Things I Don’t Understand: American Christianity

“As Christians, as those who follow and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, let us pray throughout the day and all of these proceedings. Pray for our nation, pray for our leaders, and pray for President Donald J. Trump,” said Franklin Graham.  “It’s a day of shame for America. The media is calling the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry ‘historic’ and it is — historically shameful.”

Mr Graham, son of Billy Graham, prays to a different God than I know.

God is love. I believe that to be true. I also believe that God is about kindness, sacrifice and service to others. If that is true, why is hate, greed and discrimination done in His name?

“Conservatives & Christians need to stop electing “nice guys”. They might make great Christian leaders but the US needs street fighters like @realDonaldTrump at every level of government b/c the liberal fascists Dems are playing for keeps & many Repub leaders are a bunch of wimps!” Jerry Falwell, Jr. (September 28, 2018)

Jerry Falwell, Jr. is the son of the Moral Majority founder, Jerry Falwell, and leader of Liberty University.

Weaponizing Christianity for partisan political purposes is not cool.  Liberal fascists? Mr. Falwell needs to read a book, perhaps understand what fascism really is, especially since he took over daddy’s business as head of Liberty University.  I could write an entire blog about Misters Graham and Falwell and perhaps I will, but that’s not the point of this one.  Referencing them is only to illustrate the point of Christianity going off the rails.  As the most prevalent religion in America, it is the one I am most familiar with, but no religion is perfect or clean of misdeeds.

Of all the things that confuse me, religion is at the top of the list.

I’m not a person of the church, I haven’t been a churchgoer for most of my life. That doesn’t mean that I lack faith or humanity. I believe I have a lot of each.  I am a spiritual person.

Church attendance does not define belief or what is in one’s soul. It’s interesting to me that so many different religions exist, and to be a Christian means different things. A person’s relationship with God, in whatever way it exists, is a personal thing. I was married in a very strict church, not mine, hers.  It was challenging to find music that passed the very critical eye of the pastor, who always looked like he was sucking on a prune.

Places of worship have many purposes. I have nothing against people coming together for fellowship, sharing their views on their teachings, and working to improve the lives of others. Together, people can leverage resources, labor and their commitment to make the world a better place.  Amen, brother.

Religion has been responsible for both good and bad throughout history. That is still very much the case. Churches, temples, mosques and and other organizations have built and repaired houses, provided childcare, fed people, helped with job skills and employment, counseled and many other things. The good deeds are endless.

Wars and savagery litter history in the name of religion. Cruelty and repression. Helping Nazis escape to safety, bloody crusades, bombings, murder, classism; and my favorite, discrimination against other faiths, ethnicity, sexual preference, etc.  Point to a continent and you’ll find religious persecution today.

Is it religion or is it bad people or hearts filled with hate that twist religion into an absolute, a way of legitimizing superiority?  I am no religious expert but I have a hard time believing any set of teachings implicitly says to suppress, hate or murder other people.  I believe it is the humanly interpretation of those words that motivates followers toward love and service, or condemnation and punishment of others.

I believe in the separation of church and state. Writing religious exemptions expression into law? No way. I’m no expert, but if I can understand the most basic of religious thought, why do those who preach their beliefs, try to justify wiggling out of respecting others?

The same “God hates fags” zealots of the Westboro Baptist Church, exist elsewhere in society. It is not enough for them to merely hate, they want to deny service, deny rights under the law, deny adoption, deny medical care, deny education, and use the power of the state to make it legal. To me, this sounds like use of sharia law, faith-based code of conduct, underwritten by law.

Turn on the television or search the Internet and you find televangelists, megachurch leaders, fire and brimstone hucksters, shilling for God, pedaling products, memberships and salvation. Have your credit card ready.

I’m not anti-religion. I’m really not. Scroll up for the fine things religion sponsors. Discrimination and violence doesn’t cut it with me. Interlocking religion and government is not okay with me. I understand that some of our laws have origins in religious customs. Those laws have been tested through time and the courts.

When religious “leaders” like Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell, Jr. and others, make very partisan comments about impeachment and threats of violence, we should be concerned.  Very concerned.  Apparently, God is a conservative Republican and He wants you to support your President, independent of his behavior or the evidence.  My God trusts us to do the right thing.

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