Sunday, December 22, 2019

Things That Christianity Was Okay With

The Orator, by Magnus Zeller (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

     Like you, I am shocked, shocked at Evangelical Christianity's continued support of Donald Trump, in apparent contravention of almost every bedrock belief they otherwise claim to hold dear and demand other, non-Trump individuals rigorously adhere to. A puzzling departure from their supposed values, which the sharply-worded condemnation of Trump by Christianity Today last week is more the exception that proves the rule. A yelp of dissent interrupts the steady ululating of praise for the beloved leader, himself Christlike in their eyes. "The chosen one," as Rick Perry called Trump, half Peter, half Obi-Wan Kenobi.
     Although. I can't help but wonder: how much of a surprise should this really be? Is Christian support of our craven, cruel corrupt, criminal—and those are just the Cs—president really such a departure? Not when we think of American history, which does serve as a reality check to those who pause to consult it. Look at history, and suddenly this becomes, not an exception, but par for the course.
     The liar, bully, fraud and newly-impeached traitor who leads our country is not the first shameful enormity that official Christendom has given its enthusiastic approval. 
     A partial, utterly deniable list of Things that Christianity Was Okay With, culled from American history:

      The slaughter of Native-Americans.
      The enslavement of black people. 
      The subjugation of women.
      Irrational hatred toward immigrants.
      Anti-Semitism in all forms.
      Colonialist conquest of weaker nations.
      Indifference in the face of suffering of non-white groups.
      Denial of science.
      Ridicule of religions other than Christianity. 
      Censorship of literature.
      Suppression of the arts.
      Sexual ignorance.
      Thwarting efforts of black people to achieve civil rights.
      Fighting their attempts to live in white communities.
      Denying them the chance to work at good jobs.
      Squelching of advances in medicine.
      Control of women's reproductive rights.
      A grim, joyless view of sex, often for themselves but especially for others. 
      Aversion to dancing, and many kinds of music.
      Hostility toward gays.
      And toward lesbians, transgender folks, and anyone straying from rigid gender norms.
      Hostility toward any non-Christian religion, particularly Islam.
      Rejection of anything that smacks of magic, spiritualism, or any myth other than Christian myth. 
       America as an inclusive society. 

     I'm sure I've left a few out. Since I can hear the howl before it goes up, I should point out that a) there always was, like Christianity Today, a small element of dissent, like the abolitionist movement, that shouldn't be forgotten, and b) my own team, Judaism, certainly has its share of stunning moral lapses, lack of sympathy toward the plight of the Palestinians leaping to mind. 
     Neither of which, however, alters my main point one iota, so don't pretend they do. 
    
    

7 comments:

  1. The heart of Christianity is altruism and self-sacrifice, which is admirable. It's rooted in the concept of martyrdom, which is of course at the core of the religion's mythos.

    The problem comes when Christians want the prestige and sympathy of martyrdom without, you know, the actual suffering. That's why so many Christians perpetually portray themselves as persecuted outcasts, no matter how much political or other worldly power they amass.

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  2. I hope the vitriol that is.coming, at the least, is entertaining and comical. The torches and pitchforks of those staunchly (and falsely) proclaiming Christianity display an ignorance and arrogance that can be as funny as it is scary.

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  3. Sadly, spot on. Utterly UNdeniable.

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  4. Long before George Carlin's routine, Jesus consolidated ten commandments into two. The Second being to love your neighbor like yourself. At times that meant torturing and killing them into belief in God, which was the First Commandment. Because you loved them. Christianity has always been a religion ready to make excuses. For Jesus when he didn't answer your prayers; It's a mystery they'd say. For themselves when they decided their interest were more important than their faith. I love them, But.....there are a lot of Buts in Christianity.

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  5. Rock on, Neill.

    Oh and I should have said this sooner, but I was sorry to hear that Mosaic will not continue. I enjoyed the articles you wrote for that publication.

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  6. You've listed many of the reasons that lead to me, having been raised by a fervently Catholic mother, and even having once been an altar boy, not practicing any sort of Christian ritual since about age 16.

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