I wonder if Jesus was ever too angry for words. His approach seemed to be to weep…as he wept over Jerusalem. He had more grace than I do.
I am beyond being angry. I am beyond being pissed. There are no words strong enough to describe my current feelings.
I am a follower of the One called Jesus…who spent much of his ministry among the marginalized, the outcasts, the vulnerable and who reserved his harshest words for those religious leaders who placed severe burdens on those who were already struggling. Today I see far too many who claim the name of “Christian” making statements and supporting activities that are in direct contradiction to what Jesus did and what he called his followers to do and say.
White supremacy is alive and well in the United States—and becoming more rooted in our society. It is not hard to see, if we are willing to really look.
I see people of color—especially young men of color—dreading any interaction with police, fearing (with reason) that those interactions may result in them being abused, arrested, tazed, pepper-sprayed, or killed…regardless of the severity of the offense or whether they are obeying the police commands. Any and every poor choice they may have made in the past becomes a reason why they “deserved” what happened to them, regardless of who they are now. And instead of empathizing with the pain and heartache of them and their families, far too many “Christians” pile more pain on them because of their willingness to believe the worst.
At the same time, far too often young white men who have interactions with police are treated very differently. Some who have been involved in mass shootings have been treated respectfully as they were captured—even provided with breakfast before being taken to the police station. Young white men have pulled guns on police and yet have survived, as the police seem to do all they can to de-escalate the situation…in sad contrast to many interactions with people of color, where the immediate “go-to” seems to be to shoot.
Members of the LGBTQ+ communities continue to fear for their futures. In many states, they can be fired or evicted simply because of who they are or who they love. They are often still subject to “conversion therapy” in an attempt to change who they are. Many churches that worship Jesus—the One who spent time with the marginalized and vulnerable—refuse to allow those same marginalized and vulnerable to be full members unless they change who they are.
At a time when there are many children waiting for forever homes, members of the LGBTQ+ communities are often not allowed to even be considered as adoptive parents…and that rejection frequently occurs in organizations that are faith-based…that worship the Jesus who called his followers to protect and support children.
Transgender children are being especially targeted. There are literally hundreds of bills that would marginalize them. Some would require genital examination before allowing them to play sports—state-sanctioned sexual abuse. Others would penalize parents who support their children in their struggle to become who they know they are, allowing their children to be taken from them if they continue to support them in their medical and psychological journeys.
Many legislators are also demanding that women turn over their bodily autonomy to the state, rather than making difficult decisions about pregnancy and birth with their significant other and their doctor. Some have even promoted bills that would criminalize those who perform and those who receive abortions…including making them vulnerable to the death penalty.
Immigrants are being targeted, seen as the worst of the worst rather than as brothers and sisters who are seeking a better life for themselves and their children. Too many “Christian” legislators demonize them and focus on ways to build walls rather than bridges.
And far too many who claim the name of “Christian” continue to believe and promote lies surrounding our recent election…and support ways of disenfranchising voters instead of making it easier for people to vote and support democracy.
I believe that all of these words and actions are blasphemy. Harsh words, yes…but I believe that if Jesus were walking the earth today, he would be appalled at what is happening in his name. This is all happening from those who claim to follow the One who said “I am the Truth…”
These words and actions are also why I struggle with identifying myself as “Christian.” I still believe in…follow…and hopefully minister according to the example of Jesus, but I cannot in good conscience identify myself as “Christian” to those who have been abused and demonized instead of being told that they are beloved children of God and my brothers and sisters.
May God forgive us.