The Gloves Are Off
Christians are destroying the fabric of our society. Just listen to Ann Coulter spew her hatred toward the widows of 9/11, Pat Robertson call for the assassination of a foreign leader, Jerry Falwell blame feminists and gays for 9/11 and it becomes very clear that Christian activists are using God to spread hate and create divisions that serve their narrow personal agendas at the expense of American society.
We have worked long and hard in this country to overcome our fears and bigotry and have even taken great steps, like amending our constitution, to better reflect our values as an open, free and fair democracy. To paraphrase Maya Angelou, when we knew better, we did better. We righted the wrong of slavery, we righted the wrong of excluding blacks and women from voting, we even tried to help desegregation along by bussing students and providing guidelines for college admissions and hiring practices. Now, because right-wing Christians were unable to stop this progress all along the way, they have found in George W. Bush an ally that will help them turn back time and roll back the hard fought progress we’ve made.
Make no mistake, it was Christians that killed “witches” in Salem, it was Christians that walked around in white robes and hoods while they lynched black men and burned down their homes, it is Christians that are willing to kill abortion doctors in an effort to get the rest of us under their God’s thumb and it is Christians that are continuing every day to promote homophobia that contributes to the violence toward, and discrimination of, gay people. Perhaps religious tolerance has outlived its usefulness in this country.
Christians are, by the millions, enjoying books that describe in gory detail the torture and annihilation of us non-believers and now they are set to unleash video games for their youth that will provide them the opportunity to live in a virtual world where killing non-believers on the streets of New York will make them winners. This scares the crap out of me because Christians already believe fantastic things that defy logic, how can we be assured that these Christian youth will be able to make the distinction between the fantasy game on their X-box and the world outside their window? Where is all the Christian outrage about violence on this one? Or are they hypocrites that find violence in the name of God laudable?
Why am I supposed to have tolerance for them when they have none for the rest of us? I’m all for a “live and let live” society within the parameters set by law, but all groups, Christians included, must abide by that same principle in order for it to work. But we all know that far too many of them don’t, and their religious freedom is impinging on the constitutional rights of others, surely our founding fathers would be appalled.
We have a very vocal minority in this country that is hell bent on creating a society that is divided, angry and hostile toward progress. Christians are the most dangerous special interest group that is currently lobbying our elected leaders and they have degraded our public discourse and torn apart the complicated yet beautiful patchwork of diverse interests and needs that has served us well. They are contributing to the dumbing down of our society by promoting creationism in our schools, ridiculing science and by forcing their black and white views on a world of grays.
Christianity is too often used to promote a narrow worldview that cannot be squared with the complicated prospect of dealing effectively with globalization, geo-political conflicts and an increasingly diverse population. Nuance has become a bad word in politics, but it is most critical in governing to understand that complex problems can only be solved with nuanced solutions. These loudmouthed few have a disproportionate amount of influence on our political process and on the way the issues are debated. Tolerating the religious views of others, in private life is fine, but tolerating their religious views in matters of law and policy is a mistake that we will pay a very high price for.
Now certainly, not all Christians are bad, evil, bigoted people, it would be ridiculous for me to paint them all with the same brush, but Christians that continue to take a passive approach to dealing with their most vocal advocates are contributing to the problem, and by their silence are giving their consent. Those of us outside the church carry no influence with the Ann Coulters, Sam Brownbacks, Pat Robertsons, Bill O’Reillys and Jerry Falwells that speak so loudly on behalf of Christians. Only those within the church have any sway with them at all. Until Christians start speaking out en masse, the rest of us have no assurances that their religion has been hijacked for purposes they don’t support. In fact, their silence suggests the opposite, and these regressive bigots are furthering an agenda with broad Christian support. If that is not the case, by all means stand up, speak up and clear out the rubbish. For all of the damage that these loudmouthed hate mongers are doing to this country, they certainly aren’t doing real Christians any favors either.