I remember the first time I realized that the god of the majority of American Christianity was basically racist. Someone dear to me was trying to make a case for Christian Zionism and as I stood in a dim lit hallway listening intensely, I felt this sort of - what the fuck, are you actually being serious right now – type of confusion.
With no hesitation and I’m sure no chill, I responded with a couple of blunt but serious questions: “Are you telling me that God cares for one group of people more than others based on their blood line? Well how pure does one’s blood have to be at this point to be part of this group of chosen ones? Wow, so what you're telling me is that God is prejudice based on factors completely out of our control?” By the end of the conversation after my fiery disposition had wound down, I had come to a new conclusion which I calmly expressed, “If the Christian god is essentially racist, then I have no interest in your god.” It wasn’t a declaration of atheism as much of a declaration against the idea that God could be a bigot.
At the time, I was deeply lacking in my understanding of the way of Jesus, for all I knew - he was also a raging bigot. Eventually, I had a major paradigm shift as I discovered that the Jesus of the red letters was vastly different than what I saw in American Christianity. This Jesus wasn’t a religion, this Jesus is love. They were wrong as was I.
With our lovely regime change, it’s hard to deny the vibrant threads of prejudice strung throughout American Christianity. These days they are loudly pervasive like hot pink strands woven into white cloth. Strands that if you look, you will find have been deeply intertwined in the culture of America since the founding of our self-proclaimed Christian nation.
I taught American history for a while and it often felt as if we were looking at a constant flow of outrageous bigotry by the hands of white American Christians who held themselves as superior in their entitled sense of manifest destiny, this deep belief that white Christians were sent by God to convert and civilize the “savage” world of the “other.” From the mass genocide of Native Americans, to slavery, to constant restrictions of various groups of immigrants, to turning our backs on the Jewish people fleeing genocide, to turning our backs on the Syrian people fleeing genocide – this Christian nation holds the clear belief that race, nationality, religion, and far more is a basis as to how people deserve to be treated - their worthiness of our love. It shouldn’t be surprising that our level of empathy and concern tends to decrease drastically as skin tone darkens.
When a white Christian is killed, we demand justice and are boldly outspoken in our outrage. But what about when a black Christian is killed? What about when a Muslim is killed? Nothing. Silence or even worse - a gross rationalization in attempt to convert the victim into the villain.
Recently there was some major drama over some rather disturbing, but fake, photos of Kathy Griffin. When it all went down I found it interesting that I saw a stream of outraged Christians flood the internet with the injustice that had occurred, I mean Trump's kid saw the pictures which rightfully upset him.
So here is my question, why is this incident more outrageous than the hundreds if not thousands of pictures of dead Syrian children – you know the ones these same outraged Christians refuse refuge to?
What about the video after video we see of flagrant police brutality and murder of our black neighbors? In those cases we see white Christians actually defend the murder while crying their “all lives matter” crap in complete ignorance to the reality of their own racist mentality.
What about the constant flow of outspoken verbal and financial support of an oppressive nation that imprisons, tortures, and murders children on the regular? Oh wait, I forgot, they are chosen by the god of American Christians so their inhumane acts are not only condoned but also financed.
Let’s be real American Christians, where is your savior in all of this? Jesus didn’t say love those who love you or greet only your brothers, those who look, speak, and believe as you do – yet this is what we see blatantly and repeatedly in American Christianity.
Jesus’ great command was to love our neighbor as ourselves. To prevent the self-serving assumption that this simply meant loving our own people – those we like and understand - he directly specified that our neighbor includes our enemy. We are to love our enemy as much as we love ourselves - so a lot. This command, along with the command to love God, are the greatest. His words not mine. The GREATEST. How the hell was that missed?
Seriously, it sucks that the damage being done globally is not even realized, hearts are hard and eyes are closed. It sucks to repeatedly watch the name of Jesus - whose entire teachings revolved around sacrificial love – be used to deliberately hurt others in an attempt to meet a delusion of self-preservation. It sucks how miserable it must be to be a whitewashed tomb, missing the entire point of Jesus, missing love.
Maybe I’m wrong, I’m not a theologian, I don’t have all of the answers. However and thankfully, regardless of if I’m dead wrong, I wouldn’t change a thing. I would still want to live a life trying to follow the red letters. If the god who American Christianity claims is as racist as many of his followers, then I have no interested in following that god. You see, the thing is, I’m okay with being wrong - I’m not okay with living a life being egocentrically unloving.