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Millionaire mega-church pastor John Hagee has come to be one of those figures that typifies why so many are frustrated with American Evangelicalism today.

From his support of Donald Trump to his downright bizarre brand of bigoted sermonizing, Mr. Hagee has a slippery relationship with ethics.

Which makes one particular tweet from him a pretty strange case study in Biblical interpretation.

It’s not clear why he chose to make this statement (possibly commenting on the Trump impeachment trial?), but whatever the reason, there’s a lot to unpack. Few would argue that gossip is a good thing, but what about the rest of the tweet?

First of all, that’s not what the verse says. The passage Hagee cites here is part of the Ten Commandments, and it reads:

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”
– Exodus 20:16, New International Version

You can check other translations if you want. None of them say anything about being an eyewitness. Just that you shouldn’t bear false testimony. In other words, don’t lie about stuff.

John Hagee says if you didn’t see it yourself, anything you say about it is a lie. Which of course isn’t how anything works, but is especially problematic for his line of work.

As lots of people were quick to point out, this sentiment basically contradicts the entirety of Christianity.

“Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'”
– John 20:29, NIV

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
– Hebrews 11:1, NIV

And of course, even Biblical authors themselves were not eyewitnesses to the events they wrote about.

Most Biblical scholars – believers and non-believers alike – agree that the four Gospels (the section of the Bible that covers the life of Jesus) were written between 66 and 110 years after the fact. We don’t even know who wrote them, but whoever they were, they certainly didn’t experience any of it in person.

Honestly, screwing up on this many levels in one tweet is almost impressive.

What do you think of all this?

Let us know in the comments. But behave yourselves in there.