The New Christianity of Hatred and Exclusion

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

My parents were both converts to Catholicism. My father had been raised Methodist and my mother Episcopalian. All three of us were baptized shortly before my first birthday, and I and my three siblings were raised Catholic.

Even though, as an adult, I had some serious questions about matters such as birth control, celibacy for priests and nuns, and a larger role for women in the church, I practiced my faith and pushed the doubts down. The breaking point for me came when I attended a monthly family event, which began with a potluck dinner. Afterward we broke up into groups, with children going for religious instruction and adults meeting separately for discussion. Sometimes we had a speaker, and sometimes not, but on this particular evening, we were discussing some catastrophic event that had occurred and how we could help.

I don’t remember how the subject came up, but discussion broke out about AIDS and its causes. This was in the late 80s when much was still unknown about the subject. I remember listening in horror when a number of these people, whom I had considered to be “good Christians”, began to air their belief that AIDS was God’s punishment, visited on those evil and immoral homosexuals. Our group included a nun of whom I was very fond, and I expected her to inject a note of sanity and actual Christianity into the discussion, but she remained mute. I left that meeting with a sick feeling. I could hardly believe what I had heard and it left me with much unpalatable food for thought.

Soon thereafter, we moved to a different city and parish. My teenage son began to show heavy resistance to attending church, but it wasn’t until a year or two later that he told me that he was gay. Now my simmering discontent with my religion and its large contingent of haters had a focus, and it was at this point that I decided, since there was apparently “no room in the inn” for my son, that it was not the place for me either. Organized religion and I came to a parting of the ways, although I still have an active and happy spiritual life.

Now, some twenty years down the road, I look at the new “Christianity” which has evolved, and I think that Christ must find very little in it with which to identify. Most offensive of all is the Westboro Baptist Church, whose website calls itself godhatesfags.com. Just glancing at the site and its vile contents made me want to take a hot shower. It is filled with breathtakingly, virulent hatred. Under the heading of “Latest Press Releases” are entries such as: “Thank God for 2 more dead troops. We are praying for 2,000 more. We will picket their funerals in their home towns in respectful and lawful proximity thereto. Here is a Roster of the Damned:” and they name two dead soldiers. I still don’t understand the connection between homosexuals and dead soldiers, but the group brags that they have staged 49,959 pickets to date.

Under the heading, “Meaning of “God Hates Fags”, it says that – “though elliptical – [it] is a profound theological statement, which the world needs to hear more than it needs oxygen, water and bread.” I’ll not sully your minds with the filth that is spewed after that. In fact, I wish I could forget that I saw it.

And then we have the politicians who talk about family values while trying to destroy social programs and to create a whole new class of the poor to whom they can feel superior. Some of them have the nerve to say that, when they were younger, their families received assistance, but they don’t want anyone else to benefit from the programs which helped them. Our country was founded on the principle of religious freedom, but now those freedoms are not to be extended to peoples of other faiths?

Even when Paul Ryan was reprimanded by the “nuns on the bus”, he continued to go after those “takers”, of whom he used to be one himself. What hypocrisy! What utter gall! And all the while he calls himself a good Christian. Perhaps he doesn’t remember that when Jesus was here he came to bring love and to include everyone in his church. In fact, if you follow the two rules he gave us – love God; love your neighbor – there would be no need for any other rules, because these two cover every person and situation.

If you only read the negative news, you’d be forced to believe that we have become a nation of people who have “hardened their hearts” to the plight of their neighbors. I choose to believe that there are many more of us who have taken the teachings of Christ to heart – they just don’t get so much press, because “good news doesn’t sell papers” or get as many hits on the internet.

If we want things to get better, we should elect a better class of politician to office. We should also try to listen to our better angels, when all around us are those who would encourage us toward hatefulness, selfishness and the exclusion of those who are “different” and therefore not to be trusted.

