During the Black Lives Matter protests last summer, Trump put out a video of him holding a Bible while standing outside a church, having used teargas to clear the peaceful protesters who were there. In the recent presidential election, 75% of White evangelical Christians voted for Trump. Before the violent assault on the Capitol building last week, far-right extremist groups kneeled to pray. Some held up signs saying ‘Jesus saves’; others ‘Make America Godly again’.
Of course, doing awful things in the name of Christianity is as old as… well, Christianity. There’s nothing new about this. Part of the story of the birth of America is Christians ripping away the culture, rights, land and lives of the indigenous peoples. But that was then – aren’t we in the West more enlightened now?
What is anyone who associates themselves with Christianity meant to do with all of this? When a faith they hold dear is associated with aggressive nationalism, racism, patriarchy, misogyny, homophobia and abuse?
The church is full of good people doing good things. Yet these aren’t isolated issues. Much of it is systemic. And it’s certainly not just in the US.
What are we to do?
Call out these perversions of faith for what they are.
And speak up for the true message of Christianity – of Christ:
Humility. Inclusivity. Nonviolence. Social justice. Generosity. Unconditional love.
Leaving the church is clearly an option being taken by many, and I would advocate for that if your church is a source of any of the injustices I’ve mentioned. Many are fighting for change from within, and that is beautiful and brave.
Do I still call myself a Christian? I’m not sure. These days I identify as much with my Jewish heritage. Whatever I choose to call myself, I still find Jesus compelling, because he represents the opposite of the intolerant, walls-up ideology that has so sadly surfaced in recent years.
If you want to go deeper into this, I cover part of it in the first episode of my podcast. I’ll be picking up the conversation in future episodes too.
Love and peace to you all,