The religious right in the United States reflects their faith by religious, racial, ethnic, and xenophobic bigotry. Hate and fear are the two controlling emotions as retribution from God is to be visited on those who are different from the white, non LGBTQ, native-born majority in the country. One would think Jesus came in the 1950’s and not Palestine thousands of years past, and sought only white people in the United States to preach his message to.
Conservative Christianity has become linked to guns and the NRA in a manner that places the Second Amendment higher than the Second Commandment. It makes worship while wearing or holding firearms central to the faith and not peripheral. God brings peace.
Right-wing Christian groups actively seek to discriminate against people of color, the entire LGBTQ community, Muslim American citizens who are viewed as a threat due to Islam and terrorism, something that in their minds is one and the same thing.
They fear predatory transgender men and women molesting their sons and daughters in bathrooms, requiring discriminatory state laws to protect them from a threat that is non-existent.
Women who simply wish to have a say over what happens to their bodies during the course of their lives and receipt of reproductive health care find laws, distance, harassment and social stigma making that increasingly difficult to obtain.
When black young people march and protest the fact that police in America use deadly force more quickly and more often, cheapening the lives of people of color, they complain that police are disrespected, and that white lives matter too. They fail to see that white lives have always mattered—and still matter much more in a nation that has had slavery, Jim Crow segregation and continued deep white resentment among so many Christians whose politics are informed by these prejudices.
Justice to Christian conservatives is fully retributive; that brought against sinners by a God of anger and holy wrath. Too often their anger and fears are intertwined with this hell fire and brimstone theology, where fear of God sending you to hell is what animates the entire faith. God’s love, grace and compassion seem distant and far removed.
Christian conservative groups have become more bold and insistent that their faith be part and parcel to the Constitution of the United States that does not provide for religion and religious sectarianism, except to prohibit it.
I have thought to myself what a poor example, and what a destructive witness for those of us in the faith aimed at bringing more people to know and love Jesus the Christ, and to obtain the gift of salvation.
Just the other day my church’s Gospel message from the scriptures offered us precisely what Jesus taught on the subject:
“I give you another commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
This message is hard to square with the behavior of so many fundamentalist Christian Evangelicals in the United States these days. If we do look to that example we see so much more hate and fear, where scriptures tell us not to be afraid, and where Jesus’ active example was to go among less understood, stigmatized, and reviled people, and to sit down and break bread with them. In Jewish custom this is one of the most intimate of social acts, and God’s son showed his love and compassion for them. Why isn’t conservative Evangelical Christianity leading by following Jesus’s example and thereby demonstrating that indeed, yes, these are genuine followers of Christ?
I can’t say that if we disregard or reject God we are going to spend eternity with the divine. We are not. And all of us are sinners in God’s eyes. We all fall far short. There is no one who has not done an injustice to another; none of us has divine perfection. No shit Sherlock. And liberal social justice oriented Christians can be arrogant and far too self- righteous.
Were more people to see Christians reflecting the light God gives us, what a more attractive prospect that would give to those who might become disposed to become a disciple.
Under the New Covenant Jesus of Nazareth brought, was the fulfillment of the divine plan to take on the burden of sinful man and give all of us another chance. Oh, God can be wrathful, but Christians ought not to lose sight of the gift of forgiveness and love that the Great I Am (God) provides.
Most of all, if Christians would just be kind to others who are outside the faith, or who have characteristics not common to, or experiences beyond what white right-wing Evangelicals have, the prospects for the growth of the body of Christ would be enhanced, and we’d all just get along with each other so much better.
For me, God’s love for me despite who I am, and the restorative justice we can provide in our everyday lives for others helps me take out my light from under the bushel basket where too often it is hidden, and to reflect that divine light in a world that is so troubled and broken.