The following is an excerpt from Spiritual Truth in the Age of Fake News by Elizabeth Geitz. It’s a featured Speakeasy selection, and there are still limited review copies available for qualified reviewers.
Every morning the same words scream out of my newsfeed and bleed onto the screen. “Fake News! That’s Fake News!” In a few short years, the phrase “Fake News” has earned a place in several widely read dictionaries, educational games have been created about it, and legitimate news articles have been written about it.
But Fake News is not new. Fake News began when people first interpreted the Bible to advance their own agenda, and much of that interpretation was not questioned until women were allowed to study in seminaries and rabbinical schools.
Walk into any church, synagogue, or mosque and, regardless of theological differences, you will hear one consistent theme. God is depicted and spoken of almost exclusively as male. Yet in Scripture, God is described as a woman in labor giving birth to creation (Isaiah), a mother bear protecting her cubs (Hosea), a woman searching for a lost coin (Luke), and more.
What is the best way to counter Fake News? With the truth. To do so, I have turned to the Bible, the #1 best-selling book of the year every single year. Whether you view yourself as religious or spiritual or neither, the world we all live in has been shaped by a patriarchal biblical worldview, a worldview based on the false belief that some people are second-class citizens and the Bible says it is so.
To ground us in our topsy-turvy world, I have countered this ultimate Fake News with the truth of what Scripture actually says. While I bring a Christian voice to the discussion, these reflections are not meant for Christians alone. It is hoped that people of different faiths or no faith will relate to the truth they convey.
Today many “isms” are experiencing resurgence—not only sexism but racism, heterosexism, anti-Semitism and more. Instead of moving forward, FBI statistics demonstrate that America is moving backward. The year 2017 saw an almost seventeen percent increase in hate crimes reported to the F.B.I. compared with the previous year. What was unthinkable a few years ago is now seared into our minds with a parade of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia shouting anti-Semitic slogans. In a recent six-week period, there were attacks at a synagogue, churches, and mosques resulting in countless deaths. Unarmed African American men like Botham Jean are shot and killed in their own apartment for no reason. Hispanics were deliberately targeted in a Walmart massacre in El Paso, Texas in 2019. Female candidates for President of the United States receive tougher coverage and less media exposure than their male counterparts, and in 2016 LGBT Americans were “more than twice as likely to be the target of a violent hate-crime than Muslims or African-Americans.”
It’s as if the progress made toward equality has been turned upside down. In this environment, Spiritual Truth in the Age of Fake News is needed more than ever. It is time to set the record straight on what the Bible actually says regarding the many “isms” alive and well today. It is time for the Fake News about the Bible to come to a screeching halt. It is time for us to claim our inheritance of spiritual truth for all people.
We need to shout from the rooftops that there has never been a divinely ordained hierarchy that puts men above women, whites above other races, Christianity above other religions, straights above gays, or rich above poor. These are human constructs that have long outlived their time and that are against the very words of Scripture. Yes, this is the ultimate Fake News. Now more than ever, let us educate ourselves and allow these ancient words in their original meaning to nurture our very being.
I don’t know about you, but I need to dwell in the truth. I need to proclaim that the Bible has been misused to support the very “isms” that are literally killing us.
Join me on this journey and, as you do, I pray that the spiritual truth our Creator wants for you will be yours. I pray you will find and be found by our Divine Mother, who loves you with an abundant and steadfast love, who never stops searching for you, no matter what.
Let her catch you. Come on! Turn the page.
Praise for Spiritual Truth in the Age of Fake News
“Elizabeth Geitz pulls no punches as she calls us to move beyond the many ‘isms’ that plague our culture today, to read the Scriptures with eyes wide open, and to commit ourselves again to loving all our neighbors with no exceptions.”
—Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church
“In this important book, Elizabeth Geitz speaks truth to power—the power of biblical tradition. She introduces us to heroines and spiritual guides who contradict the image of subservience women have accepted for centuries. Any woman of any faith can find strength and inspiration—and hope—in the citations she has assembled to tell our true story.”
—Suzanne Braun Levine, First Editor of Ms. Magazine, author of Inventing the Rest of Our Lives: Women in Second Adulthood
“In her penetrating and highly readable critique, Elizabeth Geitz laments the distortions of a weaponized Scripture—passages cherry-picked, quoted out of context, falsely interpreted, or simply omitted in order to promote a spiritually corrupt agenda. She offers readers a series of reflections as a path to arriving at the truth.”
—John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
“Spiritual Truth in the Age of Fake News … addresses the deepest truths that most of us have never bothered to contemplate in our busy lives … As fake news proliferates, it’s appalling to discover that it all began when people first interpreted the Bible for their own gain, particularly in advancing their prejudices and biases resulting in the marginalization of people based on race, gender, and religion … Regardless of your religious orientation, you’ll find that this book offers precious insights on human dignity and equality.”
—Vincent Dublado, Reader’s Favorite Review
About the Author
Elizabeth Geitz is an Episcopal priest, award-winning author, and nonprofit entrepreneur whose books have been hailed by New York Times bestselling authors Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sister Helen Prejean, and John Berendt. Focusing on spirituality and justice issues, her writings speak to people of passion who want to make a difference in the world. She is the author of I Am That Child, Soul Satisfaction, Gender and the Nicene Creed, and more.