When Ideology trumps truth, we are left only with religion. No matter the cause; animal rights, the environment, Social Justice, or the pursuit of Democratic Freedomreligion always places the end goal above the means.

Case Study #1

Oprah’s use, in 2006, of James Frey’s book “A Millioin Little Pieces” is one example. Oprah believed Frey’s book affirmed her hope that Man has the internal capacity to lift himself up from the uttermost depths to the highest peaks. When Frey was exposed as a fraud, Oprah’s first response was very telling. She asserted that despite the fact that his book was filled with lies,

“..the underlying message of redemption in James Frey’s memoir still resonates with me, and I know it resonates with millions of other people who have read this book.

What is relevant is that he was a drug addict who spent years in turmoil from the time he was 10 years old drinking and tormenting himself and his parents, and stepped out of that history to be the man that he is today and to take that message to save other people and allow them to save themselves.”

Oprah would later “clarify” her statement which undermined the importance of truth, but still there remained an underlying hope that despite the facts the basic narrative remained viable. And of course the publisher of Frey’s book had no problem allowing truth to suffer the cause of profit. “Frey’s publisher Nan Talese herself, actually took what had been a novel and rechristened it a memoir, hoping for the kinds of sales only afforded to “true stories.” This is no shock that a publisher and author would lie about a book to increase sales.

When ideology trumps truth, prosperity becomes god.


Case Study #2

In 2007, Jesse Macbeth, became the poster boy for many in the anti-Iraqi war movment. He claimed to be a war veteran who had killed women and children all at the behest of the US Army Rangers. But numerous holes in his story lead Macbeth to plead guilty to charges he faked his war record. Despite the lie, there are still people who embrace the narrative.

“If Jesse MacBeth is or isn’t who he claims to be, so what? Does being a fake change the fact that this war is grossly illegal, corrupt and immoral? Does it change the fact that the U.S. administration lies, condones and practices torture, illegal captivity, kidnapping, rape, use of napalm … uses depleted uranium on its own troops as well as on foreign soil? 

My point is this, even if Jesse is a fake, (which I don’t think he is!) we all know that the occupation forces has already committed astounding atrocities against the people of Iraq and other nations on this planet.”


“What difference does it make if he is a fake or not. I would bet that there are things like that going on over there. Anyone that trusts our government to tell the truth is a moron.”

These quotes illustrate a class of people who have given up on truth and replacec it with opinion.

When ideology trumps truth, perception becomes reality; and that is a path to certain destruction.


Case Study #3

Anyone who watches the political landscape in America knows that things are getting nasty. It seems that on every front, ideology has become the master of truth. One example is the 2004 scandal created by reporter Dan Rather and his producer Mary Mapes.  In what would later become known as “Rathergate”, CBS News aired  fabricated documents that they claimed “proved” George W. Bush shirked his duty to his country during the Vietnam war.  Bernie Goldberg has observed that despite knowing the documents were false, they chose to air the story because it fit their ideological agenda. Goldberg writes,

Mapes had information prior to the airing of the September 8 [2004] Segment that President Bush, while in the TexANG [Texas Air National Guard] did volunteer for service in Vietnam but was turned down in favor of more experienced pilots. For example, a flight instructor who served in the TexANG with Lieutenant Bush advised Mapes in 1999 that Lieutenant Bush “did want to go to Vietnam but others went first.” Similarly, several others advised Mapes in 1999, and again in 2004 before September 8, that Lieutenant Bush had volunteered to go to Vietnam but did not have enough flight hours to qualify.

The lie was eventually exposed by bloggers and Dan Rather was fired for his actions, but some people still held onto the narrative that Bush was a “draft-dodger” despite the lack of evidence.  This kind of distorton is not just an accident, it is a strategy designed by thinkers like Saul Alinsky. According to The American ThinkerAlinsky’s book, Rules for Radicals, “…gives “the complete outline for throwing Judeo/Christian principles and honesty to the winds of revolutionary fervor.

When ideology trumps truth, perception overpowers reality.


Case Study #4

“Wanted: Dead Or Alive” leaflets sent out by New Black Panthers offering a $10,000 bounty for George Zimmerma

In 2012, probably the most egregious case of ideological fervor came when NBC aired doctored tapes of George Zimmerman’s 911 call to make it look like he was a racist who profiled a young black teen in a white neighborhood.

They aired an audio of Zimmerman saying:

This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.

But the unedited tape reveals the truth of Zimmerman’s conversation with a 911 dispatcher.

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.

Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?

Zimmerman: He looks black.

No one know the what truly happened that night and it might be true that Zimmerman is a bad guy… time will tell.  But as of today, despite the truth that these tapes were intentionally altered, there are still people convinced Zimmerman is a racist simply because it fits their larger political agenda.  The New Black Panthers even put a $10,000 “Wanted Dead or Alive” bounty on Zimmerman’s head.  The biggest danger of all, is that…

when ideology trumps truth, the destruction and dehumanization of any individual becomes acceptable.


Case Study #5

DNC Flyer circulated on Facebook featuring their talking points and intentionally distorted quote from the LA Times

Politics is no stranger to deception.  Take for example this August 2012 exchange between CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. In the interview, Cooper confronts Wasserman:

“I don’t understand why in a fundraising appeal you would, it seems, maybe accidentally, but you completely misquote the L.A. Times and you make it sound as if they’re saying something that they’re not saying, and you’re using that as evidence to back up your position,”

Wasserman-Schultz responds,

“Anderson, it doesn’t matter.”

Despite repeated attempts by Cooper to confront Wasserman with her abuse of the facts, she sticks to her idealogical agenda and says without shame, the facts don’t matter because her agenda is what matters. 

When Ideology trumps truth, deception becomes our sheild.


Let’s put our political beliefs aside and try and grasp the bigger picture of what these five case studies illustrate. They demonstrate in small ways, how our culture has placed ideaology above truth. We have forgotten that no matter how noble ones goal, truth does matter and if the evidence does not support ones ideology then maybe it is time to discard the ideology.


As a follower of Jesus Christ, I may not always know which politician is lying, or which “news” organization is editing the facts…, but I do know that my hope rests in the historical reality of a Messiah who was, and is and ever shall be.

1 Corinthians 15:3-8, 17-18, 58
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me…

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied…

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.


When truth trumps ideology,
the dehumanization of the individual is never acceptable.


When truth trumps ideology,
reality overpowers perception.


When truth trumps ideology,
serving God becomes our prosperity.


When truth trumps ideology,
we are shielded from deception.


When truth trumps ideology,
religion is crushed.

Dr. J.R. Miller is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. Outside work, he is a church planter. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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