Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Do, Don't Spew

One of my heroes is the late Sam Ervin, the United States Senator from North Carolina who chaired the Senate Watergate Committee in 1973.  One of the things that he did that I admired was to quote accurately from the Scripture.  His quotes were used  mainly to show the scoundrels appearing before him how their moral lapses got them into so much trouble.

I wish today’s fundamentalist Christians were as classy and as truly Christian as Senator Sam!

I think the deadliest text from the New Testament is the one the fundamentalists and others call the Great Commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28/19–20)

The fundamentalists believe that this text gives them the right to shove their beliefs down everyone’s throats.  The text leads them to believe that failure to “make disciples” is a sure sign that they aren’t true Christians.

I think there is another motivation behind this proselytizing urge: it’s the flawed human need to be a part of the “in” crowd and to look with suspicion on those who are not “in,” who are different from the “ins.”  When these so-called "Christians" look on the rest of us in this way, the resulting hatred, prejudice, and discrimination has the same motivation that is behind all prejudice and discrimination.  There seems to be a human tendency to fear and hate those who are different.  Maybe this trait has Darwinian origins.  Those of our ancestors who feared and hated (and, therefore, killed) people who were different were the only ones to live long enough to pass along the prejudice gene.

If Christians and other religious people really want to make disciples, I wish they would stop the preaching and start acting.  I can’t believe that so many fundamentalists are against government help to the poor, the sick, immigrants, and the disadvantaged.  The Jesus of the Gospel spent his ministry caring for just those people.  I wish today’s Christians understood preaching as putting the Gospel into action, bringing the Gospel to life.  Instead, they seem to think that the Great Commission means they send their preachers into legislatures with instructions to shove their superstitious and hate-filled beliefs down everyone’s throat.

Sam Ervin was a humble man who used his faith to guide his actions.  His quotations from Scripture weren’t used to force belief on the unwilling but to show the world the source and nature of his sweet wisdom.  He was such a kind and gentle man.  He personified Amos 5/24: “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

I wish the Christian fundamentalists would shut up.  If they want to show their knowledge of Scripture, then let them act as Jesus acted.  Let them do and not spew.  Let them follow, but not quote, Jeremiah 22/3, “This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.”

1 comment:

  1. I always have mixed feelings about quoting the bible to undermine other quotes from the bible, since I do not believe the bible, like Silvio Berlusconi, should be taken literally; with that said, well played sir... well played.