The bullhorn-wielding sign wavers and pulpit-pounding preachers are right: Jesus condemned many things in the Bible.
He condemned those who neglected the poor and the marginalized.
He condemned those who leveraged their religion for financial gain.
He condemned the religious hypocrites who spoke of loving God while having toxic hearts.
He condemned spiritual leaders who spread a cancerous religion to others.
He condemned people with a facade of piety concealing their hidden sickness.
Jesus pulled no punches with those who would broadcast their faith loudly while doing great damage in the world to its most vulnerable—but curiously the bullhorn-wielding sign wavers and pulpit-pounding preachers won’t ever mention those things.
Over and over in the Gospels, Jesus reiterates that those who would bear his name, would be fierce protectors of the poor, they would be sacrificial in their giving, they would be deeply burdened to serve, they would be marked by a palpable love for humanity.
There are literally hundreds of times in the Bible when Jesus calls out the power-hungry, money loving charlatans who feigned faithfulness, while warning good people to be wary of them—and where he maps out a benevolent, gentle, humble life for his followers.
And do you know how many times in the Bible Jesus condemned, lectured, or threatened anyone based on their gender identity or sexual orientation?
This is revelatory when you pay attention at what the professed people of God on the far Right are doing right now in America; the false narrative they’re trying to write for Jesus and his followers.
Republican Christians and Conservative Evangelical preachers would have you believe the opposite of the Biblical accounts of his life is actually true. They would have you believe that Jesus was clearly, repeatedly, and vehemently critical of LGBTQ people (when in reality he was completely silent on such matters)—and that defending the welfare of the sick and the poor and the vulnerable were never a concern (when such commands are frequent and unavoidable).
This manipulation of information is how self-righteous sociopaths sleep at night.
It’s how they make peace with the disfigured Savior and distorted religion they’ve created.
It’s the only way they can explain their contempt for the very people Jesus spent his days advocating for—how they can justify rewriting the Gospels and fashioning a God in their own bitter, greedy, homophobic image.
It’s how they turn the Good News into fake news, making something beautiful into a weapon, how they crafted exclusion out of invitation.
This inverted religion allows them to simultaneously craft legislation leaving millions without healthcare, to forever cast the LGBTQ as encroaching demons needing to be eradicated—and to claim to be emulating Jesus through it all. Never mind that the preponderance of the Biblical evidence flies fully in their faces. If we are to use the actual words of Jesus recorded in the Gospels—then these Christians are the threat he spent his days warning people about.
You can’t say you’re a “Biblical Christian,” if you ignore the lion’s share of his commands about caring for the least and welcoming the outcast and sheltering the endangered and feeding the hungry. You can’t disregard his incessant appeals to compassion and mercy and kindness, while kicking poor people to the curb and persecuting a group of people he never gave you permission to persecute. This is merely retrofitting Jesus to your politics and prejudices.
These people are welcome to want to take away healthcare from the sick and the elderly, and they’re free to bully the LGBTQ community—but they can’t do either in the name of Jesus, at least not if they’re going to use his life and ministry as their justification. They both argue vehemently in opposition.
So the bullhorn-wielding sign wavers and pulpit-pounding preachers can call it whatever they want: preference or fear or the need to be horrible, but they can’t call it Christianity.
Jesus won’t permit it.