For the first 20+ years or my life I was led to believe the falsehood (let’s call it an alternative fact lol) that the ACLU and ADL were horrible organizations that were against Christianity and sought to take away Christian’s rights. Like most other things, when you grow up in a bubble, you don’t question what you’re told.
Obviously, I no longer think that as I know the truth (the factual truth, you know.. THE TRUTH). Both groups stand up and fight for human rights, work against hate crimes and work to ensure religious freedom. This would include defending Christianity, if it was actually in jeopardy or if Christian’s were victims of hate crimes.
Now, imagine my surprise (and shame on me for not knowing this already), as a 42-year-old, I sat listening to someone from the ADL speak to our diversity group… and out of his mouth comes “The Anti-Defamation League was started to protect the Jewish people..”
I don’t recall much of what else he said because I was still stuck on his first sentence. The anger in me began to rise as I realized that for all of these years, the Christian community (not everyone, I realize) has labeled these 2 groups in the “enemy” category. They had lied to me! I’m not sure why this surprises me anymore as I watch the Christian right politely swallow every, single, falsehood and un-Christlike thing imaginable from the Trump administration. The ADL was founded to protect Jewish people. I repeat that, the ADL was founded to protect JEWISH people!!!! Jewish people, I’m sure you know Christian, that the Jewish people are the CHOSEN people and yet you perceive this group as evil, when they are the ones on the front-lines protecting them and have been for over 100 years. Yet THEY are the bad people? They are the ones deserving of horrible rants about how evil they are? These are the people standing in the gap where you, CHRISTIAN, should be!
The ACLU also fights for Freedom of Religion. You know, that First Amendment Right that guarantees all of us citizens the right to practice ANY religion or none at all. It doesn’t guarantee your right to push your religious beliefs on anyone else or use them to take away someone’s rights.
As his first sentence sunk in, I began to realize that I thought I was already disillusioned and utterly disgusted with the “Christian” faith before that day. I was wrong. I am now.
As this began to sink in, I realized that what’s going on in our country and with the Christian right is not new. This need to view anyone who wouldn’t allow them to force their religious beliefs on any other person, as a threat, has been long in existence. This perception that a lot of Christians have (because that’s the propaganda they’ve been fed generation after generation) that they are being persecuted is utter ridiculous. Not being allowed to require every single U.S. citizen to believe the way you believe, isn’t persecution. Not being allowed to take away rights from another citizen isn’t persecution. In fact, I argue that you have more rights than any citizen in this country. In some states you even have the bonus right of discriminating against me and if unchecked, the Trump administration will make that a Federal right.
Persecuted, my dear Christian, is what is happening to a tiny fragment of the Syrian refugees who are indeed Christians. How DARE you compare yourselves to them? You have absolutely no concept of what persecution actually is! They make up a fraction of the rest of the refugees, of which we are turning away all of them from our “Christian” land.
You have been allowed to worship as you wish, practice the religion of your choosing and have been granted additional perks like having your churches as tax exempt, with very little oversight.
At 42, I am now questioning everything I was taught, not only because of this conversation about the ADL, but also because of the complete disregard for facts that I’m seeing by the Christian right. I grew up in a very conservative Evangelical Christian family, church & community. When I was younger, we were not allowed to dance, watch movies, listen to secular movies, drink alcohol, etc. We were in church 3 times a week at least. It was all we knew. As a child, you learn from those who you are surrounded by and for me, it was almost exclusively conservative Christian people. I finished up my high school via a Christian High school and graduated from a Christian college. I thought that I had re-educated myself or at the very least, tried to investigate and learn about things that I either had no exposure to or were portrayed as “evil”.
It’s no longer surprising to me that the Christian right is not speaking out against this administration. Why? Because I actually do think he is representative of their beliefs. If not, they have sold their soul to the devil and that’s on them.
When you raise children with minimal exposure to the real world, without exposure to scientific facts, without knowing that not everyone believes the way you do and that it’s okay that they don’t, you’re failing as a parent. You are taking away their free will to decide how they will believe and live their life. Instead, maybe you should be raising them with your beliefs but yet exposing them to everything. The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” From my vantage point, most of you (not all) are training up a generation of kids that disrespect differences, disrespect other’s rights, and are intolerant of any other view-point.
When you support someone like Betsy De Vos for Secretary of Education, the reasons become clear. This woman, is completely inexperienced and woefully unqualified for this position. She does not support public education, which the majority of the United States is educated through because that’s all they are able to attain. She didn’t have a clue what IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) was, let alone know that it is a Federal law that mandates all public schools to provide equal education opportunities to children with disabilities. Why, why would any intelligent person support her (Republican or Democrat)?? It’s simple. She wants to push “God” back into the schools. And for that fact alone, she has the support of the Christian right. Let’s be real here people. If you truly do believe in God… God never left the schools. God is everywhere, in everything. He doesn’t need a bright and shiny sign saying “I’m here”. If you believe in God, and you are teaching your child right from wrong, God IS in the schools because he’s in them. The truth is, Christian kids are some of the most hateful, judgmental, bullying kids I know. Why? Because they’ve never been taught to see the beauty in those that are different. They feel inadequate themselves, because they aren’t taught self-worth because their worth is found only in what they can do to “further the Kingdom.” Mind you, when I use the term “Christian”, it is not my intention to say that every, single, Christian is this way. I know some very decent Christians who teach their children to love everyone and treat everyone equally (which is what Christ’s love is all about).
So no, I do not attend church. I do not pray. I do not teach my child about any God. My goal in life is to raise my son to be a decent human being. A man who respects his elders (if they deserve respect), treats every human with compassion, sees differences as beauty, is in awe of science and what we can learn from it, cognizant of history so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes, lives his present to the fullest and excited about what the future holds. When he is old enough to make a decision of his own, he can choose what religion (if any) he wants to practice – regardless of what choice he makes at this point, I hope that I have provided him with the building blocks to be a successful, kind and decent human being. Those are the values we should be passing down to our children, not hate, not division, not lies, not half-truths, not judgement.