Did Donald Trump place a curse on the new aircraft carrier when he ‘blessed’ it? For too long now, the so called Christians supporting Trump and conservative Republican policies received the due deference we entitle religious believers. Time to end this charade. How can a group proclaim their belief in Jesus Christ as their savior while condemning the very policies the man advocated?
Not a believer, yet I am very aware of the religions of the Bible. The Jews developed a history of questioning, challenging authority and establishing the rule of law. Jesus challenged his followers to love and care for one another and Muhammad preached equality before god. Not a single founder of these religions demanded that the status quo be maintained. The law, women and the poor mattered and they must be treated well is the basic message of the books.
Only after a leader’s passing did the structure and hierarchy begin to be layered over their message as the religion took shape. Similar to military regulations, religious extremists can find some words or interpretation of sacred readings to justify nearly any action. The religion appears irrelevant. Very devout Aztecs ripped hearts out of living victims and equally devout Christian priests and government officials did even worse by devising slow, deliberate torture before killing their victims. Now, United States Christians seem to have joined the ranks of those mislead zealots for whom no deed is too heinous in service to their prejudice.
Fake Christians proclaim the virtues of Donald Trump’s America First anti-immigrant policies and justify slashing the nation’s ‘barely there’ safety net. The results are indisputable: denying healthcare to many, taking food from the mouths of children and fattening the wealthy. Literally, these policies deny the core message of Christianity. Actions and beliefs supporting policies and people like this have lost every claim to be following Jesus. The Taliban and Saudi’s Wahhabis pretend to follow Islam; yet, they shun the message of the Prophet Muhammad. Today, Fake Christians follow a similar path but, while they may devoutly believe in something, it most certainly is not Christianity.
Conservative friends constantly ask why real Muslims do not condemn loudly the terrorists attempting to hijack Islam. They ignore, or will not acknowledge, the constant condemnation of these terrorists from every sector of the Muslim world. Now, it appears that Christians have that proverbial mote in their own eye.
Actual Christian leaders should be standing up and condemning Donald Trump and his conservative policies for being not remotely Christian. The Nuns on the Bus group of Catholic sisters first spoke out loud and clear about Christian duty and our responsibility to each other. At the community level, I see religious priests and believers of all denominations trying desperately to give voice to their belief in the real message of Jesus in the face of government preaching the old heresy of wealth indicating virtue.
Consider the words of Pope Francis to the to the 10th General Assembly of the World Council of Churches, Oct. 4, 2013:
We are called to reach out to those who find themselves in the existential peripheries of our societies and to show particular solidarity with the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters: the poor, the disabled, the unborn and the sick, migrants and refugees, the elderly and the young who lack employment.
Jesus believing Christians are joined in the streets by leaders of Muslim, Jewish and no faiths. But missing are the big names in the US church hierarchies. They appear satisfied that Jesus’ (and Muhammad’s) message of equality before god is dissected into equal except for the poor, the female, the outcast, the gay. Fake Christians long ago learned that selective outrage works better than attacking ‘love one another’ head on. When segregation was a national issue, fake Christians opposed interracial marriage. In rotten corners of US Christianity, some may still preach that ‘God’ was responsible for the races and mixing them is against god. After all, it was not until the year 2000 that Bob Jones University lifted its ban on interracial dating.
Why is an atheist, or at least a very devout agnostic, addressing Christianity in the United States? Because there are many serious and devout Christians doing incredible work in our communities and actually following the message of Jesus. These everyday heroes are under assault by religious extremists posing as Christians. It is past time that all citizens meet and praise the real religious people and their leaders. Nationally recognized Christian leadership is horribly silent, hunkered in their pulpits saying little. Jesus would not be proud.