Posted by: minnow | February 27, 2016

Our Social Contract

I had a crap filled day.  So, I shouldn’t have, but I scrolled through my FB news feed. Frankly, I am ashamed to call myself a Christian and even more ashamed to call myself an American. I used to think those two things represented the best of humanity.  Not today. Today, my compassion-for-the-other tank is running close to empty. But before I continue, I should explain who my “other” actually is.

Half my other group are people I identified with most of my adult life–the true silent majority.  They might shout Amen in a Church service but they probably won’t ever weigh-in on a serious FB meme. They are sheep.  They leave thinking and wrestling with real life issues to leadership, to the Man (and I mean that literally) of God in their respective houses. Their guiding philosophy is “don’t rock the boat” and pray–pray for those poor misguided souls who just can’t seem to “give it to God” as well as the silent majority can.  This philosophy protects them from getting in the trenches themselves.

A few in this other group (the leadership or leadership approved) are outspoken, self-righteous, finger pointers. Unlike their silent counterparts, they think it’s their job to correct all who don’t believe what they believe because of course what they believe is the only true interpretation of scripture.  How do they know?  Well, according to their mantra God (and therefore their version and interpretation of the Bible) is the same yesterday, today, and forever, no matter how well you document the evidence to the contrary.

Personally, I haven’t had many of these people in my life but I’ve heard about them, read or listened to some of their messages.  The moms in a FB group I’m part of frequently lament their experiences with the judgments and ridicule of these self-avowed Christians who demand they choose between loving God or accepting their LGBT identifying children.  The pain and ugliness inflicted from such Christian charlatans makes me ashamed–not of Christ–but of Christianity.

The other half of my other group is more political in nature.  While I was once a die-hard Republican, I have moved away from their ways of seeing the world. I am not offended by conservative perspectives or priorities so long as they are motivated by the greater good.  But sadly, few reasonable voices are left in the Republican party and those who do exist have been drowned out by fear-mongering, power hungry, extremists. These smug elitists see average citizens as expendable, and unimportant.  They seem to regard the basic needs of the working class as a nuisance.  The attitudes and behavior exemplified by these politicians, and others like them, make me embarrassed to be called an American.

I was raised to believe I had a responsibility to the community in which I lived.  Both my religion and my citizenship encouraged me to look out for those less fortunate than I. They taught me to work hard and to do my best, but they also expected me to have compassion, to not look down my nose at another individual.  My conservative roots gave me a godly and noble foundation.  So, it breaks my heart–and makes me a little more than angry–to see how ugly and twisted the Republican party and the loudest voices of evangelical Christianity have become.

How is it possible that the top contenders for president, within the Republican Party, are Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio?   Oh, I understand the frustration with the gridlock in Washington.  I agree that the same ol’ same ol’ isn’t working.  But if you sincerely want Washington to work and work together what sense does it make to support a candidate who can’t even get along with his fellow Republicans?  The behavior of these men in  the most recent GOP debate was as appalling as it is typical.  Senator Rubio behaved like an overly excited yapping dog at the feet of an unaffected bully. Meanwhile, Senator Cruz who has been at odds with his own party as well as the Democrats since he entered the senate was completely overrun and summarily dismissed by King Trump who couldn’t say something nice about someone else if his life depended on it.  He even took a swipe at the moderator.  If that is Trump’s plan for keeping his underlings in line, it’s the only plan he he’s got!  Yet, somehow Republicans think one of these men  will be able to bring both sides of the isle together.  Answer me this–HOW!!??

The tragedy for the Republican party is, even if Trump is dethroned, the pettiness, the lack of compassion, and the love affair with war and Wall Street, AKA power, doesn’t go away.  As senators, Cruz and Rubio voted against the Veterans Benefits Bill  and the Violence Against Women Act. If elected president both plan to de-fund planned parenthood, lower taxes on the wealthiest Americans, repeal the Affordable Care Act, and end marriage equality. Of course, for some evangelicals that’s exactly what they want to hear because as we all know–it’s the government’s job to keep those sinners in line.  Their tax plans and their promises to balance the budget and increase military spending would literally wipe out  all support for the middle class and working poor.  Except for the top 1 %, neither Marco Rubio nor Ted Cruz have any interest in helping individuals.

I still believe we have an obligation to the communities in which we live.  Our goal should be to leave our world in better shape than how we found it.  In order to do so, I can easily walk away from the Republican party.  It is, after all, only a political organization whose philosophies have warped in ways that no longer focus on improving the whole or serving the greater good. It deserves to be abandoned.  At the same time, for me personally, walking away from Christianity would be a much more gut wrenching process, one I am still not certain is the best solution. Even though the numbers of people I know who have done just that are steadily increasing, walking away is not a journey I desire to make. Yet, when one can no longer recognize the face of God on the people who claim His name leaving remains an option. My prayer, and where I will continue to focus my efforts, is to see that more reasonable, compassionate, voices and leaders prevail.

 

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Responses

  1. Let me offer a short encouragement. There are all kinds of flavors of Christians, radically inclusive revolutionaries in contrast to the exclusivity of evangelicals (the neo-Pharisees), and a wide variety of church expressions.

    It’s challenging for most Christians to actually follow Jesus, because it unequivocally requires a rejection of materialism – a place most fear to go. Be kind, generous, forgiving, and act ethically. God will be patient with your failures and missteps. It’s part of learning.

    Allow your best self to represent your faith, and show what an American is.


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