Saturday, July 07, 2018

Conservative Christianity Has Become an Institution of Intolerance

Trump cheerleader and modern day Pharisee, Franklin Graham.
I apologize for yet another religion related post, but one of the themes of this blog is "thoughts on hypocrisy."  Few groups in contemporary America provide more examples of hypocrisy than "conservative" Christians and evangelical Christians, some 81 % of whom are Trump/Pence supporters. They faithfully attend church services and endlessly condemn "sinners", but seemingly throw the Gospel message in the garbage as they exit the church doors - especially if the targets of their hate are not Caucasians.  Then, all thoughts of the Gospel social message are discarded and one witnesses behavior that suggests a KKK rally or a gathering of  Neo-Nazis.  A piece in Sojourners looks at the total disconnect between what these people claim to believe and their toxic, hypocrisy-filled actions.  Here are highlights:

Countless American Christians spend thousands of dollars traveling to impoverished countries on missions trips, taking photos of themselves surrounded by “locals” and participating in numerous service projects. Reminded of their wealth and privilege, these parishioners will return to their churches and report on the inspiring faith of those who live in squalid conditions, and pay lip service to serving “the least of these.”
But once back in America, these very same Christians will adamantly oppose having “foreigners” as neighbors, loathing the idea that they could possibly be allowed to cross into the border of the United States seeking a better life. So while they post pictures on social media of themselves surrounded by poor children and holding babies they personally cared for, they’ll post nothing about the children and babies being separated from their parents at the border.
Instead, they’ll share rants about the morality of following government-sanctioned laws and reiterate the importance of national security. Meanwhile, they’ll join their congregations and worship a God they claim has lavished unwarranted grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love upon them. Singing lyrics like “I couldn't earn it, and I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away, Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God…” 
These same worshippers regarding immigrants, refugees, and foreigners: “they didn’t earn it, they don’t deserve it.” . . . . Praise songs will continue to be sung in honor of a savior whose own family fled to Egypt as refugees.  . . . . But regarding non-Americans who dare to imagine saving their own families by creating a new life in America: “Ban them! Deport them! Build the wall!
This cruel duplicity, whether intentional or not, is how Christianity, a religion espousing charity, morality, love, joy, peace, and kindness, has devolved into an institution of greed, power, hate, racism, violence, oppression, and injustice. For those wanting to follow the ways of Jesus, “Christianity” has become intolerable. It has become the antithesis of the God it claims to represent. For many observers, church services, sermons, hymns, and evangelism has become not only idolatrous — serving a nationalistic agenda rather than God — but even dishonest. Unfathomably contrary to the actions of those who spew it, hordes of Christians say “I love God” but hate immigrants, refugees, and refuse to help the neighbors they are called to unconditionally love. Despite numerous opportunities to prove that Christianity is good for society, generous to the poor, a help for the victimized, and a safe haven for the downtrodden, it has not only failed to do so, but in many cases has contributed to the evils it claims to oppose. Instead of proving to the world that Christianity can prevent and alleviate attacks against humanity, it has fostered them. For many, the religion of “Christianity” has long been this way: a tool used to rationalize and enact slavery, internment camps, incarceration, segregation, xenophobia, gender inequality, racism, violence, oppression, and injustice.
If you feel hurt and upset by all of this, good, because that’s a sign of spiritual awakening.  . . . . Christ’s opponents sought to overcome him through the machinations of political power, a state-run legal system, and populist fear.
To their credit, there have been faithful communities who’ve followed Jesus by resisting evil and passionately defending the cause of the voiceless. Their gospel of good news hasn’t become co-opted by political rhetoric or opportunistic greed, but has been centered on the life and words of Christ. . . . .[Meanwhile] large portions of Christians appearing more like the Pharisees than the Good Samaritans.
As the article notes, there are "good Christians" who do not support the agenda of hate and intolerance that are the hallmarks of evangelical Christians and, of course, the Trump/Pence regime's agenda.  Sadly, too many of these "good Christians" remain silent and do not openly confront and condemn their Pharisee-like co-religionists. 

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