It’s not that God is dead, or that Christ’s core message of redemption–salvation–is any less powerful.
It’s because there’s a war on Christianity. It’s just not the war we think.
It’s unconventional. Covert. Indeed, the assailants act as if they’re the victims.
Imagine, for a moment, how to destroy a religion. If Satan is truly acting in the world, what’s the best possible way he could undermine God?
The answer: make religion look evil. Put a face on faith that’s vain, hypocritical, self-serving, ridiculous. Destroy the credibility of a religion and it falls flat on its face.
Look no further than Paganism. Most people don’t believe in natural spirits/gods anymore for two reasons: 1) because modern society renders those beliefs silly and/or irrational, but more importantly, 2) there was a deliberate effort by early Catholic priests to link Pagan worship to witchcraft, evil, and ultimately, Lucifer himself.
Now it’s happening to Christianity. What’s strange is that it’s from within.
Look no further than Kim Davis, the famous, thrice divorced county clerk who’s ironically refusing to issue marriage licenses because of her “personal beliefs.” In addition to her several marriages, it’s well documented that she became pregnant out of wedlock.
A Christian and sinner myself, I have no issue with her personal failings or flaws. No one’s perfect. Christ accepted and acknowledged this fact–one of the primary reasons I follow Him as my savior.
What I do have a problem with, however, is the blatant hypocrisy in her position. The Bible clearly states that divorce is wrong, and many churches say the same about sex before or outside of marriage. So who is Kim Davis, then, to deny the right of marriage–an institution she so loosely values in her personal life–to others, whether they’re gay or not?
In other words, Kim Davis should be forgiven her transgressions, but if she’s truly a Christian–as she claims–she has no business whatsoever passing judgment on others. Christ was not an angry fool that went around telling people how awful they were; He was a teacher who spoke of how we can form a new, closer bond with God by practicing love and compassion for others.
But that’s not what we see from Kim Davis or the evangelical community rallying around her. Willing to look past the fact that she’s in no position to cast judgment on anyone, politicians, ministers, and run-of-the-mill yahoos claiming to love Jesus are absolutely thrilled Davis is standing against gay marriage and the Supreme Court.
They’ve compared her to Rosa Parks and MLK; Davis, according to many in Christendom, is the next figure in the long and celebrated American struggle for civil rights.
Wrong. In reality, what Davis is doing is a lot more like what Republican State Rep. Josh Miller did when he fought against Medicaid expansion in the Arkansas Legislature. Miller “was on an alcohol-fueled drive with a friend about 11 years ago (he can’t remember who was driving) when their pickup plunged off a ravine near Choctaw.” Paralyzed from the accident and uninsured, Medicaid picked up most of Miller’s million dollar hospital bill. Indeed, nearly “all his health costs were covered by the federal government.”
But now, callously, Miller works to deny government healthcare to the poor–no doubt for the benefit of his Republican political career. Likewise, Davis claims to care deeply about the sanctity of marriage, despite the plain fact that no such sanctity exists in her personal life. Jesus spoke of hypocrisy at length in Matthew 23:13, saying, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces…”
Unfortunately, it’s nothing new. Consider that when the Pope says we ought to do something about climate change or points out that global capitalism is causing misery for millions (if not billions) of poor people, Fox News broadcasts dozens of segments–hosts claiming Christian authority–attacking the man. I mean the nerve on that guy, right? What the hell does the Pope suppose he knows about Christianity anyway?”
What happened to “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37)? What happened to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31)? Or perhaps Kim Davis and her followers ought to consider James 4:11-12: “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy.” Does what the bible says actually matter to these people, or only the parts that condemn homosexuality and abortion?
And in the end, what’s the message? That Christianity is the very embodiment of bigotry and hate. That Christianity is a religion of mean-spirited hypocrites; a religion for liars, charlatans, and calculating conservative politicians; that it’s a religion so valueless its acolytes pick and choose which laws to follow and which to ignore.
Worse, if those who proclaim their faith the loudest, people like Pat Robertson, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Donald Trump, Kim Davis, and Josh Miller are Christians–then on it’s face it appears Christians don’t attach any merit to what, supposedly, are their most fundamental beliefs: Christ’s charge that we care for the poor and the sick; that we turn the other cheek and ask for forgiveness for our sins; that we are all sinners; that it’s not through the absence of sin that we receive salvation, but through a belief in Christ.
At best, contemporary Christianity looks old and angry, inextricably linked to the values of an increasingly out of touch Republican Party that’s driven by greed, dishonesty, and far too often, racism.
At worst it looks evil.
If there was better way to persuade people not to become Christians, I can’t think of it.
So when we hear conservative politicians and pastors claim that Christians are somehow being persecuted because they can’t legally discriminate against the LGBT community, let’s remember what’s really going on:
It’s Kim Davis and those that stand with her, waging war on Christianity.
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