Mama loved Charlie Rose. She’d come in from work, grab herself a bite to eat, kick off her shoes, and curl her legs up in her comfy chair. She’d pull that ashtray closer as she flipped the remote to Rose. Rose was her routine indulgence. She often got her ideas about which book to read next from Rose. Listening to Charlie Rose was her way of staying engaged in world affairs.
I wasn’t as big a fan as Mama. I found Rose’s understated approach too funereal. Rose reminded me of the literary character of Ichabod Crane. “His whole frame most loosely hung together.”
After Mama died, Rose seemed more endearing. Watching him evoked memories of sitting in the den of Mama’s home, my babies asleep in the next room, Mama and me visiting quietly, the way grownups do when babies sleep. When he started hosting the CBS Morning Show with Gayle King and Norah O’ Donnell, Rose appeared almost downright congenial. Maybe I had been wrong about him all along, I told myself. I should have taken more interest in him while Mama was alive. It would have given us more common ground to dialogue about, something we continually struggled over, how to talk to one another without hurting each other. So, for at least for the past five years, Rose has been someone I took a shining to, mostly because it was a way of reconnecting to a mother missed.
There are days – today is one of them – when I am thankful Mama is no longer here. Thankful because of all the pain in the world. Mama was convinced that America was going to suffer for all its sins. Turns out she was right about the suffering part, if not somewhat misguided over which sins would incite that suffering.
Never once, that I recall, did Mama ever mention that the person that consistently gets on God’s one last nerve is a liar.
There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. (Proverbs 12:22)
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. Revelation 21:8
Come to think of it, I’ve yet to hear the sermon that says that a lying tongue will be the undoing of a nation. (That verse in Proverbs sounds more like a job description for our current president).
I can’t recall any major Evangelical movement calling for liars to cease their lying. Nor can I recall a time when faith leaders identified lying as a the single greatest threat to America.
Pro-Choice folks, yes.
Faith groups all across this nation have made these the target of their wrath – in the name of Jesus, of course. God, however, seems to be keeping a lid on his frustration and disappointment and wrath.
If you think about it, God really does have the worst job in the history of mankind. He’s more long-suffering than the mother of a murderer on death row. And let’s face it, God doesn’t even have anyone he can talk to about all the problems we create for him. Nobody he can complain to about us. He just shakes his head and goes right on loving us like a granny without hesitation.
It’s like Gayle King said this morning in response to the revelation on Rose: “What do you say when someone you so deeply care about has done something that is so horrible? ..I can’t stop thinking about the anguish of these women. What happened to their dignity? What happened to their bodies? What happened to their careers? I can’t stop thinking about the pain they are going through.”
I think that particular statement by King most accurately reflects the heart of God right now.
God can’t stop thinking about us.
He cares deeply for us all, but he cannot ignore the pain that some of the more powerful among us are inflicting upon some of the more vulnerable among us. He’s grappling over what to do. How best to respond.
Should he yank out the tongues of all the liars among us?
Should he banish the deceivers to the pit of hell forever and ever?
Should he slay those who prey upon others?
Should he gut those who sexually abuse others for their own perverse pleasures?
Don’t you wonder how he manages to go on loving us despite all the havoc we create for others and for ourselves?
I am sure that Rose is awfully embarrassed, but being embarrassed is not the same as being repentant. Getting caught is not the same being sorry you did the thing to begin with. For far too many of these sexual predators and liars, the thing that they are most sorry about is that they got caught. Not that they did anything wrong.
Perhaps the one thing we can all be thankful for right now is that Access Hollywood tape. Donald Trump believes that he can be a sexual predator and get away with it. He’s so emboldened by his own wickedness that he believes that there will never be a reckoning for him, for his lies, for his immorality, for all the ways in which he has used his position of power to hurt the marginalized and vulnerable among us.
What he fails to realize is that this surge we are seeing across this nation is not just about the sexual molestation, it’s about the ways in which men like Trump continue to lie about their wrongdoings.
This surge isn’t just a rising wave.
There’s a tsunami coming.
A tsunami of deeply caring people – men and women – who, like God, hate haughty eyes and a lying tongue. It is these people – those who are grappling for all that is good and decent and kind and respectful about humanity – who will ensure that even the predatory president will be held accountable. Remember friends, let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.
The reckoning has begun.
Beware: It’s headed your way, Trump.
Karen Spears Zacharias is author of CHRISTIAN BEND (Mercer University Press).