It’s the beginning of Easter weekend. Good Friday. It’s the day that professing Christians honor as the day Jesus Christ was executed by the human Powers That Be. There will be worship services held. Profound words will be written and spoken. People will consider what it means to be immersed in the darkness that comes before the dawning.
At least, some people will.
A lot of other people will be caught up in the great controversies of the day, shouting their opinions at the top of their lungs, while shouting down those with differing opinions.
Lately, my Facebook feed has blown up with vitriolic attacks concerning deep and controversial issues. Fora while it was all about guns. Some people think we should restrict possession and sale of firearms, particularly assault-type weapons. Others think that by creating more restrictions, government will be infringing on the rights of the people. Here in Georgia, one of the most open gun law proposals in the country seems poised for approval.
Hot on the heels of the “Gun Fight” has come “Marriage Mayhem.” The Supreme Court of the United States of America has heard arguments concerning Proposition 8, a California law restricting marriage of same-sex couples. Does Proposition 8 meet the requirements of Constitutional law or does it not? We’ll soon find out this court’s opinion.
I’m not here to favor any argument over another. Do I have my opinions? Of course I do. I’m betting you do as well. What troubles me is that those people who should be most insistent on peace seem to be the most intent on conflict. According to my Facebook sampling, the most hateful, name-calling, grace-less group of people involved in these issues are – wait for it – Christians.
I can hear the protests beginning: “Now wait a minute – you don’t understand. All these opinions are an attack on Jesus and our faith. We are at war with the Godless (insert preferred hated group here)! God wants us to get rid of those folks.”
I’ve heard it on both sides of the issues. Each group is absolutely convinced that God is on their side (never mind being on God’s side) in the argument. This, of course, gives them a divine right to hate people of differing viewpoints and to excoriate anyone that may disagree with what is obviously God’s will.
I’m tired of it. I’m tired of the shouting and the condemnation and the name-calling. I’m tired of someone telling me that I have to choose one side and hate another. I’m tired of cop-out responses telling me that it’s not hate, it’s just about being right.
As Shakespeare said, “A pox on both your houses!”
As it happens, I number myself among those people called “Christian.” Because of that, I cannot enter this time of remembering the sacrifice of Christ while at the same time hating those for whom he died. To do so would to make Christ a liar.
For those who choose to continue to hate others in the name of love, I encourage you to go back to your desiccated places of worship. Lift your prayers to the ceiling, because that’s as high as they will go. Pretend to honor God if it makes you feel better, but consider this: Each act of hatred, each slanderous word, and each action of exclusivity is a nail in the body of the savior you claim to honor and follow.