Prejudice is an ugly part of humanity. The ugliest is saying your enemy isn't human. He is an animal without your qualities How could it be otherwise.
Hitler did it with the Jews. Andy Jackson with Native Americans. Too many did it with people of color. They aren't human like us.
The worst is some who claim the Christian mantle. They see some human beings as not being equal to them. They don't deserve our love because they are not like us. They don't deserve our compassion because they are not human.
Jesus was dedicated to defending the defenseless. He hated bigotry and religious hypocrisy. He relentlessly called out the faithless teachings of his day. His harshest words were for those supposed religious leaders.
How about some of our religious leaders of today? What would Jesus say about some of them? Would he call them a "brood of vipers"? If he did, would it mean anything to them?
81% of white Evangelicals voted for the current president! They and their religious leaders enthusiastically support him! They turn a blind eye to his immoral actions! They are giving to Caesar what belongs to God!
One cannot be a follower of Jesus and support Trump. If you are willing to abandon the teachings of Jesus, If you turn a blind eye to his racist rhetoric, You have lost the right to call yourself Christian.
It just struck me in the shower recently that we seem to be living in two distinctively different worlds today that are weirdly occupying the same space in time. That phenomenon is not terribly unusual in the overall scheme of things, but the intensity of it is almost freakish now. The “Us vs Them” mentality seems to have caused a VERY deep chasm between too many of us. That is what this unusually long post a about.
This phenomenon has several different faces. Let’s look at some of them.
I have been reading a lot about the political Evangelical of today’s world. All that I have read now convinces me that many in this category are deathly afraid that their world is coming to an end. They see their children defect to other beliefs, or even no beliefs at all, rather than take their parents religious beliefs on faith alone. The Millenials are known to be the least religious of any of the past several generations. Of course this has already happened in much of Europe. Those who base their lives on one of many brand of faith are now a distinct minority on that continent and if things continue as they are the same will happen to America. Faith without facts or actions ring hollow for too many of us now.
In order to keep the inevitable from happening Evangelicals have formed a bizarre relationship with a very vile narcissist who tells them what they want to hear. But in reality he would abandon them in an instant if something better came along. To me, this symbiotic relationship between a narcissist and panicked Evangelicals reminds me of the story of the anti-Christ in their very own books.
Let’s face it, white supremacy has been the story of America for much of its history. America was formed by white Europeans overrunning the existing inhabitants of our land. They justified that practice as being Manifest Destiny in that their god had declared that they were to spread from coast to coast.
The second phase of white Supremacy was based on one person owning another. Of course the owner was almost exclusively WASP while the ones enslaved were people of color. White Supremacy was very much a roadblock in the forming of our Constitution. Given that many of the most influential of the founders were slaveholders that was inevitable. It would take one hundred years to even start to change that and another one hundred years before it was even possible to make equality and justice for all a part of our destiny.
In the last fifty years things are finally starting to change and that scares many of the once powerful people in our society. They see the statistics that in the not too distant future they will lose control of being able to dictate who we are as a nation. They, like the Evangelicals above, are genuinely panicked and grabbing for any straw that helps them maintain power. They too have grabbed onto the same unstable person as their savior.
Rural vs Urban
Like White Supremacy, Rural vs Urban has been around for most of our country’s’ existence. An initial stopgap solution to one group dominating another was to create one body of our legislature that was not based on population but instead on certain regions of the country. Of course that body is the US Senate. Basically that gives rural areas of the country more voting power per person than those in urban areas. Is it fair in today’s world to make one person’s vote count more than another’s? I think not.
Rural areas are obviously in a continuous state of decay now. All you have to do to see that fact is to get off the Interstate highways during an extended road trip. You will find yourself going through ghost town after ghost town. Main street is now strewn with dilapidated building. About the only occupied building is the US Post Office. I’m sure it is very hard for those who remember a vital downtown to not be angry. They feel a steamroller has leveled their way of life and they too are clinging to an unstable narcissist for the resurrection.
On a personal side note related to this topic, up until the last year or so, I made it a point to use only State roads in my half dozen or so annual uRV trips each year. But after a few years of that I found myself getting depressed with all the abandoned towns. I was passing through. I can’t imagine having to live that daily reminder of what was once but never will be again!
Educated vs Uneducated
You could also entitle this group as “informed vs mis-informed”. If you know history you know that the French Revolution which took place not long after our’s was primarily about this topic. The serfs were determined to rid their country of all the intellectuals and they did that via the guillotine! When China decided to totally embrace Communism in the 20th century the first thing they did was to round up the intellectuals. The same thing is true for Russia. I am definitely thankful that we intellectuals are not treated likewise it my country. At least yet…
Maybe part of this problem is not really about education as is it about who holds the power. I know there is a definite disdain among rural America for those who represent us in the federal government. Too many think all of those jokers are corrupt money grabbers.
