I saw a post on my church’s bulletin board several weeks ago that read, “Hillary Clinton wants to take away your religious liberty and arrest Christians! Do not vote for this anti-Christ!”
All posts are supposed to be approved by staff before they can be pinned to the board, but it’s possible this one didn’t wait for permission. At least that’s what I’m telling myself to feel better, but regardless, this is the type of attitude that is causing me to distance myself from all things evangelical.
The fear-mongering, the blatant hypocrisy regarding religious “freedom,” and the willful blindness to Christian privilege in the United States have caused me to grind my teeth to the point of migraines.
Though I’ve never called myself an evangelical, I did find myself in evangelical churches and small groups without realizing it, so I resonate with the words of former Christianity Today editor Katelyn Beaty in the Washington Post:
… This time, this election, I can’t defend my people. I barely recognize them.
It’s like the way you love your offbeat uncle — the one who rambles at Thanksgiving dinner about threats to his freedoms and political correctness run amok. You understand why he feels the way he does. You sympathize with him on many points. But when he starts in with racial slurs and sexist jokes and complaints about “illegals,” at some point you have to get up and leave the table.
If I’m being honest with myself, I never felt like I had a place at this proverbial table to begin with. Sure, I had plenty of Christian friends who were accepting of my questions, my doubts, and other differences that are a natural consequence of being raised by liberal, secular parents. I always knew that I was a little bit different. But until this election, when many of my fellow Christians eagerly jumped to support a man with frightening similarities to Hitler circa the 1930s, I had no idea how little in common I actually have with many of the people I worshiped with.
I have to be honest and admit that never in my life have I been more grateful for my secular Jewish upbringing. Though my beliefs have swung across a wide pendulum over the years, I have never been more grateful for parents who instilled in me the value of an open mind and the importance of listening to other people’s stories. My family history has shown me the danger of religion-infused politics, and what can happen when any demographic of people is held up as an example of moral superiority.
My religious beliefs now are on shaky ground at best, but I realize now more than ever how much I belong with the marginalized over the majority. It would be so easy for me to bask in the privilege of white Christianity, but I am determined not to let that happen. If Jesus Christ is a real historical figure, then it is quite likely he looked more Arab than Aryan, and he definitely did not speak American English. I can’t imagine him siding with any political party, but I have a fairly certain conviction that he would not align himself with a pussy-grabbing, Muslim-hating, LGBT-despising candidate who said he has no need for repentance.
Any table of Christians who disagree with that is a table I am proud to avoid.
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