Monday, May 10, 2010

Liars Among Us

In yesterday's post I said this:

"Considering... the serious and damaging implications of being a known liar. Now this is the one that could really be it's own blog post. So... I will hold off on this one for now, and maybe post on it later this week. Stay tuned, it's not going to be pretty but its something that MUST be said, for the sake of the integrity of the gospel of Christ."

I'll do my best to explain.

When I was a kid I told some other kids that my dad was John Wayne. Part of the reason I said that is because my mom was divorced and the vast majority of the kids I grew up around had 2 parents at home. Kids don't like to feel like the oddball, so I made up this ridiculously elaborate tale about how John Wayne was my dad and the reason he was away all the time was because he was a movie star, making movies. Of course no one believed me, but that didn't stop me from telling the tale. The only good part about any of that was, I was a horrible liar and didn't have the skills to ever convince anyone of my lies. That's a very good thing.

The downside to this (aside from it being sinful and wrong in every way) was that by telling my lies I became known as someone not to be trusted. I didn't realize it at the time, but only learned later that more than a few of my friend's parents didn't really care for me much, due to my reputation as a liar. Even a bad liar earns a bad reputation.

This sort of thing has been on my mind a lot over the last few months as more and more information comes to light regarding Ergun Caner and his childhood/background. If you haven't followed any of this at all, there are tons of places where you can read about it. Do a simple blog search via google on Ergun Caner's name and you'll see all sorts of folks writing about it. Just recently both Christianity Today and the Associated Baptist Press both ran articles on the same subject. CT's article was quite honestly lacking in massive ways, where the ABP article was far more accurate. A very good commentary on CT's article can be read here. The comment I left at the ABP article:

"Either, the folks at Liberty never even bothered to really check any of the facts that have been uncovered about Caner - or - they know his background is phoney and they're covering up for him. Either way, the legal documents are out there now, and it's been proven the man is a liar. That Liberty chooses to essentially do nothing, that Caner himself refuses to come forward in 100% honesty, is an absolute shame of the name of Christ. I cannot imagine being busted in a big fat lie, while calling myself after Christ's name, and then pretending like it never happened. Simply incredible. Shame on them."

Yes, shame on them. All of them. Every single person involved in this (what certainly appears to be) cover up of the truth. Especially because they all have the audacity to profess to be Christians, then either lie through their teeth about the facts, or cover up for those who do. This is entirely unacceptable behavior for anyone claiming to be a Christian, and should never be tolerated. EVER.

Yet, it is being tolerated. More than that, it's being downplayed as if it's no big deal. Caner just "misspoke" a few times, here and there. Right? WRONG. Among the many lies he's been proven to have told one of them that stands out to me is his claim that he was trained up as a Muslim in predominantly Muslim countries, a "hardened terrorist"... trained to do exactly what was done on September 11. He made the claim in such a way that we as Americans should have feared for our lives because of HIM, and the way in which he was raised (see this link with supporting legal documents). Thankfully (whew!) he was converted to Christ and now we can all breath a little easier because there is one less Muslim extremist living among us. Trouble with that is, it's all baloney. According to legal documents uncovered by those who want to know the truth, Caner came to the states as a toddler and was raised as a nominal Muslim at best. But... the truth doesn't get Caner booked for speaking engagements, book deals and nationwide attention as an expert on Islam.

Caner has made so many claims about his past as a Muslim, it's really hard to know at this point how much of what he's said is true, and how much is a complete lie. Not a few people are comparing this ugliness to that of the Mike Warnke trainwreck that so many Christians were conned by, before Warnke was exposed as a fraud in the 90's.

So, back to my original thought: the damaging implications of being a known liar, and how that pertains to the integrity of the gospel of Christ.

Really, it's a no-brainer. If you're not a Christian and you're exposed as a liar it's bad news but it ends with you. If you are a Christian however, and you're exposed as a liar it brings great and awful shame to the name of Christ. Much, much more so if you're a well known Christian.

There will forever be a seed of doubt in the minds of anyone listening to such a person. How can they believe him? How can they believe this gospel he shares? Was he not exposed as a fake? How much of what he says is true, and how can you know if you should believe anything he says at all? Aren't Christians supposed to be honest? It wasn't that long ago that I wasn't a Christian, and those would be my exact thoughts toward someone busted in big lies as Caner has been. I would have never given him the time of day after learning what I've come to learn of him.

With all of this coming to light however, it's still not too late for Caner (and those protecting him, and their own bottom line - in whatever $$ political dance is being done at Liberty) to come forward in total honesty and say "look, I lied, and I'm deeply sorry". We all blow it. We all say things and do things and think things that are unbecoming of a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not one of us is perfect and not one of us can say we're "better" than Caner. He just got busted in a bigger way than any of us will likely ever experience.

It's not too late yet. Unless of course the Big Boy Media gets ahold of this story and the folks at Liberty dig in even deeper to cover that pretty bottom line, and pile more deception on top of more deception. They're already trying hard to maintain some damage control with having some videos removed off youtube (of Caner, telling lies at various venues), and according to Elmer Towns (co-founder of Liberty University and dean of the School of Religion) as quoted in the recent CT article: "We don't see any way that bloggers will damage Liberty" it's pretty clear they think everything is just fine. According to them, its not an ethical or a moral issue that Caner "Warnkefied" his background? Apparently not.

The thing is, it isn't "bloggers" doing any damage. Those bloggers who have been writing about this and uncovering legal documents proving the lies (which would have never been done, had Caner been forthcoming from the beginning) have only revealed the "damage" that was already there, but hid from public view. I honestly hope the MSM leaves this alone and Caner and his support come clean with all this. If not, Mr. Towns will most certainly find out just how much "damage" bloggers can do, when they set their mind to uncovering the truth.

I stand behind my fellow bloggers and brothers and sisters in the Lord who have been writing about this and uncovering legal documents showing the facts in this situation. A lot of them have taken a lot of heat for not letting it go, but I stand in full agreement with them that from a Christian worldview, this is an INTEGRITY issue. Any man or woman who proclaims the name of Christ whether it's on a national platform or in the smaller confines of his or her local church, must be accountable to the morality and character of honesty, for Christ's sake. Anything less than that is entirely unacceptable before God, and most certainly should be unacceptable among His people.

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