From the blog Jack’s Winning Words comes this timely quote –
“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.” (Jonathan Swift)
I say timely because of the recent headlines about the hate that is being disguised as religious freedom in several states. There’s nothing that illustrates this little quote more than a bunch of good-ole, bible-thumping, conservative white guys in positions to create laws for the rest of us. They haven’t got enough love to really be called Christians, but they cloak themselves in that title anyway and then proceed to try to legislate life for those “who aren’t like us.”
Much of religion as practiced today by those of good-ole, bible-thumping, conservative white guys is highly hypocritical, espousing the moral high ground while occupying the lowlands of hate, discrimination and exclusion. Leonard Pitts Jr. wrote a good editorial on the recent spate of so-called religious freedom laws that have been passed in several states lately by their good-ole white guys legislatures. You can read it at – http://www.freep.com/story/opinion/contributors/2015/04/02/indiana-gay-rights/70830076/
His headline is Faith of force and exclusion not the only faith there is. He writes that there was even a law proposed by Sylvia Allen, a conservative female lawmaker out in Arizona, to require church attendance as a way, she thought, to reverse the moral decline that she see in America.
The hypocrisy does not stop at our own doorstep. Many of these same politicians puff themselves up and rail against the atrocities that they see being committed elsewhere in the world in the name of religion; while turning a blind eye to their own human rights
transgressions here at home. The simple fact is that all who trample on others or who promote hate, discrimination and intolerance in the name of their religion are wrong. They fail that simple little test that you see from time to time on those brightly-colored, rubber wrist bands that have WWJD on them. If they really believe that Jesus would refuse to serve at a wedding because the couple being married are members of GLBT community then they have failed to understand the teachings of the very bible that they have been thumping all the while. BUT, they spit out in vile retort – “they’re not like us.” To which those on the receiving end might best reply – “thank God for that!”
Having been founded by people who fled to its shores to escape religious persecution, the drafters of America’s founding documents – the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution – went to great pains to craft an environment of principles, rights and laws that insured that religion would not again be used by government against its own citizens. Government officials in several states seem to be trying to circumvent those founding intents. Many say that they are trying to return to “old values.” Perhaps they have overshot the mark a bit and returned all the way to the old values that were being imposed on those who sought refuge through escape to what became America. How ironic that they do not see the similarities in the discrimination that they are now trying to foist upon the citizens in the name of religion.
It is also telling about today’s America that economics seems to have a stronger role to play than the religious beliefs of those same legislators. Faced with economic boycotts over their new laws all are trying to backpedal on those laws as fast as they can, all the while defending their positions as defenders of the moral high ground. I’m reminded of the segregationist holdouts in the South during the civil rights movement, the face of which was embodied in George Wallace standing on the steps of a school to deny entry to African-American children. Many of them thumped their bibles and claimed to have some moral right to discriminate against blacks. While most of those angry, good-ole, white guys have passed on; their progeny now stand on the steps of their own fortresses (apparently bakeries and flower shops, now) thumping their bibles and claiming the right to discriminate against a new group of people.
In two days we celebrate the defeat of death for us all by Jesus; perhaps sometime in our lifetimes we will gather to celebrate the defeat of exclusion and discrimination and the victory of love over hate. Maybe not this year; but, we can keep hope alive. WWJD? I think he would have vetoed those laws had he been the governor in any of those states. They certainly have no place in His world or His book. Celebrate the rise of the Son by embracing those around you who are different than us, rather than finding ways to hate them.