During this post-Resurrection season of the Christian Faith, it is helpful to remember there were two sets of witnesses recorded at the empty tomb. One set of witnesses were the women, of course, who make their way in that darkness of early morn intent on ensuring Jesus has a proper burial. The other witnesses were the guards stationed outside of the tomb to control any possible shenanigans from those resisters opposed to the execution.
Both sets of witnesses’ initial reactions were the same. The women feared the body of Jesus had been taken away and that they wouldn’t be able to complete their tasks. The guards feared what might happen to them when news spread that Jesus was no longer in the tomb. They both left the tomb with a story to tell. The women shared their news with the disciples and all who would listen. But the guards shared their news with the priest and were given a large sum of money to fabricate alternative facts and promote them through the region. And their lies were believed by many.
This story came to mind for me when I read of the $787.5m that Fox News will pay to settle the defamation lawsuit with Dominion. While the amount certainly is substantial to most, it’s a small price for a conglomerate that yields more than a billion dollars annually in revenue based on the intoxication of the lies they tell. The cost of having the truth disclosed would be a much higher price for them to pay. Those who believe in stolen elections, alternative facts, and attempts to ruin our country would have to come to terms with the lies they’ve been fed.
The revenue gleaned from those with vested interest in fake news and frenzied resistance to non-existent threats is at stake. The exposure of a trial is the higher price tag and so Fox News took the low way out, because truth is more costly.
While the women saw the empty tomb, Matthew’s Gospel records that the guards saw the angel roll the stone away. The text says the soldiers were so afraid that they became like dead men. Yet, they could not un-see what had been seen. Even though they spread a lie, and the lie is still widely circulated today, the guards knew the truth. And those that paid them to lie knew the truth. And all who would listen to the women knew the truth. And no amount of money those guards received could keep the truth from rising. In spite of Dominion’s settlement with Fox News, enough pre-trial testimony was shared to make clear the depth of lies told to interfere with our electoral process. Enough information was shared to warrant a deeper look into where the truth may be buried. And if we are courageous enough to make a trip to that place, we may too discover an empty tomb, and be reminded: “Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again.”
 William Cullen Bryant, “The Battlefield,” 1878.
Traci Blackmon is Associate General Minister, Justice and Local Church Ministries for the United Church of Christ.