The sin, as I first learned it, is bearing false witness against thy neighbor. It is not originating false witness nor is it knowingly bearing false witness. It is simply bearing false witness, carrying the lie forward.
Politicians and lawyers carrying water for the Trump campaign have spent two months going to various news organizations with claims that their specious lawsuits are backed by hard evidence. They have not offered that evidence in court, where presenting falsehoods could hurt their careers or put them in legal jeopardy.
But Americans did encounter the campaign’s deceit on social media or Fox News or OANN or Newsmax, and many began bearing the lies forward. Some of them went to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6th and stormed the Capitol, fueled by and further spreading the lies.
That day, another group met on the steps of the Capitol in Bismarck to pray against the will of the people, and Rep. Jeff Hoverson, R-Minot, came out to bear false witness with them and encourage them in their sin. He expressed his hope that all three members of North Dakota’s congressional delegation would advance their baseless claims in the soon-to-be-desecrated U.S. Capitol.
Those North Dakotans gathered at the Capitol prayed to a false idol: a spiteful, capricious, jack-booted Jesus in a red baseball cap—a Jesus who would feed them alarming stories of filthy Samaritan rapists spreading pestilence across the land. I pray that these North Dakotans need not be blinded on the road to Damascus (or Des Lacs) in order to find a faith with room for compassion and respect for democracy.
Trygve Hammer lives in Velva, N.D.