When I hear politicians and especially the U.S. President claim Christian identity, I become all the more observant and critical of them. I hold them to a standard that is pretty high– because I would expect anyone who is Christian to be an example of one who follows the teachings of Christ and one who strives to live according to Christ’s example and lessons.
Under no circumstance do I claim that the Christian life is an easy life. It is not. True Christians as well as any human being is vulnerable to sin and temptation and depravity and hardship. But Christians especially seem vulnerable to persecution or ridicule for their beliefs. Christians must bear the burden of bearing unfair and unjust reputations born from those who have used Christianity as a weapon or tool or means to inflict harm or oppression over others.
I become very skeptical of any so-called Christian who, rather than engaging their neighbors to understand and empathize with them, decides to build a wall between them and their neighbors. I become skeptical of any so-called Christian who would deny sanctuary, safety, security, food, shelter, and humanitarian aid to someone based on their country of origin, their culture, their religious views, sexual orientation or gender identity, or legal status within a country. Any Christian who puts the finances of their ministry ahead of the spiritual health and physical well-being of others is suspicious in my book. Any Christian who would intentionally obstruct justice or oppress the fundamental human rights of any individual or group of people is not following Christ’s example.
I see a lot of hypocrisy in Christianity. I see a lot of false religion within politics. I see religion being used and followers being exploited and manipulated for political points and for the furthering of personal agendas and personal power games. I see so-called Christian politicians and political action groups using Christianity as a means of imposing social policies upon others who do not share their views and are unfairly demonized because they do not hold to a particular ideology or theology. I see so-called Christians trying to monopolize social dialogues about social values, morals, and belief systems. Rather than fostering a democracy built on diversity of thought and ideas, they would seek to homogenize and silence dissent or debate or critical thinking and discussion that challenges tradition and orthodoxy or preconceived notions and ideas.
There are so-called Christian voices tying to force apolitical people to choose a side in political arguments. There are so-called Christians who are trying to move peoples’ focus towards more worldly, materialistic theology where prosperity is measured not by spiritual growth but by financial health at the expense of others who will be exploited.
There are so-called Christians who do not believe that everyone is entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. There are some who believe there is a caste system among humanity where some are more deserving than others of a good standard of living. There are some so-called Christians who seem to thrive on the notion that they are the sole holders of “The Truth” and that they hold a superior position in society and that only they are deserving of a good life.
Among these so-called Christians, I see no compassion, no empathy, and certainly no sense of humility. I see they lack an appreciation of Jesus. I see a vast gulf between their claims and their actions. I see a lot of rhetoric based on ignorance and false or incomplete understandings of Scripture and the context or history or significance of that Scripture. I see religion being used for personal gain.
I also see true Christians having a hard time standing up for their beliefs and getting the word out against these false Christians trying to hijack and hold hostage our belief system and faith. I don’t see very many religious organizations mobilizing in defense of compassionate, Christ-based humanitarian causes. I feel like there is more silence than outcry against this hypocrisy– or complacency.
In face of all the ways Christianity is being misused, misrepresented, and manipulated, it comes as no surprise to me that so many choose to leave the church or choose to give up on religion and Christianity completely. The negatives seem to outweigh any of the perceivable positives. There are not enough positive depictions of what true Christianity is and what true Christian living should be about. We have sent mixed messages about what our core values are or should be. We have allowed false Christians and false Christian leaders to change our values or lead so many astray with false notions of what’s valued and valuable.
Something to seriously think about.