Persecuted Christians in America
I’m noticing something lately with the Christian church in America: American conservative Christians are feeling persecuted because people disagree with their stances enough to change laws and disregard their opinions on social matters. We might believe that Scripture is the inerrant word of God, but not everyone in America believes that no matter how much you think “We follow THE authority for life and everyone else should too.”
It really comes off like spoiled brats whining about not being able to get their way. So, let’s say you’re a conservative Christian who is socially more right-wing than centrist or left-wing politically. Got it? Okay.
Stop. You’re doing Christianity wrong.
You’re not supposed to be aligned to one political ideology or another. You’re not a better Christian because you are a Democrat or Republican. You’re supposed to be “above” politics (Mark 12:17). Voting to disenfranchise gay people from getting married isn’t your first mission. If you hold marriage at a higher value than someone’s human dignity under the law, you’re doing your salvation wrong (I Corinthians 13:1) and using the same Scriptures that people used to justify slavery, segregation, and anti-miscegenation laws. (No, really. Look it up.) Hoping that the Supreme Court dismantles affirmative action because you’re no longer the standard to which others are judged is not your first mission. Justifying not giving to the poor because it creates a dependency and won’t enable them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps is not your first mission. (It’s also very, very horrible and isn’t how you should treat the poor. James 1:27.)
“Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” “Love your neighbor as yourself. On these hang all the law and the prophets.” “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.” We’ve gotten off-base with our directives straight from the mouth of Jesus, Christians.
Western Christianity has largely turned into an idolatrous religion. We value our church bank accounts, church size (or reach/plants/campus) and memberships, being “right”, and political positions more than we care about each other or the unsaved. And this gets even worse when considering our relationship with Jesus. God is something we pay lip service to or think is ultimately okay and supremely happy with us putting his name in a pledge, on our money, or in a Ten Commandments monument and look to that as “why God blessed us as a nation”. He has indeed blessed the USA, but we’re not the only ones He’s blessing. (And a lot of our “blessings” look like family members dead, imprisoned, and oppressed in those “cursed” countries thanks to the dictators we installed. [And thinking about it some more: the Trail of Tears and Manifest Destiny seems less like a blessing and more like a cruel invention that we put God’s name on.]) We’ve never really had to suffer for our faith in the USA. (No, really. America as it exists today started with the Pilgrims making the rules and going on from there.)
What people should make fun of us for isn’t our overwhelming opposition to same-sex civil marriage (that has nothing to do with religious marriage) while having full-throated practical support for divorce, or “love the sinner, hate the sin” prideful crap that so many of us spew, or the pro-life movement (that somehow doesn’t value the life of someone on death row), or anything else political. No, they should be mocking us for believing in a God who created the universe in 7 days and came to live as a man who died for our sins and rose from the dead 3 days later and sits on the right hand of God on a throne in Heaven and indwells us as Christians through the Holy Spirit. Scientifically, logically, and rationally, that is utter absurdity, and THAT is what non-believers should make fun of us for.
Just because America is fed up with the hypocrisy and callous judgment the American Christian church has had for centuries doesn’t mean that you are persecuted Christians. Your religious liberties and beliefs neither hinge on being able to tell gay people that they’re disgusting fetid swamp scum buckets nor do they hinge on your being able to vote against anyone who doesn’t believe as you believe. If it REALLY comes down to that for you as a Christian, you’re doing Christianity wrong and we are indeed headed down a dark path where instead of being censored for your belief in a God who can save you from your sins, you’ll be censored, jailed, and maybe executed for something stupid like opposing gay people. (Hint: No one unsaved really believes that you have love in your heart for them while you hold them to an impossible standard for living or vote away their rights. It’s like a slave master who said he loved his slaves while keeping them barely clothed and malnourished. Do we believe he knows what love is or do we look at him like an insane person who is the epitome of evil?)
Go to China and Iran to see people actually DYING for their faith for simply being Jesus-lovers. ISIS is killing Christians simply for being Christian. THAT’S persecution. That’s making fun of someone’s beliefs enough to kill them for it. You’re not martyrs, American Christians. Not yet at least. If you’re going to be a martyr, at least be a martyr over Jesus and Jesus alone and not some offense shared because someone disagrees with you enough over one or three things to vote or legislate your views out of present culture. If you want someone to care about your faith’s fight to survive in the world, it would help tremendously if you were kind and tender-hearted at home first. Otherwise, they’ll just quietly (or loudly) champion your downfall.
I’m actually happy that conservative Christian’s feelings are getting hurt right now in America. Maybe now the church can get back to winning souls and leave behind this gross political entanglement that American Christianity has become (thanks to Jerry Falwell and everyone ever associated with the Religious Right/Moral Majority). After all, God has not given us a spirit of fear. Please stop saying that the country is doomed, in peril, lacking God, or somewhere you don’t want to be anymore. We’re in this together. Get back to work making the world better by souls being saved leading to changed lives. Jesus said, “They’ll hate you because of my name.” Not because of your stance on marriage equality, abortion, or anything else. His name alone. Give them something to hate you for that’s more powerful and loving than their hate. Get back to work the right way.