And then there is the rest of us
I hope that most of us in America see things very differently than these fringe groups above. We see our country’s diversity as a strong point in our existence instead of something to be attacked and eliminated. We see white male power finally being surrendered to something more representative of our citizens as a whole and we rejoice that fact.
Yes, we question everything but with the purpose of making our collective lives and institutions better and to discard the antiquated practices of the past. We applaud the changes happening as finally bringing our nation to a point where justice for all is something can be accomplished within a generation or two.
Each one of these groups has a very specific agenda that is very different than what most of us want to see happening to America. I have come to see that many of them are in a panic stage thinking their way of life is over! It is utterly tragic that so many people now live a life obsessed with fear.
I want to close out this post that I am not painting with a broad brush. I realize that there are many “associate” members of these groups who may be causally linked to these causes if at all.
My new blogging friend John Pavlovitz is a writer, pastor, and activist from Wake Forest, North Carolina is certainly not afraid to call out Evangelicals for their discrimination against others. That is one of the primary things I admire him for and why read him daily. Here are some words from a recent post. I encourage you to click on the link to read the entire story.
[And please, my Evangelical friend,] don’t give me that hackneyed, tired nonsense, that you are loving LGBTQ people by doing the things you do to them, because that’s an insult to all of us.
If you’re going to tell me with a straight face, that ridiculing them in the streets and excluding them from your churches and passing legislation to take away their civil rights and prohibiting them from being fully authentic—is loving them—I’m respectfully calling bullshit. The day you convinced yourself that this was love, you lost the plot completely.
I hope at least a few Evangelicals will read his post and realize that they are poisoning Christianity by their hateful words and actions. There is far too much judging among Evangelicals if you ask me but I readily admit that I judge others more than I should. The difference between them and me is that I recognize it as a personal fault and is contrary to my Live and Let Live pillar of life, and for some weird reason they see their prejudices as following Jesus.
As the title of John’s blog says “Stuff That Needs To Be Said”, maybe he can get through to that guy who works in an oval office. But I kinda doubt ANYONE can get through to him except maybe Meuller. 🥺 But, maybe he could convince a few of his loyal base that they have attached their dreams to a con artist. That’s stuff that really needs to be said…
When I was a member of an Evangelical church the most often phrase I heard when its members couldn’t reconcile something recently happened with their beliefs in the bible was that “God works in mysterious ways, we just have to trust Him”. I always thought that was more of a cop-out than an explanation of the situation. But that is not the topic of this post.
It seems that these same Evangelicals put that phrase onto unexplainable actions of #CO3! They say that he just needs to be trusted and we should disregard all the lies and gross exaggerations that come from this mouth in order to get the greater good that his presidency will provide. Again this is a humongous cop-out as far as I am concerned.
I was personally exposed to an extreme narcissist for a good part of my life and see the same things in #CO3. He emphatically believes that he is capable of doing anything and doesn’t have to put in the work to do it. He proudly boasts that he basically sleeps through his daily briefing and he simply operates at a gut level and doesn’t need anything else. That is not a person I would put ANY trust in. How can the Evangelicals put total trust in this very untrustful person is beyond my comprehension. That belief is doing as much harm to their religion as it is to our democracy.
Sadly, one of the things I believe the church has become very good at is to take some particular words from the bible and twist them around to more conform to their way of thinking. That is what today’s post is going to be about.
Sometimes small alterations make a great deal of difference. For instance, we have about 90 percent of the same genes as cats and more than 98 percent of the same genes as chimpanzees. But those little differences matter a lot.
This is also true when it comes to faith. I have been doing some reading in A Church Undone: Documents from the German Christian Faith Movement, 1932-1940. The German Christian Movement was Germanized Christianity, supportive of Nazism. The church leaders involved in this movement believed that the church should be “relevant” to contemporary German experience….
In a Germanized “translation” of the beatitudes of Jesus, one of the prominent ministers in this movement rendered our Lord’s, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9), using these words: “Happy are those who are at peace with their fellow Germans; they do God’s will.” Not quite the same!…
Like those in the German Christian Movement, American Christian nationalists often speak in terms very similar to the ways Christians have always spoken. They take up themes that have been heard in churches throughout the centuries. But the “little” differences make a huge difference, just like the alteration of a few genes can result in a whole new species.
I don’t know much about how the Lutheran church in Germany dealt with Hitler but I am not surprised that they, like American Evangelicals, politized their religion to support the regime. Just twist a few words around to make it seem like you are following Jesus when in fact you have totally ignored his teachings.
I wonder what books written after the church eventually returns to its roots will say about our times? I suspect it will be pretty similar to “A Church Undone” as mentioned above. Jesus’ messages and teachings are good for the ages, they don’t need to be re-interpreted to meet the times. Love God & Love each other is the message for us as it was for the early Christians.
I am beginning to think that the phrase “Ignorance is Bliss” is a very appropriate condition in trying to keep informed in the political world today. There is just so much phoniness and lies floating around that world now as to make it uninhabitable.
