If it dehumanizes, it's propaganda. If it takes an isolated incident and makes a general statement, it's propaganda. If it aims to convince you that most people, if not everybody, feels or thinks like you, it's propaganda. If it aims to convince you that most people, if not everybody, that is not like you is against you, it's propaganda. If it offers outrage as solace, it's propaganda. If it insists isolation is a deeper connection, it's propaganda. If it keeps you on edge, instead of on your knees, it's propaganda.
1 John 4 encourages us to weigh things spiritually. "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world."
Amazingly enough John had this insight long before Facebook gave us a barrage of opposing viewpoints at the click of a mouse. Propaganda, according to Webster's, is the methodical spread of ideas or information to injure a movement, cause, nation, or a people group. It is maliciousness designed, and disguised, for profit. Would it surprise you to learn that much of the political baiting and back biting 'news clips' we are subject to on social media, whether cast as either conservative, or liberal, is propagated by the same source playing both ends against the middle? Misinformation is a sleight of hand trick masking the iron fist of crowd control in a velvet glove.
John says in verse 17 of chapter 4, "Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgement; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love: but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. He who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him, because He first loved us. If someone says, "I love God" and yet hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this command we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also."
Love is not a stage prop. It is serious, and delightful. It is rigorous. It comforts. It confounds our real enemy. Love gives identity by sharing dignity with all of us made in God's image. Love advances, when the temptation arises to retreat into our preferred political camp, the Gospel intervenes. Mark 9:47 "Whoever receives one of these little children in My Name, receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives Him Who sent Me."
These little children, in God's eyes, are whomever we wish to ignore, denigrate, or despise. They could be Muslims, Methodists, Mexicans, or our fellow Americans. Despite all the rhetoric and rabble rousing, every person in our path is an opportunity to realize grace. If we truly wish to make America great, let's enlist the words of Jesus Who admonishes us to become servants of all.