He dressed up as the devil complete with horns and warned the large audience of kids about the evils that would befall them if they did not follow a Christian path. He was a creator of biblical dramas, a limber and lively acrobatic performer on a stage that he had crafted. For one dramatic story, he built a huge cardboard whale and depicted the biblical Jonah being swallowed by the big fish because he had disobeyed God, but after three days Jonah asked for forgiveness and was spewed out on a beach.
He was William (Bill) McGarrahan, known as a kids evangelist, and my dad’s younger brother. I’m introducing my late uncle to say I have some personal experience with evangelism. In fact, when I was in elementary school, my cousin and I traveled by bus to one of my uncle Bill’s summer camps on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. I recall standing on the shore, listening to my uncle praying for our salvation. Out on the water, I vividly remember seeing a golden cross within a cloud formation. I must have been saved, I decided.
However, when I got back home, ready to practice whatever actions are required of a saved Christian, I froze. I felt numb. I was sitting on a basement step, pulling on boots to go outdoors in the rainy weather. I thought no matter what my uncle taught, I could not believe in salvation. It just didn’t work for me. It still doesn’t work for me.
Today, I’m well aware that evangelists like my uncle are true believers. I am also cognizant—as anyone reading or watching the media would be—of the many hypocrites among evangelicals. In my opinion, some of the most disgraceful are the TV evangelists preaching for the millions of dollars they can extort from their followers. Others even more shameful are the evangelical Christians (Vice President Pence among them) who praise Trump, a man who lies and tramples all over the biblical Ten Commandments as shown here:
“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.” Trump has created an image of himself as king and all powerful dictator.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” Trump is almost always on a golf course on Sunday. Last time I looked, unless you count the holes in a golf course, it is hardly a holy place.
“You shall not commit adultery.” Trump has cheated on all three of his wives and has paid prostitutes for their services. That’s infidelity as anyone’s dictionary will tell you.
“You shall not steal.” Trump and his family have stolen money from the Trump foundation, from employees who have not been paid for their services, from investors in the phony Trump University and Trump’s bankrupt businesses.
“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” Trump lies constantly not only about his “neighboring” officials in his administration but to all of America and the world.
Yet, on August 27, 2018, Trump received a Bible signed by more than one hundred evangelical Christians with the inscription: “History will record the greatness that you have brought for generations.”
Evangelicals ignore not only the Ten Commandments but all the biblical teachings as if the words were mere fairy tales. It is hypocrisy personified. These hypocrites smear evangelists who are true believers.
And on a personal level, the hypocrites cement my childhood rejection of evangelical teachings. They didn’t work for me then and they don’t work for me now.