It’s not just the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys and Patriot Front anymore. Countless new social clubs and religious organizations are sprouting up across the country to follow their lead. Liars for the Lord. Creeps for Christianity. Be a Jerk for Jesus.
Obviously, fanatics to any cause, religious or not, can be bad for society, but presently in the U.S., it is fanatical Christians posing the biggest threat.
For Christians, there are two great commandments:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40, KJV)
That second commandment is important enough to repeat: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12, KJV)
While many Christians claim to love God with all their heart, they seem to have misinterpreted “love” as “tough love.” And it seems they consider “tough” to be synonymous with “cruel.” Stranger still, this tough love isn’t directed at God but at their neighbors, instantly impeding the misguided Christian’s ability to obey the second commandment.
Over the past few decades, the GOP and Christianity have become conflated, to the detriment of both. Christian political leaders try to deny school lunches to LGBTQ students. Others force women to carry dead fetuses in their wombs for weeks, and force ten-year-olds to bear the offspring of their rapists. Still others accuse grieving parents whose children have body parts blown off by assault rifles of being crisis actors.
Cruelty is the point because the King James Version of the Bible has been replaced with a new and improved Republican translation. “Put the screws to your neighbor as you would put the screws to yourself.”
Only they don’t follow even their own revisionist doctrine.
Christian scriptures say, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16, KJV)
Does anyone honestly believe the targets of all this cruelty feel encouraged to glorify God? “Hey! Did you see the way they ripped that family apart at the border? I’m on Team Jesus now! He sounds great!”
Almost every conservative policy comes across the same way. Written as scripture, they include:
- Sabotage your neighbor as you would have your neighbor sabotage you.
- Despise the least of these thy brethren as you would have the least of these thy brethren despise you.
- Deny your neighbor equal rights as you would have your neighbor deny you.
It’s difficult for many Christians to understand they are victims of affinity fraud because that fraud depends on people trusting their manipulators because they are fellow Christians. But substituting even a few specific examples into the Biblical commandment makes it clear that the most important part—love—has been erased.
Stick it to your neighbor as you would have your neighbor stick it to you.
Gloat over your neighbor’s misfortune as you would want your neighbor to gloat over yours.
Applaud those who shoot your neighbor as you would have your neighbor applaud those who shoot you.
The list could go on almost indefinitely, since so many people who call themselves Christian find endless new ways to make the lives of others miserable. Is it “mean” of us to point out the truth? Are we being “nasty” when the evidence is undeniable?
When right-wing leaders and pundits are called out for suggesting Christians shoot the unhoused or gays or liberals, they claim they’re just joking. Because God thinks jokes about murder are funny. Anthropomorphic thigh slappers. As long as we understand their underlying motivation is worship.
Perhaps we could try putting just a bit more effort into ensuring a separation of church and hate. Or have I misread the Golden Rule? Is it instead to kill your neighbor before your neighbor kills you? Is that the gospel of Jesus Christ? The “good news”?
I’m sorry for Christians who have been taken in by this affinity fraud. And I’m sorry for their victims. I’m sorry that we’re all going to suffer because so many believers have been swindled into believing that the best way to prove their love of God is to hate their fellow man.
Let’s sing the hymn together. We all know the words. “Jesus hates you, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
As a former missionary, I have to say this type of outreach isn’t effective.
As Christian writer C.S. Lewis once said, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
Members of almost every religion find themselves cherry-picking religious teachings to fit their personalities, and the bulk of American Christians are no exception. As we send our vitriolic pleas for the destruction of our fellow man heavenward, we ignore the most obvious passage from the New Testament:
“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22-23, KJV)
Lest we feel tempted to repent of our cruelty, though, and master kindness and empathy instead, let us remember a passage from the Republican version of the Bible and thus save ourselves from the dangers of charity and agape: “Let your hate so shine before men, that they may see your repulsive works, and be disgusted by any concept of God you offer as justification.” (Matthew 5:16, RT)
On this hang all the laws of the damned.