Sunday, December 04, 2005

The language of Polarization

Not long ago, televangelist Pat Robertson made public statements
to the people of Dover, PA, warning them of possible "disasters"
in their "area" and that "God might not be there" for them when
(if) those disasters strike...

The issue at hand was the fact that the local school board had
been summarily voted out of office in a recent election for having
supported the teaching of Intelligent Design in the local public
school system.

Read the details here:

Robertson has made provocative statements before, including
calling for the assasination of the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez
not long ago... While it may be easy to write off Robertson as
something of a nut-case, it's not hard to see that he has a lot of
company in the "Us versus Them" space...

Conservative Christians have, for years now, been pounding the drums
over social issues such as prayer in public schools, the teaching
of evolution, abortion, gay marriage, etc., and their general solidarity
in politics has weighted the Right so heavily that even those who share
one or two fundamental beliefs of theirs get lumped together in the
category of "radical religious Right"...

The net result is that many modern "Christian soldiers" look and sound
far more like soldiers than they do Christians. The true Gospel of
Jesus has been exchanged for Bibles-Bullets-and-Biggotry, and the
love of human beings is not only left behind but even made fun of
in some circles of those who say they are followers of Christ...

The battle cry for "victory" on social and political issues (and we could
add economic, environmental, military, and others) -- associated loosely
(and illegitimately) with the Faith -- has evolved into an entire language
of Polarization that condemns all who disagree to the "fires of hell"...
Looking at their faces and listening to the not-so-subtle hatred in the
voices of theses types, it's not at all hard to see why "the world"
(and the more moderate among us) want nothing whatsoever to do
with anything even remotely associated with Angry White Conservatives,
or with this whole "Christianity" business...

Contrast this approach to the modus operandi of Jesus, who purposely
sought out the liars, the adulterers, the cheaters, outcasts, murderers,
etc., and who had a special love for children because of their innocence
(not because "ya need to get 'em started young...")... HIS approach
was to love these people, to build personal relationships with them, to
speak to their hurt and confusion and hopelessness -- as well as their
need for repentence -- with an attitude of lifting up not pushing down...

And He violently reacted against those of His time who were "clean"
on the outside yet filthy on the inside, who held the "right" political views,
and who were more interested in the "issues" of the day than in the
people around them...

It's WAY past time to refocus on beating swords into plow shares...
We need to mimic Jesus by looking at people -- ALL people -- as Souls
whom God loves passionately... People need to see and hear that same
love for them in us, regardless of their beliefs, values, socio-economic
status, politics, sexual orientation, spiritual/physical condition, or
anything else that puts them in a different box than "us"...

There is nothing "Christian" whatsoever about the "Us vs. Them" view
of any other human being or group of human beings.
We are to love them ALL.

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