Some of my earliest memories as a child were attending church. My family was Catholic, and much of our life centered around St. Gerard Majella Church. The Sunday sermons were focused on the teachings of Jesus Christ. Our priests talked of his love, and his command that we love our fellow man as we loved Him. We were taught that if we wanted to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we must live good lives filled with compassion, tolerance of others, and understanding.
That was in the 1950’s and 1960’s; religions are far different today.
Today Christians are more involved with their neighbors than with the worship of God. They are judgmental, and denounce those who are not like them. If you are a homosexual, Muslim, an atheist, or something other than Christian, you are condemned to hell, and you must be punished. A woman who makes the difficult choice to have an abortion is a ‘baby killer.’
I was taught that religious belief is a personal thing; not to be discussed in public. With the advent of the Christian religious right, everything changed. One entire political party continues to violate the first amendment and support the wishes of a single religion.
Two perfect examples of what is wrong with organized Christian religion today are Mike Huckabee, and Mike Pence.
These two Republican politicians are sanctimonious, religious extremists. Pence was the first governor to sign anti-gay laws in Indiana. He approved the ‘right’ of businesses to refuse service to same-sex couples based on hypocritical religious beliefs. Huckabee was the first to support an elected clerk in Kentucky, Kim Davis, when she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Both denounce all abortions; Huckabee believes that if there is a choice during childbirth to save the life of the mother or the fetus, the fetus must be saved. Both men also believe in ‘conversion therapy.’ This process of re-training homosexuals into becoming heterosexuals has not only been denounced by every psychiatric association in the world, it has been proven dangerous to the mental health of the individual.
A Christian church in North Carolina acted on their own form of ‘conversion therapy’ in January of 2013.
Matthew Fenner was leaving the Word of Faith Fellowship, when he was surrounded by a group of his fellow church members. Mr. Fenner was punched, knocked down, and choked for about two hours.
The attacks took place “to break me free of the homosexual demons they so viciously despise,” Fenner, who identifies as gay, told television station WSPA a year later. After the episode, he left the fellowship.
Not only did these “good Christians” violate his human and civil rights, they managed to turn Mr. Fenner away from worshiping God in this small community. This was a hate crime by the very definition of the term.
None of this sounds familiar to me; this is not what I was taught. I grew up in Los Angeles and had gay, black, Hispanic, Asian American, Jewish, and Muslim friends. They were all people I liked and respected, and their race, religion, or skin color was never a consideration.
I thank my grandfather and my uncle for raising me to be a real American who respected the rights and beliefs of others, and therefore the words in the Constitution.
If the Christian religious right was not in control of the Republican Party, same-sex marriage, abortion, and banning Muslims from our nation would not be, and should not be political issues.
There is a reason why the number of younger Americans choosing Christianity is diminishing, and the number of atheists and those choosing the religion of Islam are increasing. Because the Republican party supports extremist groups in the Christian religion, hate has replaced love; non-issues have replaced God.
I liked the way religion was taught in my youth. If what Jesus taught is true; that God is love, and loving Him and our fellow man unconditionally is the right thing to do, what is wrong with Christianity today? Think about it; and think about why GOP politicians pretend to be Christians.
Please re-post; thank you.
by James Turnage
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