Are These People REALLY Christian?

Today I went to Ashland, Kentucky. I wanted to sit in the courtroom and see what was going on in person. Unfortunately, once I went through security, up the elevator and to the courtroom, the door was shut. I ended up being the first one denied entry. After a polite exchange with the man at the door (I volunteered to stand quietly at the back!), I went back outside into the melee.

While I was lined up, waiting to not get in, the person in front of me asked who I was with. Not quite understanding, I told her I was with myself. She persisted, eventually getting out of me that I believed Kim Davis should be doing her job. She summarized “Oh, so you’re against her.” She then proceeded to question me about my morals, where they came from, the bible etc… I told her a couple of times that I really didn’t want to engage in this kind of conversation, and eventually she stopped. It bothered me no end that she was saying the sorts of things I once might have said (we’re talking 25 years ago now), and I found I had absolutely no wish to engage. I did, however, try to point out a few times that gay marriage was not the reason there was a hearing today. But she wasn’t listening. For her, it was about gay marriage, not about a state employee who isn’t doing her job, forcing her beliefs on the community, and collecting a paycheck as a result.

But, things seemed to get worse. There were people with professional signs, some of which were rude and insulting, who seemed to like to walk around and get into people’s faces. They’d tell them they were going to hell etc.. etc.., sometimes using a megaphone just a couple of feet from the chosen targets face. There was so much shouting that at time you could barely hear your neighbor when they yelled in your ear. And almost without exception, the shouters were “Christians” Some wore sandwich boards, one waved a skull draped in the rainbow flag, some preached, some handed out tracts, some waved giant bibles in the air, and, frankly, some looked as if they were almost mad with rabies.

I was shocked, upset, sad, and depressed that this was Christianity in action. I tried to imagine the Jesus I know doing that, and I just can’t. Just. Can’t. I thought about the time Jesus got really, really mad… and you know what? The only time I can think of was when he turned over the tables of the money changers in the temple. These were the RELIGIOUS people of the day – he never got mad at regular sinners, just the religious people. I tend to think he’d have been REALLY mad at many of the people outside the courthouse today.

I had the good fortune to meet Tim Love, the guy who challenged Kentucky’s SSM ban in the Supreme Court, leading to the ruling that gays could not be discriminated against by refusing to let them marry each other. He was such a lovely, gentle, kind man. When I told him that I was so put of Christianity as a result of today, he looked genuinely sad and said that I needed to know that these people aren’t representative of true Christianity. But, are they? The more I learn about the way Christianity is practiced in this country, the more I am put off. Screaming hate to people? Salivating with anger while “preaching”? Is that really it?

In addition, as I mentioned earlier, this was NOT WHAT THE HEARING WAS ABOUT! Why won’t they all listen? It’s not about religious freedom, unless you think about it in terms of the county citizens’ religious freedom (she’s denying them theirs), and it’s not about her “standing up for her beliefs”. It’s about a woman who was elected to an office, and took an oath to uphold the constitution – and then broke it. It’s about a woman who will NOT issue ANY marriage licenses, gay or straight, yet wants to collect her full pay every week. It’s about a woman who has closed the courthouse randomly so citizens cannot get ANY business done. In short, it’s about a woman who’s breaking the law.

Those “Christians” are trying to make her into a living martyr, and a martyr she is not. They have twisted this whole affair to serve their agenda, and now we have presidential candidates siding with her… applauding her for not doing her job. I can’t help but get angry!

Anyway, there is no shadow of a doubt in my mind that I do not want to be like those people. I don’t want to be a narrow-minded, bigoted, rude, in-your-face person screaming my religious biases at other people. If that is Christianity, I’m absolutely, positively, out of there.

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“Christian Dress”modes

I’m rather behind on some of the news, so it was only a few days ago that I caught up with the whole Josh Duggar thing. I admit, I was surprised, but not for the reasons you might think. Several years ago, I was zooming around the internet and came across some sites where people were openly talking about Josh touching girls (including his sisters), so I have to wonder why it took so long for it to become news. And now, what news it has become! Here’s a guy who used to be a director of Family Research Council (if you don’t know what this group is, it’s been listed in the U.S. as a hate group), and spoke out about what he perceived to be “family” matters. For some reason, one that I cannot understand in spite of trying, this group believes that granting homosexuals the right to marry, and allowing transsexuals the right to identify with the “other” gender (i.e. the gender for which they may not have all the relevant “parts”) will somehow threaten heterosexual couples and women. I can’t quite get my head around that. Does FRC think that if gay marriage is allowed, heterosexual couples will suddenly all divorce? I mean, no-one is talking about banning, or curtailing the rights of heterosexual couples – are they?

Anyway, in the midst of this scandal, and as a result of reading about this family (who, for the record, I believe should be taken off the airwaves), I took a side path into the world of fundamentalist colleges and began reading some of the student handbooks. Some of what I read began to trigger my post-Bible-college PTSD because there were many similarities between them and the Bible College I attended many years ago. Take the dress code, for example (and I should say two things here. First, I have only looked at Pensacola Christian College and Bob Jones University, and second, my college was not in the US); it always seems so much stricter for girls than for boys – and far more expensive. PCC, which is in Florida, demands that girls wear, of all things, pantyhose almost every day. This rule could only have been made by men! I’d like them to try wearing pantyhose day in day out in a hot climate. Funny, in my time at bible college, I never once read a verse that indicated women should wear such things! Pantyhose are uncomfortable and unhealthy in hot climates, particularly hot humid weather. Further, they ladder and get caught on things so need to be replaced regularly. That is costly!

The thought of having to wear pantyhose was not, of course, the only thing that made my blood start to heat up. Oh no, there was more: Girls’ clothing cannot show even a hint of cleavage, and must not be “tight” (read: must not indicate that there is a woman’s body beneath). Girls may not have male hairstyles (whatever those are), or wear clothes that are masculine (oh yes, that includes pants). Skirts (which, as we know, are the only godly apparel) must be no higher than the top of the knee – standing OR sitting. Tops must have sleeves because shoulders are incredibly sexy and will cause (yes, I said cause) men to have lustful thoughts leading to rape. Poor men! Completely captive to whatever women wear! One glimpse of a shoulder and they lose their freewill. Rape is inevitable, and of course, you harlot with the bare shoulder, it will be YOUR fault.

Now, before you say “Well, would you rather women ran around naked?”, I’d like to point out that this is not a true/false, yes/no, black/white dichotomy. There are an infinite number of choices we can make regarding our clothing. We aren’t forced to choose between a burka and nakedness! Further, I think that forcing women to wear certain types of clothing because men can’t control themselves is patronizing to both sexes. Why do “Christian” schools focus so much on these kinds of rules and regulations? Are they competing with the Pharisees?

Legalism isn’t dead. I’m pretty sure Jesus would be pretty upset at today’s Christian Pharisees as they “strain at gnats” and ignore the camels.