Don’t use your religion to serve as an excuse for your prejudices.
Staff Love Promoter
To many, I am a paradox. I am a Christian; I am a Democrat. Many people often think these titles do not mix. My faith has defined me as a person. It has taught me how to live my life, how to be a moral person. It has informed my career choice.
Christianity is a religion of love and caring; it has taught me how to be a good and moral person. It has instilled in me specific virtues, most importantly to love others, regardless of any differences. I do not hate other people, or at the very least I try not to hate other people. Yet when I see what some other people who claim to be Christian say, I wonder if we are even part of the same religion, are we even reading the same book, doing the same prayers, believing the same tenants? When I check the news and see a man who previously preached the love of God, holding a sign that condemns others’ sexuality with lude terms, I deeply question my own faith.
Why is this religion of love I follow used to justify so much hate? Christianity was a very progressive religion for its time. It has been and still is one of the dominant religions in the world. Yet, in the beginning, in the early days of the church, we were heavily persecuted. However throughout history when Christianity gained power, we became the persecutors. I hate this undeniable fact. We were never meant to be this way; it is entirely un-Christian. Now, I know that many Christians will be accused of hateful beliefs for some of Christianity’s more conservative teachings. My message is not simply for conservative Christians (although still read this) but for those who use my and corrupt my religion for their backward ways, for their vile and hate filled messages and actions.
There is so much hatred and prejudice in this great country, and a lot of it seems to stem from my religion. It is used as a justification, spawning many vile beliefs and actions and much prejudice and hate. Most of the time, I wonder if we are reading the same Bible, especially when you have passages from say the Book of Proverbs. This scripture reads, “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” (Proverbs 10:12), or from the Gospel of Luke, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31), and most importantly, one of Jesus’ key commandments, “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31). All of these teachings are seemingly ignored. If we are reading the same passages, the same words, how can we not be learning the same messages? Where is this love that so many self-identified Christians supposedly have? We learned to love others completely and above all and over every other commandment or belief that God gave us.
Directly from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans in which he quotes from the Old Testament, this sentiment is expressed: “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:8-10). Even in the beginning eras of the church, this was an understood idea, yet it seemed to have vanished. People seemingly ignore this tenant of the Bible. There are organizations such as the Westboro Baptist Church committing horrible deeds, using Christianity as a justification. This congregation has said many horrible things about so many people. They have even regarded my own denomination as a “dead church.”
I have seen people deem women lesser than men, spouting sexist beliefs, claiming accordance with the faith. Yet, these sexist beliefs ignore the fact that historically, Christianity only survived in the beginning thanks to the female congregation. Christianity should not be used for a sexist agenda. I have seen people stand in front of crowd, exclaiming that every gay person is damned to hell. The funny thing is that we are not supposed do that: judge others. There is only one who can judge others, above all else, and that is God. No one can damn others to Hell; that is not what Christianity is about.
Now I am probably going to be called a selective Christian, one who picks and chooses the messages he wants and does not follow the full law. Yes, I guess I might be, but who isn’t? Do you not do the same, do you not ignore parts of the Bible, and interpret it to how you want it? The Bible is meant to provide rules and morals not meant to be taken one hundred percent for fact. I believe in evolution, I believe the universe was started by the Big Bang Theory, and I believe that the world and humanity was not created in seven days—all this contrary to what the Book of Genesis tells us. Those stories were written in order to give people a basic idea that God created the world and our stake in it, yet so many still take these stories as fact. Christianity does not make people have backward beliefs. People who have backward beliefs merely interpret Christian teachings differently. Everyone picks and chooses what they want; the Bible is meant to be interpreted in many ways. However, many theists have chosen the parts of the Bible which back up their own already prejudice filled beliefs.
Christianity at its core is a religion of love. Christianity does not teach homophobic, sexist, or racist dogma. Call me a selective Christian, call me whatever you want. I am not a bigot; I despise prejudice. I love other people, and I understand that my faith is not everyone’s faith. What right do I have to impose my beliefs on others? We are supposed to lead by example, to be good people, to preach love. We started out being persecuted, so why have we become the persecutors? You’re not being religious. You’re not being loving. You’re being a hateful bigot. I do not hate these people; I pity their misguidance. Yet, they give my religion a bad name.
I am scared to claim Christianity in front of others. Your bastardization of my religion is giving me a bad name. Stop using my faith to justify your prejudice. As I end this, I would like to include my favorite verse from the Bible, “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” (1 Corinthians 13:2-8).