Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Christian Housecleaning

I've been reading with great interest about the activities of what I perceive to be a fairly large subset of religious conservatives. It's amazing to me how the love of God leads so many to hate. It's even more amazing how unaware these self-same religious zealots are of their hypocrisy.

Torture? Not a problem. Gay marriage is a problem, but not topless photos according to supporters of the notorious what's-her-name Prejean. I've especially enjoyed--and been stunned by--the weekly list of crimes committed by religious leaders posted on Joe My God each week. Name a crime--any crime--and some religious leader in this country has committed it. I guess once you're saved, it doesn't matter what you do.

In my day-to-day life, I don't deal with the fundamental element of any of the worlds' religions except for Christians. At times I've thought I was lucky that I don't have to deal with the kind of zealotry that we hear about in the Middle East and other foreign countries. I'm optimistic that things will never be that bad here in the good ole U.S. of A.

I'm fortunate in that most of the devout Christians that I encounter are on the progressive end of the continuum. I suspect this is because they are more educated than the average American, though education is in and of itself no guarantee. It helps that I work in the social sciences, but again, that's no guarantee. I've talked with some of my Christian coworkers about the hypocrisy and am pleased to hear that they are as appalled as I am, and concerned that the zealots give them and others like them a bad name.

To me that is very good news. I wonder how widespread that view is among Christians? Hard to say. I would guess that there is a fairly significant percentage, if not a majority, that hold more progressive views than the extreme examples I read about. Sure would be nice if they would hold accountable the lunatic fringe within their own congregations. Sounds like a bit of housecleaning is in order.


CathyB said...

I'd say there's a nice-sized contingent of Christians who are equally as apalled at the behavior of those who, in the name of religion, spew hatred and intolerance of those they deem unworthy. I am grateful for my church upbringin', and I still attend church regularly, but I detest narrow-minded people who insist that they, and only they have all the right answers and everyone else is on the highway to hell. Oh yes, I'm strong in my beliefs, but I will not hate or judge those who disagree. I am quite sure there are many more who share my feelings than are willing to admit it, because the judgement of those same people would be cast on them as well. It is no wonder that so many are turned off by "religion" when a very large percentage of religious "leaders" are, as you say, guilty of some of the most heinous sins of all.

Hope you had a good time at your Ky Derby party!

The Crotchety Old Man said...

Thanks CathyB. I gave up on organized religion many years ago. I had to--for my own mental health. Like you I very much appreciate that I had a religious upbringing. Even feeling as I do, if I had kids I would be taking them to church somewhere.

I understand your fear of "the judgment of those same people" with narrow views. They intimidate you, who they likely perceive as just like them. The hatred is palpable when they encounter someone not like them--like me--a gay man.

We had a great party...thanks!

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