Margaret (Rector and Priest) writes the blog Leave it Lay Where Jesus Flang It. On December 10 she writes
Rachel Maddow rocked last night! --connecting the dots between fundamentalists/evangelicals in this country and the lousy Anti-gay legislation pending in Uganda. If one hasn't thought so before, Christian fundamentalism in this country is as dangerous, if not more so, than the religious terrorists we pursue in other countries. It is just as violent, paternalistic, rigid and deadly.
At morning prayer (Matt. 23:13-15, 23-24) 'But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.
'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!
I don't think Jesus much liked 'em either --the scribes and Pharisees being the fundamentalists of the day....
I like the imagery of the scripture in the last paragraph above -you tithe herbs, but not anything with weight.... gnats, but not camels. How much of the way we have 'ordered' the church makes us lose the Gospel? Lots, I think. To our peril. --like bishops who, for whatever reason, refuse to speak to justice, mercy and faith....
Margaret writes her short posts in a "down home" and folksy style, but always to the point, especially in this post.
What she raises in my mind is how often some of us in the West are quick to condemn terrorists claiming Islamic allegiance, for example and neglect the terror implicit in our own actions. There is a part of me which shrinks from such a blunt statement as this:
If one hasn't thought so before, Christian fundamentalism in this country is as dangerous, if not more so, than the religious terrorists we pursue in other countries. It is just as violent, paternalistic, rigid and deadly.
It's harsh. It will cause upset in the pews. It begins to sound like the unpleasant fervour of people I'd rather not sound like, or have to argue with! Yet is it not also true?
I’ve not heard Christian prayers about the number of virgins people will get when they reach heaven, but most everything else ascribed to the hopes of terrorists, I’ve heard in Christian prayers. We seem more inclined to want God to rain down terror on our enemies, than to wear the suicide vest ourselves, but the violence and hatred is the same.
At what point will we speak the truth about the implications of some of the theology people spout in church?
When someone in a Bible study says we don't have to worry about global warming because God will fix it, for how long are we polite, and when do we say, "Rubbish?" When some politician gets up and claims religious warrant for keeping women or gays in their place, when will we finally call them on their theology? If they claim to speak from a religious perspective, why do we not engage them at that level, and show their theology to be as shallow and childish as it usually is?
Advocating violence is advocating violence, regardless of the source. Hatred is hatred, regardless of our religion. Robbie Burns said, "O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us." He said it because it is so hard to do this. Rachel Maddow’s statements on Uganda really do connect the dots. What we say counts. It says something about who we actually are! It will give the lie to our claims about love, and about being followers of Jesus
You can see one of Rachel Maddow’s broadcasts here.
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