Posted by: emjb | June 19, 2007

Meanwhile

I don’t seek out political discussions here in America’s Heartland, not because I don’t enjoy them, in principle, but because there’s a lot of God Gets Mad When You Question Things sentiment, which means “discussion” doesn’t really exist.

No matter where we start, even if we agree on things like “Iraq is a mess” or “It’s too hard for most people to make a living wage,” for the other person it usually comes back to this formula:

1. America is a Godly nation–therefore,
2. Questioning America is questioning God–therefore
3. There’s nothing we can do, and it’s wrong to show disrespect to the leaders of our Godly nation, so long as they talk about being Godly a whole whole lot.

The strangest thing about all of these ideas is that they are not so much from the Bible as from some strange mix of selected Bible verses and weird John Bircher theories that seem to be pouring from America’s pulpits more and more lately.

Not only is it nonsensical and scary, it’s not even Biblical. What it is is the strangely addictive desire so many people have to let other people walk all over them, instead of having to stand up for themselves. It’s so much easier, after all, to live in a dream world where your country is great and perfect and your leaders wiser and more deserving of power than you’ll ever be, and if all doesn’t go well, you can just shrug and say “God’s will.”

But whatever you think of God, it seems…odd…that He or She would tell us to accept leaders who lie, steal, hurt the poor, torture the imprisoned, spread war, and cause suffering to the sick. I mean, if you think the words of Jesus about casting anyone out of heaven who did those things have any weight.

The only way you can claim to hold on to Jesus and still support this administration are by:

1. Forgetting what the Bible actually said and letting other people twist it to say what you want to hear.
2. Living in denial about the truth of what Bush and co. are up to.
3. Somehow believing that Jesus cared more for submitting to authority than caring for the poor, sick and imprisoned. Despite the fact that he was constantly on the outs with Jewish leaders and was crucified for being a political renegade. If Jesus had done what so many of his followers do, he would have kissed up to the Pharisees and Romans and defended their actions, no matter how bad. He certainly wouldn’t have stopped them from stoning a woman or pointed out their hypocrisy in parables.

So what gives, Jesus people? Do you worship some twisted, corrupted, brutal version of America that lusts for power and doesn’t care about the suffering that lust brings about? Or do you worship the guy on the cross at the front of your churches? You know…the one who was always droning on and on about poor people, helping others, being humble?

Much more exciting, I suppose, to slobber over other people’s sex lives and blame the poor for their own suffering (especially if they’re brown and speak something besides English). I mean, that Jesus guy…he was always making us feel bad, talking about all that helping he wanted us to do. Whereas Pastor Jim Bob McHellfire is much more fun, shouting about sex and movies and Raptures and uppity women and brown people, all of whom we can look down on, because they’re going to Hell and we’re not. Nanny nanny boo boo.

Ok, that’s harsh. But not really far off the mark. Feeling superior to other people is addictive. I know, because I used to do it, used to revel in knowing I was one of the Chosen and I knew the secret, and hey, ain’t I wonderful.

It might be good if some Christians asked themselves, what if all this hysteria about gay people and brown people is just a dodge, just a way to work us up into a frenzy so that we don’t do anything useful with our beliefs? I mean, if you believe in the Devil…that’s a pretty good bait and switch. When you’re signing petitions that stop gay people from marrying and pretending you’ve done something important, you’re not feeding anybody, clothing anybody, or comforting anybody. You don’t have the time or the energy. Your dollars go to Jim Bob’s “ministry” to pay for his flights to Washington to eat lunch with the President to remind him to keep hating gay people.

Meanwhile, behind your beautiful church building, a man digs in the garbage for food, talking to the voices in his head that he can’t afford the medicine to cure.

Meanwhile, across town a single mom tries to tell herself it’s ok to leave her 9 year old and 3 year old home alone while she works, because she can’t afford daycare and she doesn’t want to end up on the street.

Meanwhile, a former street vendor who was turned in to US forces by a bounty hunter sits in Guantanamo Bay and wonders if he’ll ever see his family again, or even get the chance to defend his innocence against those who call him a terrorist.

Meanwhile, the world goes on suffering, and the churches go on not caring at all.

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Responses

  1. YES YES YES YES!!! MJ — this is beautiful and perfect and wonderful. You hit the nail on the head….AGAIN!


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