“In fact, to a certain group of conservative Christians, the emphasis on tolerance represents an assault on the hate-fueled status quo they cling to. The results are a scared, heavily armed group of bigots who are watching their influence on America’s culture dissolve before their eyes.” -from “Pastors Eye a Move from God’s House to the Statehouse” (www.npr.org)
Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed an increase in “righteous indignation” amongst Christians. This anger seems to be directly correlated to SCOTUS’s decision concerning same-sex marriage. People who I’d never suspect were Christian suddenly invoked the piety of Old Testament priests. I was certain that I was going to see photos of levitical sin offering ceremonies of those asking God to forgive America of its sudden sin of gayness. I thought I was going to start selling sackcloth and ashes online for the impending lamentations from the now-outed Christians. This was the last straw I guess, the one that broke God’s proverbial back. He’d managed to turn a blind eye to the rape and murder of the Natives to found the country. He bypassed the 246 years of using human capital to fund the venture. He sat by unbothered after freedom papers were issued but racial segregation continued for another 100 years. He gave zero [insert expletive] about the lives of sharecroppers, the Natives confined to reservations in their own land suffering from alcoholism and depression with minimum support from the government that disenfranchised them, the 127,000 Americans held in internment camps on American soil during WWII because of their Japanese ancestry, Black citizens in the South being sprayed with high-powered hoses and attacked viciously by police dogs during the Civil Rights Movement, the systematic profiling and discrimination of Muslim Americans after 9/11; no, none of these events evoked a sense of anger in the Almighty, well, if we are measuring His lividity according to the aforementioned conservatives. In my 31 years I have seen quite a few injustices in this country. 2015 alone has me in constant anguish. However, nothing has catalyzed this sect of Christians to call for war in the name of Christian morality like marriage equality. Oh, and the removal of artifacts that celebrate the treasonous Confederate states. Conservative Christians are having a collective coronary episode about this so the heavens MUST be displeased.
My first question is this: what morality are they attempting to protect or restore? Frequently I’ve heard the phrase “this country was founded on Christian principles.” No, it wasn’t. Who told you that? Follow me for a moment. Both murder and theft are forbidden according to the 10 Commandments, correct? What about coveting your neighbor’s possessions? Well, early Americans journeyed to this land, saw the possessions of the Natives, and in a covetous progression killed them so they could steal said possessions. Stop me if I’m misguided in this brief history lesson. All of this sounds like sin to me. Ok, now a few of the cult members (read: Christian extremists) would say these acts were well within the boundaries of the faith. God allowed the Israelites to overtake many countries in the Old Testament that did not serve Him. Assumedly, the Natives did not worship the Christian God so, you know, same concept. Alright, point 1 for the extremists. I don’t agree, but your misconstrued view of the Bible may uphold this one.
Hmm, what about capitalism? This is a capitalist nation, correct? Let’s give an elementary definition of capitalism according to Dictionary.com- “An economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.” When I read this definition, I am reminded of the saying “every man for himself.” Is that a Christian principle, that each one is responsible solely for his own care? Let’s see what Jesus says in Matthew 25- “…for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me;I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me. As you did unto the least of these My brethren you did unto Me.” What Jesus is saying here actually sounds like the social programs such as universal health care and SNAP, the programs these conservatives are always trying to disassemble, claiming it is not the responsibility of tax payers to fund such efforts. These programs, amongst personal efforts, essentially are how a Christian worships God. Capitalism inherently contrasts this behaviour. Capitalism is self-serving and devalues those who are unable to care for themselves. So, if service to others (including sharing goods) is how a Christian worships God, how can we claim this American system is founded on godly principles if it doesn’t follow this basic one?
It is my assessment that many American Christians are frustrated by the changes on the sociopolitical front because they are unfamiliar with the guiding principles of Christianity, only knowing “Christian” traditions passed along to them. For generations we have distorted the faith to justify our way of living, from slavery to patriarchy. This wreaks of pharisaic living. The Pharisees had their form of godliness, but they lacked an actual connection with God. Jesus was with them on numerous occasions, yet they did not recognise Him as the Messiah because their focus was on religiosity- on rules and regulations for which either had no foundation or no longer applied according to the New Covenant. They cared nothing about truly loving God or His people- the two greatest commandments according to The Christ. They were excellent at playing the part, but they were utterly ineffective at being a driving force in the kingdom of God. Here are some of their characteristics (courtesy of sermonindex.net)
(A) Glorified external righteousness; did not care about the condition of the heart;
(B) Didn’t desire interactions with unconverted people, only wanted connections to those who thought like them;
(C) Boastful in their faith- for example, made a spectacle of fasting in order to receive praise from others;
(D) Careless in their speech. They were merciless in their contempt for the unconverted, but boundlessly offered themselves verbal affirmations;
(E) Hypocritical in preaching one thing and not living out what they preach or keeping their word.
Current Day Translations:
(A) People who go to church every Sunday and even serve as clergy but are racist. Or, for example, The Duggars.
(B)Saying “You can’t shop at my establishment because I don’t support same-sex marriages. It is against my faith.” The implication is only Christian heterosexuals such as them are welcome.
(C) The judge in Texas who forces couples that desire to marry sign a waiver outlining his personal beliefs, which includes a statement specifically opposing same-sex marriage. (If that’s not boastful and self-righteous, I don’t know what is.)
(D) The Christian who, in a comfortable setting, uses or doesn’t oppose the use of words such as “nigger”, “beaner”, “fag”, “chink”, and other oppressive slurs, but also refers to himself as a “good Christian”.
(E) Almost all politicians in this country. Start with the Tea Party. They are drowning in self-righteousness.
I have a message for these so-called Christians. You are not a Christian; you are a cult member. You have taken elements of the Christian faith and declared jihad on the American public. Yes, I said jihad just for you, Islamaphobes. For the same way Islamic extremists misconstrue that concept of ‘holy war’ in the name of Allah, you domestic terrorists are doing the same in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus does not support you. In Revelations 3:16, He says that He will “spit you out of His mouth” for being lukewarm (hypocrite; not living what you preach). YOU are the abomination to Him, while you’re going around using that term so freely.
My advice to you is to go back to Sunday School, you misguided soul. Sit at the feet of a rabbi and learn Christian precepts instead of swearing by and living according to this terribly diminished form of the faith. SPOILER ALERT: Americans did not found Christianity, therefore we cannot define it. Our lives should be conforming to a faith that was set before us, not us attempting to manipulate the faith to fit our own self-interests. Get to know Jesus for yourself, not the one we proclaim the [hypocritical, murderous, covetous] founders followed. Once we start living like Him, we won’t see the need to try to legislate our faith because wisdom will tell you it is futile to try to legislate morality. The law is to maintain order amongst the people. It doesn’t make you a better person (hence why the laws are constantly broken). Get off of your pedestal, close your mouth, and learn. Otherwise, stop telling people we serve the same God. My God is merciful. He is benevolent and welcoming. He chilled with the fringes of society. If this is not you, you are not a Christ follower. Take a seat, please. Real Christians are tired of being embarrassed by you.