropped from 8.5% to 8.3% and the economy is showing signs of recovery.
  • The Middle East is undergoing an Arab spring.
  • If it was not for this do-nothing congress, the economy would speed in its recovery.
  • Planned Parenthood is providing beneficial woman’s health services.
  • Increasing taxes on the rich to provide programs for the poor was a good idea.
  • Increasing taxes on the rich to balance the budget was a good idea.

The point is not to go through each one and show how we have been brainwashed with propaganda, only to remind and/or alert us to the fact that we are being and have been lied to about a host of issues. Since we are being lied to, then we need to remember the admonition to be as shrewd as serpents, ferreting out truth from falsehood.

As a case in point, you all heard the exciting news that the unemployment rate was dropping from 8.5% to 8.3%, and how economists are seeing growing strength in the economy, as well as that the President’s policies are working. However, what you probably did not hear is that in December there were about 130M jobs, but in January there were 128M jobs. You also did not hear that there are fewer jobs in the economy today than there were before the recession started, and you probably did not hear a host of other statistics or information about the economy that would put the lie to the rosy unemployment statistic above.   

We are being lied to and you should be aware of that. The lies come not only from our administration, but also from a complicit press that knows these are lies and does not report them.

The press knew that Mitt Romney did not say that he did not care for the poor. The press knew that Newt Gingrich was a champion of Ronald Reagan policies and did not disavow them. In neither case was the press concerned with the truth, they were interested in sensational headlines and in misleading the country.

Likewise, the press knows that congress has actually passed numerous pieces of legislation many of which are being held up in the Senate or would be vetoed by the president if they were passed. The Congress is anything but do-nothing, it just has not done what the President or the press want them to do, so it serves a purpose to call them a do-nothing congress. In 2009 & 2010, when there were heavy Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, there was a lot done; unfortunately it was all bad (Health care / Dodd-Frank / Recovery Act  / Auto company Bailouts etc.) However, since this fit the agenda of the president and the press, the congress was never  portrayed in a bad light, even though they have not passed a budget since 2009, which is a fundamental responsibility of this branch.

Some of these things may seem dry, or just politics as usual, or may even sound like sour grapes to some of you, but I bring some of these examples up only to illustrate that we are routinely lied to, and if we do not seek out the truth we are played for fools.

  • Unborn children will continue to be killed with regularity.
  • Industrial progress will be slowed to a halt, trapping millions in poverty in third world countries.
  • Faulty governments will continue to spring up with no regard for human rights, and no one to call them on it.
  • We will continue to appease bad actors on the world stage and jeopardize peace for millions.
  • People of goodwill will continually be silenced by charges of racism, to the detriment of the truth.
  • The positive aspects of the American form of government and way of life will be continually undermined to the benefit of dictators around the world.
  • Socialism will choke the innovation of the individual and stifle the development of new life saving/enhancing technologies.
  • The poor will continually be enslaved to a government handout and not released to fulfill their God-ordained destiny.
  • Our socialist/Marxist administration will have its warts glossed over in order to maintain their control of a formerly free people.
  • The Middle East will become a hot bed of terrorism jeopardizing peace in the entire world.

If we do not seek out truth, we will tend to draw some false and damaging conclusions about public policy. It is as much our responsibility to cleave to biblical orthodoxy as it is to seek out and find truth in the “secular” sphere so that we can be true salt and light to a wolf filled culture. Where do you get your news? What do you do to find out if you are being lied to? Let us be shrewd as serpents and seek the truth in love and be real salt and light to our culture.