“For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. (Romans 16:18)
Okay, so I have avoided religion in these blogs but some elements of our society seem hell bent on tearing down our hard won blood spilled fights for democracy in the name of God. People, it is wrong to use an argument by God to spread hate, create violence and undermine peace. You may be able to get away with it on FOX News or the Drudge Report, because you are selling advertising for stirring up an audience, but you are wrong.
“If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20)
What do these folks do spending all of this time in church and prayer if not reading the Good Book? Do you really think that if Jesus came back today he would live in gated communities and give money to hate groups and politicians for buying out the next round of judges? If it weren’t so insane, it would be comical -- of which, Jon Steward figured out a decade ago. In the name of God, false prophets spewing hate are wolves in sheep’s’ clothing. Does anyone really think that Jesus would want a bakery to not serve someone, close down and get hundreds of thousands of dollars because they discriminated against someone?
“Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?” (Romans 2:3)
Politicians weren’t elected to create classes of people by biased attacks in God’s name. Can’t you just see Jesus at the last supper talking about Hobby Lobby and worrying that they were not allowed to discriminate? Are you kidding me? Jesus would likely blow through the aisles of such a joint screaming blasphemy as he once did in a market of much less means. Jesus doesn’t want us to create hate ads on TV and use puppet politicians to cause a movement of bigotry and bias. He said it in black and white --- those folks will not escape the judgment of God.
“You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:7-9)
You angry governors of Indiana, Arkansas and Louisiana, you can’t have it both ways – you cannot try to scare up votes with pseudo religious hogwash to get elected by the most frightened segments of our society and tell people that you are praying that our country is saved from these…homosexuals? Do you realize that we have systematically undone providing knowledge to advance our lot, that in a slap to Jesus we have turned away the sick, the elderly and the lame? Read the Bible, you governors who have switched religions when convenient, divorced your wives or run around on them and even sent yourselves to jail – all the while pressing the Bible tightly for the TV close up on your pious selves.
I worked for a man who many religious speaking politicians ridicule. Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn were hammered for wanting Peace in the Middle East. They were the subject of spite by smug ideologues who would use God and Jesus Christ as a front to proclaim that we needed a faith President. These folks still do the work of the Lord with the poor, the homeless and the needy, as they stand in the shadow of an America gone awry since they were turned away from office by the religious right and their political hooligans. The Carters are the true representation of America’s religious soul. They are Baptist and I grew up Catholic, but we both grew up with help your fellow man, live by the Golden Rule and practice acts of kindness to those unlike you. This is what being religious meant in a time when hate was not a religious weapon to gain power in America like we see today.
In fact, former President Carter, a longtime Sunday school teacher, is walking away from the Southern Baptists because of the church’s stance on equality for women. In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Carter says Southern Baptist leaders reading the Bible out of context led to the adoption of increasingly “rigid” views.
“I’m familiar with the verses they have quoted about wives being subjugated to their husbands,” he told the paper. “In my opinion, this is a distortion of the meaning of Scripture. … I personally feel the Bible says all people are equal in the eyes of God. I personally feel that women should play an absolutely equal role in service of Christ in the church.” Carter is more than right, his moral response is an example for all of us; don't allow the corruption of religion to take our nation and our spirituality with it. Our former president is a reminder that faith without honor and truth is hypocrisy, the greatest threat to your religion and to our country. Our country has demonstrated why we separate church and state and not fall victim to thousands of years of secular religious wars that we continue to see raging across the Middle East.
“Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.” (1 John 2:9)
Let’s come out in the light and shed the veil of hypocrisy. Our very existence depends on us ridding society of the hate, the off color jokes, the racism, the bullying, the rampant insatiable consumer appetite which takes from mother earth without replenishing her natural reproductive processes. Don't feel intimidated that you as a person cannot rise up against this nastiness and tawdry behavior because you can say no, quit buying, turn away from fowl and hurtful commentary and show those who promote falsehoods in the name of God that they are the scourge of society and need to be the outcasts.
Let us take the lesson in 2 Timothy 3:5 when we get great advice from the Christian book.
“Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:5)