Lowered expectations

I hold Christians to a very high standard, mainly because everything they do is a direct reflection on Christ and other people of faith. While it is tempting to lump all of them into one big category, I realize that Christians can be as varied as as the colors in a box of crayons. Some are as conservative as Rush Limbaugh, some are as liberal as Keith Olbermann, and most are somewhere in the middle.

It probably speaks to my own theological leanings that the more conservative members of faith are the ones that irk me the most, but it also seems that they are the least likely to think for themselves – or even think at all.

Honey started substitute teaching this week, so we celebrated his job change by visiting an amazing restaurant to celebrate. The nearby tables were host to a lively bunch that talked rather loudly and didn’t think twice about mixing two topics that are often considered off-limits at the dinner table – politics and religion.

Over and over I heard “Obama this” and “Obama that” and it was always negative. It seems like he is being blamed for everything that is wrong with this country, even though he hasn’t even been in office a full year. The political banter went on for quite some time, but the most ridiculous statement I heard came from an older gentleman who exclaimed that he was racist and becoming more so all the time. He seemed to take real pride in the fact.

Their racist conversation continued unabated for several minutes before the waitress arrived to box up their leftovers. She inquired about where they were from and they announced they were a church group from Tennessee. And for a brief moment, I was actually ashamed to share the same religion as these pathetic excuses for Christians.

The absurdity of it all reminded me of a conversation I read on Facebook recently. One of my friends posted a status update about Obama trying to convince lawmakers to include funding for abortion in his healthcare plan. “What if his mother had aborted him?” she asked. “She’d have done the world a favor” was the tasteless response that preceded a heated discussion that included such pearls of wisdom as “This will give sluts an excuse” and “Christians should stop paying taxes.”

When I explained that abortion is normally covered by health insurance plans, that Obama is pro-choice (not pro-abortion), and that our tax dollars have killed at least 750,000 people worldwide since 2002, I was assured that while abortion qualifies as murder, killing those we are at war with doesn’t. Interesting logic.

Sometimes I wonder if these people even read the Bible. How did they overlook the core tenets of Christianity like loving your enemies and praying for those who persecute you?

Jesus said the two most important commandments are to love God and love your neighbor. If we do those two things, everything else will fall into place. When someone takes pride in doing the opposite, they insult the One they claim to follow and they don’t deserve the title “Christian.”

‘Lake of Fire’

lakeoffireposterI just watched a very powerful documentary about abortion titled Lake of Fire. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen anything that moving and it’s going to take a while to digest it. If you think you know your personal position on abortion, take the time to watch it. I guarantee your views will be challenged.

Although I’ve always been mostly pro-choice, I will admit that watching actual procedures and seeing the mutilated fetuses made me question my own beliefs. In fact, my pro-choice point of view almost seems at odds with many of the other beliefs that I hold dear. Why is it that pro-lifers usually support the death penalty, while those who are pro-choice are often against it? Strange.

There were a couple of statements made in the film that really stuck with me. One was that abortion is a token issue for Republicans, much like Social Security is for Democrats. Republicans get elected because of their stance on abortion, so one commentator asked if Republicans would really want to see abortion abolished. What would that do for their political ambitions?

The other statement was one made by Cardinal Joseph Bernadine, who adopted a philosophy known as the “Seamless Garment of Life,” which “holds that issues such as abortion, capital punishment, militarism, euthanasia, social injustice and economic injustice all demand a consistent application of moral principles that value the sacredness of human life.”

There isn’t an easy answer for the important question of whether or not legal abortions should be provided, and this documentary doesn’t provide that answer, but it does give the viewer lots to think about.

Lest we forget

Television is enraptured with the legacy of Jerry Falwell (I refuse to call him “Rev.”). Every news channel is featuring the usual suspects extolling the virtues of this man who “created the Religious Right” and stood up for “morality”. One commentator even said that there would be thousands of people in heaven because of Falwell, but I wonder how many people have shunned Christianity and God because of him?

Here are some of the quotes made by this “man of God”, lest we forget:

I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.’ (referring to 9/11)

AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals.

Thank God for these gay demonstrators. If I didn’t have them, I’d have to invent them. They give me all the publicity I need.