We should speak out when we know something is wrong, as I should have done at that long-ago meeting. I was complicit by my silence and it is one of my greatest regrets that I didn’t speak up. But I can’t be silent any more. Things have gone too far and we must begin to be the change we want to see.

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About the Author:

Born in a small, Illinois log cabin. No, that won't work. The pampered only child of incredibly wealthy parents. No, that doesn't fly either. Raised by French nuns after her aristocratic parents were beheaded. No, that's been done! An East Coast transplant to the Pacific Northwest, this notoriously late bloomer began her new life with a new career as a writer and blogger. She has taken to both the new location and the career move like a duck to water. Writing for Expats Post is a new adventure, and our intrepid risk-taker is diving in, feeling right at home with so many old friends.
Reached for comment she replied, "Okay, I wrote my bio, may I Please go out and play?"
We expect great, or perhaps merely more coherent, things from this writer. (Okay, that's a wrap. What a wacko!)

  • “35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    Perhaps the pious should remember this and act upon it. Neither you nor I should hold our breath. The vicious and the hateful whether in words or in the flesh are no true religion and they should not be misconstrued or allowed to masquerade as such.

    Great and timely article Melody!

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  • Larry, very well put. And I like the Source of your quotes! This has been on my mind for a very long time now. Thank you for your kind words.

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  • Larry, I agree wholeheartedly with the scriptures you posted. My concern is that we as a group have ceased to practice these principles and turned over caring for our poor and sick to the government. We become more loving and compassionate when we practice these acts ourselves.

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    • Onisha, I believe that the impulse towards kindness for those in need is inherent in most of us. Perhaps we simply need practice in putting our impulse into action.

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  • Bravo Melody. You go girl! I too, have regrets about times past when I was silent. Mostly times I did not stand up for someone or something out of fear. Now I feel as you do and will not be silenced. What a great post. I am sharing.

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  • Dani, I appreciate your comment and encouragement. And, yes, at times silence may be appropriate, but that incident wasn’t one of them. I wouldn’t be silent now, but I wonder if speaking out at that time might have made a difference.

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  • Beautifully written Melody. You have addressed matters that concern a great number of us including religious freedoms versus fanatical idiocies, which are separated by a very thin line that keeps the two from merging. I believe the word acceptance is key … right after the love your neighbor instruction given to us by Our Lord. This is a time for retrospective searching which is desperately needed in this country. Tolerance for all versus “Just tolerate me Y’all!” Too many people have become selfish and hide the love in their hearts because to them … it is easier to hate than to become one with The Collective Universe. 😀

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    • Theresa, thank you. If we could all open our hearts and our minds and let go of our negativity, perhaps Christianity could get back to its beginnings. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers whether that sits well with us or not. It would be a worthy goal to strive to achieve.

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  • Thanks for writing this Melody. I find it interesting how the infusion of (atheist) Ayn Rand’s teaching of selfishness has permeated the Christian religion. “Why should I give money to help deadbeats?” they ask. I want MY money to only go to people I approve of.

    It seems to me that Jesus was supposed to be this person who had compassion for everyone and left judgement up to a higher power.

    I guess the plastic tumblers of Ayn Rand Kool-aid were tall and refreshing, because I don’t see much of the compassion that Christians are supposed to stand for being bestowed upon the needy or different.

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    • Dan, it’s funny you should leave this comment now, especially the part about compassion. I was just having a telephone discussion with a friend which prompted me to Google information about the church’s treatment of a splinter group of Christians during the 13th Century. Over a period of time, the church slaughtered Half A Million Cathars and eventually wiped them off the face of the Earth for having a different religious POV. How’s that for compassion for the different?

      Something tells me Jesus wouldn’t be too happy about this treatment of his children. And as for Ayn Rand, her books are the kind of thing you read in your 20s and then get over. Guess Paul Ryan didn’t get the memo. But then, there are a lot of things Lyin’ Ryan doesn’t get.

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