But in most areas of life knowing more about a topic results in better-informed decisions and lifestyles. Being proudly ignorant is well… ignorant! Let’s clear something up here before you jump to any unnecessary conclusions. Ignorance and stupidity are two very different things. Stupidity is a life-long condition whereas as ignorance can be eliminated with some informed study. Being afraid of knowing too much is a scary thing to me. But that seems to be the preferred state for too many who call themselves Evangelicals. Here is a quote about that:
“People are scared that if they come to know too much, they’ll be like the Pharisees and will just become haughty and judgmental to others, thus weakening their love for God; or they’re afraid that they’ll learn too much and go off the deep end of liberalism and swim in the risky waters of universalism and other heresies.”…
Renoe goes on to say that nowadays anyone can start a church, and “as long as it’s engaging and entertaining enough, people will show up. Nevermind if it’s true or not.” He refers to Pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, and remarks that Osteen “doesn’t even have a bachelor’s degree, much less a seminary degree and look where that leads…”
I too am very put off by Joel Osteen’s version of Christianity. He seems to have perverted the messages of Jesus to something that is quite the opposite. Yet, every week he gets thousands of Texan Evangelicals to sit in his lavish palace and give him their money? But I am getting off track here.
Knowing too much is not a condition we should be concerned about. God gave us free will, he also gave us a brain to learn the best way to do his will. To ignorantly follow someone because they spout a few bible verses here or there is not what God intended us to use up space in our brains. Instead, it was to find ways to take care of each other as he commanded. As far as I am concerned ignorance spurns ignorance but that doesn’t have to be a lasting condition…
One of the things that totally baffles me is how people who now say they are Evangelicals but vote in almost direct opposition to those established beliefs. I hate to use the words but due to their hero the only words that come to mind is that they are “FAKE EVANGELICALS”!!
It’s a good time to try to sort out how Protestants who voted for Moore and Donald Trump may differ from, well, lots of the rest of us Protestants.
Analysts say about 80 percent of voters who identify as white Christian evangelicals and participated in Alabama’s special election voted for Moore. That’s roughly the same percentage of white evangelicals who supported Trump in 2016….
What baffled non-evangelicals in the 2016 election and the recent Alabama election was how evangelicals could support people whose values and actions made a mockery of evangelical ideals. Trump: a self-confessed sexual predator, a man of multiple marriages and mistresses, a businessman deeply engaged in casinos, a man of xenophobic tendencies. Moore: a credibly accused molester of teenage girls, a man known to express racist views, a flouter of the law who had to be removed as chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court.
To me, this is kind of like the KKK who claims to be a Christian organization but don’t show it in any way, shape, or form. I know I am not supposed to judge what is in the heart of fellow Christians but I just can’t seem to see any other explanation. I wish some of these folks would explain themselves in a public discourse so that we could begin to understand the logic in their beliefs if indeed there is any.
Without that testimony, I kind of think they are either lazy Christians who never bothered to learn about the teachings of their founder or they are putting on a mask to validate their very narrow view of the world. I don’t want to judge them but without their input that is about all I can do.
But one thing I do know for certain is that they are killing religion with their actions.
Some say that all religions are the result of mankind asking “Why are we here?” Everyone eventually comes to that question and various answers have resulted in what we now call “religion”.
I have let it be freely known here that I am a follower of Jesus Christ but don’t call myself a Christian anymore, and particularly not an Evangelical! That word has been totally destroyed by the political nature of the ones who kidnapped it.
When Jesus was asked to sum up why we are here he gave us two commands: To love each other and to love God. To that end, the quote below perfectly sums up why we are here:
We are here because Jesus taught us to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” We are here because we take the parable of the Good Samaritan to heart. We are here because we refuse to allow Christianity to be co-opted by the likes of people who support abuse of women, the closing of our nation to the immigrant in need and the normalizing of lie after lie after lie.
Finally, we are here because we believe our nation yearns to hear from us this day…
Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey — Associate Dean at Boston University School of Theology
There is not a sentence in the quote above that I don’t wholeheartedly agree with. I am a man of principles and this is one of the primary ones. “Love each other”. That means my brothers don’t have to worry if they have enough money to go to a doctor when they are sick. It means that no child in the world, let alone this country, should go to bed hungry each night. It means we are good samaritans, we help each other out.
I know my Evangelical friends, if I have any now, say that these things are the church’s job, not the government’s. It is documented that yes the church meets about 3% of the total need. But what about the other 97%? Do they have to wait for churches to eventually get to them? I am a believer that government exists to the people’s business and since the church won’t take care of those in need, and in reality can’t meet the demand then we have to do collectively through our government.
As the quote above insinuates, perhaps the most damaging part of the “Evangelical” movement is normalizing of lie after lie, after lie. The current Oval Office occupant continues daily to push them daily further down into the ditch. When, if ever will they finally say enough is enough and come back to the words of Jesus? Their current mantra is that “a pedophile is better than a Democrat!” How much further down the rabbit’s hole will they allow themselves to go?