Friday, February 24, 2017

Christians Filled With Hate and Fear

Recently, I engaged in several online conversations with people who called themselves Christian. Some are disgusted at the current administration, with their fear mongering and disrespect directed against many groups of people. Far more though, are fine with the hate and fear and are quick to lash out against those who believe differently than they do.
It is interesting how so many so-called Christians abandon their values when they want to spew hate, bash liberals, Muslims, Mexicans, and anyone else different than them. These people, who conveniently invoke those alleged values when it suits them, are the first to start slinging mud, name call, and spit venom when arguing. When you ask them how their so-called Christian beliefs allow them to behave that way, they just ramp up the hate.
Not all Republicans or conservatives are hate mongers; however, it appears that a significant number of them have been closet racists and haters for years. They now seem to feel that with the current administration promoting hate and fear, it's okay to reveal their true feelings – Christian values be damned.
The Washington Post's Katrina vanden Heuvel wrote in July 2016 that Trump lied regarding a Dallas, Texas shooting, "… so his followers can stay afraid and angry at the people he wants them to fear and hate."
"… the people he wants them to fear and hate," indicating, of course, that those hate-filled conservatives lack the ability to think for themselves. That leads to the clever: "WE WON, SCREW YOU, GET OVER IT! YOU'RE STUPID!" taunt that we see and hear so often.
One such person tried to goad me on Twitter, referring to the Republican Party and the new administration: "Why do you hate them? Do you hate them because they won?"
What this person fails to understand is that I don't hate them. I recognize a significant difference between hate, dislike and disrespect. That is him projecting his ignorance on me. He, and many others just like him, fail to understand that the difference exists. They fail and/or refuse to realize that most Liberals can argue without hate, while those narrow-minded conservatives have no such ability (note I did not say 'all' conservatives). That they don't get this, is directly attributable to their lack of ability to be open-minded.
Perhaps dictionary definitions of 'Liberal' are useful here.
The Harcourt Brace School Dictionary: "Not narrow-minded or prejudiced; tolerant; broad," and, "a person who favors progress or reform."
Merriam-Webster: "broad-minded… not bound by authoritarianism."
English Oxford Living Dictionaries: "Willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one's own; open to new ideas," and "Favourable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms." (English dictionary – English spellings).
It was sad and telling one recent day to watch someone who calls herself Christian – someone I know personally - abandon and/or ignore her supposed religious beliefs long enough to denounce Liberals, spew hate against Muslims, and several other groups she does not like. She smugly lashed out at me and other Liberals, telling me in no uncertain terms how stupid I am to believe that our new administration is flawed and in fact, dangerous.
Clearly, she feels it's okay to be a part time Christian, as long as she brings it back to piousness in time for church next Sunday. Apparently, she decided that God is okay with her behavior if it supports her hysterical fear. I guess at least for her, God was looking the other way when she was attacking others on Facebook.
I wonder what she tells God about her behavior? How does she reconcile the hate, intolerance, and disrespect for all others who do not believe exactly what she believes, or are otherwise different than she is?
She seems to think it is her God-given right to lash out against anything and everything she hates or does not understand (she won't admit the second part). In her opinion, God is fine with the hate.
Bruce Bartlett of the The New York Times wrote in July 2016, "The Republican Party today is basically a coalition of grievances united by one thing: hatred."
"It is, however, clear," wrote Daniel Denvir of Salon.com in November 2015 in a story titled 'The Republican Party is now America's largest hate group', "that leading Republicans have engaged in extraordinarily racist and xenophobic rhetoric that incites and legitimates vigilante violence."
The typical conservative response to those quotes goes like this: "Liberals are so stupid. We won! Get over it, snowflake!"
That pattern has become quite clear. Again, obviously, hate consumed conservatives figure God isn't watching when they slam a liberal on Facebook, spit slime at someone opposed to the Musim ban on Twitter, or bellow the erroneous notion that unless we build a wall, terrorists in huge numbers will invade the United States. This is not an isolated problem – it happens daily on social media and elsewhere.
So, the big question is: what is it about your beliefs, your religion, or your God that makes it okay for you to behave like an asshole? Does God give you a pass as long as you're attacking Liberals?
"Did you hate today?" says God.
"Well, only at Liberals, Muslims, LGBT's, and people of color," says you.
"Oh, well then. We're good," says God.
Is that how it works? Is God on your side because you call yourself evangelical, and you back it up by attacking everything and everyone you don't understand? Do you get that you voted into power the least Christian person we have ever seen in the White House?
An intelligent friend recently addressed this problem. She told me:
"Christians are commanded by Christ - the highest authority - therefore this should be a natural outpouring of love and obedience. That it is not, for many, is concerning."
The same friend posted the link to this article: 'Dear Fellow Christians: It's Time to Speak Up for Refugees', by Ed Stetzer.
Stetzer wrote: "There is no more critical time than now for God’s people to instead turn towards the helpless, the homeless, the broken, with open arms and hearts, ready to pour out every ounce of love we can muster."
This friend then posted in response to an article on the refugee problem:
"We can imitate God’s costly compassion by serving the orphan, the widow, and the refugee because Christ purchased an indestructible treasure for us in heaven beyond anything we might risk losing in the vapor of this life (Matthew 6:19–20)."
"God is not fine with hate," said another friend. "This is not what we are taught."
"How do you explain it?" I asked.
"I can't," he said, shaking his head. "This hate and fear goes against everything we who call ourselves Christian stand for. Eventually, intelligence will prevail."
"We're not all stupid," said another conservative friend. "Then again, these right wing nut jobs really are making the rest of us – real Christians – look bad."
They are proving what Denvir wrote, 'The Republican Party is now America's largest hate group.'
Are you a part of this? At what point do you begin to behave like a true Christian? Or are you just a pretend Christian, filled with hate and fear, like so many I have recently encountered?
Larry Manch is an author, teacher, guitar player, freelance writer, and columnist. His books include: 'Twisted Logic: 50 Edgy Flash Fiction Stories', 'The Toughest Hundred Dollars & Other Rock & Roll Stories', 'A Sports Junkie', 'The Avery Appointment', 'Between the Fuzzy Parts'. His books are available in paperback and e-book.
                                    
He also writes about sports for Season Tickets, food and travel on Miles & Meals, and music/guitars on The Backbeat.

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