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After I was excommunicated from the Mormon Church, most of my friends cut me off. “It hurts too much to know our eternal friendship won’t endure past this life,” several told me.

The shunning was painful, but now as I watch conservative Christians heckling the President about his dead son, mocking children who choose to wear face masks, investigating the parents of trans kids for child abuse, and chanting in favor of a dictator invading a sovereign nation, all I can think is, “Please, shun me! Stay as far away as you can!”

Not all Christians, not even all conservative Christians, behave in these horrific ways, and certainly there are plenty of non-Christians behaving poorly as well. Still, the vitriol spewed from conservative American Christians may well prove as damaging as radioactive fallout.

They pose holding Bibles in one hand and guns in the other, with goofy grins plastered on their faces. Warm, fuzzy intimidation. Sweet, wholesome death threats.

The giddy gleefulness with which some of these conservative Christians taunt their victims feels anything but Christlike. Making fun of school shooting survivors, coughing in the faces of immunocompromised neighbors, and calling 9-1-1 on children selling lemonade don’t feel quite as righteous as a widow offering her last coin to charity or Jesus defending a woman accused of adultery.

All the more bizarre then when Mormons join other conservative Christians in celebrating climate disaster and the portent of nuclear war

For Mormons, there’s an added perversion. We were taught that in the Pre-Existence, we were presented with two plans. One of God’s sons said he’d come down to Earth and make people be good. Another son said he’d come down and atone for their inevitable sins.

Forcing people to do God’s will, we were told, was wrong.

All the more bizarre then when Mormons join other conservative Christians in celebrating climate disaster and the portent of nuclear war because these catastrophes might usher in the Second Coming, as if God somehow needs us to force his hand.

This conservative Christian collapse into cruel, delusional behavior has been evolving for decades. Given the history of the Crusades, the Inquisition, slave trading, lynching, and even mere shunning, it’s clear, of course, that some degree of Christlike love has long been deficient.

Lately, though, there’s been an escalation in its deterioration. Conservative Christians spouting vicious insults have become the Holy Shit of Mean Girls. Mocking disabled reporters, gloating when unarmed protesters are killed, shrugging when our leaders boast of sexual assault.

We smile as we hurt others. We laugh as we crush. We betray with a kiss.

What would Jesus do?

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The New Testament unequivocally tells us that the Savior would devote most of his energy worrying about the genitalia and hormones of athletes. He’d worry about the gender of children’s toys.

He wouldn’t waste time on war refugees. Or those displaced by climate change.

He wouldn’t worry about finding homes for the unhoused. Or providing healthcare for the sick.

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stated, “Blessed are those who lie for the Lord, for they shall be made writers of alternate scripture.”

“Blessed are those who torture in the name of love, for they shall inherit self-satisfaction.”

“Blessed are the bullies, for they shall be angels in the world to come.”

“And blessed are the heartlessly sadistic, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

To be honest, I find it difficult to understand why anyone would want to follow a God they believed was asking them to behave so repulsively.

Thank God I was shunned.

Please, in the name of all that is good, keep shunning me!

Johnny Townsend Promo Image

At least until you find a way to help make Christians Christlike again. If you need any help, there’s always that other son of God whose plan wasn’t chosen.

You know him as the Devil.

And you seem to know him quite well.

Johnny Townsend