In the next coming days, your social media feeds will likely be inundated with posts from Christians eager to defend their religion against the stain of the white supremacists who stormed Charlottesville, Virgina, this weekend. They’ll use the hashtag #NotAllChristians. They’ll remind you, for the umpteenth time in two thousand years, that “real” Christians aren’t bigoted, and “true” Christians look nothing like those in white hoods.
I will not be one of them.
Truth be told, I’m really annoyed by the refrain of #NotAllChristians. That may sound odd, coming from someone who is still part of that tribe (an Episcopalian, to be precise), but these “reminders” that not all Christians are this or that is quite irritating to me. Chances are, non-Christians already know this. Most people have friends or relatives who are non-fundamentalist Christians with hearts of gold.
But we also know that the loudest representatives of American Christianity are also those with the biggest platforms in politics, businesses, and entertainment.
For Christians seeking to be different, they need to accept that these loud-mouthed bigots are, in fact, speaking for American Christians. They are ruining Christianity for everyone. Ignoring this helps no one.
Neither does it serve the Christian movement to pretend that white supremacy was not a critical ingredient in the building blocks of this country. History books can white-wash this as much as they want, but facts are facts. Much of this country’s “greatness” and “Judeo-Christian values” were built on the backs of brutalized minorities, robbed of the freedom our Founding Fathers claimed was for everyone.
Though I hardly recognize the Jesus that racist Christians claim to worship, it’s time to admit that being a Christian and a bigot are not mutually exclusive identities. Though it seems contradictory, especially with the knowledge that Jesus was Jewish, the fact is that even the most die-hard bigots claim to love him: who are we to question that?
I firmly believe that racism is antithetical to what the gospel represents, but the relationship between religion and cognitive dissonance is a tale as old as time.
As much as I want to prove that I’m different; that I’m not like “those Christians” giving my faith a bad name, I know that preaching from the pulpit of social media won’t make a difference. The best I can do is prove it with my life choices, my compassion…and my vote.
Like this post? Check out Confessions of a Jew-ish Skeptic, now available on Amazon.