Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
It’s very rare for me to have such big feelings about something, but also at the same time to be almost entirely speechless in my ability to articulate them. Here’s a shot. I’ve been a Christian for the vast majority of my life, but what Christianity has become to people in this country is completely alien to me. I don’t recognize the church in the midst of the overt bigotry, racism, hatred, and lies that Christians proliferate in the name of politics. I’m quite frankly ashamed and embarrassed.
While the evangelical church has always had its problems, the past six months has brought out the worst I’ve ever seen in this generation of Christians. I’m not talking about some fringe group either; it’s easy to dismiss groups like Westboro Baptist as an example of what Christianity is not. I’m talking about the mainstream evangelical church – relatives, friends, and people I’ve even grown up with – who were once a much needed example of Christianity to me – have severely disappointed me in the way they’ve conducted themselves, causing me to question if I ever truly understood what they believed for the nearly 30 years I’ve been a Christian.
Christianity celebrates a meek savior who saw the intrinsic value in people regardless of their race, their past, or their status. He called for the lifting up of those who were downcast and mistreated by society. He called for sacrificial love of the disenfranchised. To reflect compassion. Generosity. Selflessness. He thought that we were valuable enough to give his own life for. Christianity should be, by definition, a mirror image of Christ’s love for humanity, and an example of integrity and truth, even to one’s own detriment. I don’t see this character of Jesus Christ in today’s American Christians anymore.
God also made no bones about hating evil, and having nothing to do with the wicked. Jesus literally turned tables over on people whose agenda didn’t align with his own. Both the old and new testaments are chock full of lessons about the dangers of aligning one’s self with wicked people, supporting agendas that bear the fruit of the wicked, and condoning values that are contrary to God’s own. Christianity teaches of a savior who repeatedly demonstrated his disinterest in the irrelevance of politics, from the moment he said “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s” to his markedly uninterested appearance before an irrelevant Pontius Pilate; yet it’s the laziness of Christians to impact society that has led the church to use politics to make up for their complacency. Christians today have become obsessed with installing judges and other political saviors to legislate morality for them, even if that means aligning themselves with white nationalist groups, vigilante groups that condone hate and murder, and expressing blind, cultic loyalty to immoral demagogues in exchange for influence. Christians are in turn proliferating hate, violence, racism, and division through their choice of allies and leaders, and by trafficking in misinformation to lie about it to, if at the very least, themselves. The net effect of this is the very wickedness God hates; the antithesis of the virtues that Christianity teaches. The church cannot condone immorality, lies and hate, yet expect the world to see Christians as the arbiters of morality. This has destroyed the church’s reputation, and rightfully so.
In retrospect, this has been a long time coming. Is it any surprise that Christians now support racist leaders? The church has become the most segregated institution in the country. White Christians have spent generations basking in the privilege of not having to think or preach about things like racism and inequality, while black and brown Christians in churches down the road are haunted by it daily. The ability to remain blissfully ignorant of racism has been the darling sin of every white suburban Christian church since history was first tormented to create a white Jesus. And is it any surprise that Christians have become so extreme anti-science, even in the broad daylight of infectious disease killing people they sit next to in church? The relationship between the church and science has been a contentious one for centuries, yet even seventh century Old Testament Jews had more modern medical sense about social distancing and face coverings than Christians do today (see Leviticus 13:45). The church’s inability to grasp their own God as chief architect with any tools other than magic has caused otherwise intelligent people to become modern society’s imbeciles.
How on Earth are Christians not terrified of standing before God one day to give an account for this behavior? We are called to be innocent of evil, not to align ourselves with it. How is it possible that Christians can support the gross immorality of those we elect to govern us, or to support fringe people and groups, when it has so clearly borne the fruit of the violence, hatred, and death we see every day now? This is not the church I know, and certainly not any kind of church Jesus would want to be a part of.
As a Christian, this grieves me in a way I cannot describe, because I know that this doesn’t resemble the God that I worship, study, and aspire to be more like. But why should I be the one to abandon my faith? Most of the church seems to have already done that. I’ve seen God work in my life in far too many obvious and clear ways for me to ever abandon my faith or deny God’s existence. The church has completely thrown their reputation out the window for this generation, in exchange for the kind of influence and power that Jesus would yawn at. No, it’s not my faith that’s been abandoned here.
I am growing more and more convinced that the church has become apostate. Whatever false religion the evangelical church seems to have adopted, it in no way represents Christianity anymore. I only hope the world realizes this, and doesn’t blame God for the truly idiotic things going on. Can it recover? Who knows. Historically, persecution has caused the church to scatter and distill down to those left with some modicum of conviction. Let us hope the church finds a way to heal itself before it destroys itself. My faith in Christ is unshaken, but my faith in the church and in what people are trying to pass off as Christianity has never been more lacking.