Conservative Christianity and White Supremacy’s Scary Kinship

There are times when you realize how far Humanity has drifted, days when you see how sick we’ve become, moments when you notice how badly Christians have lost the plot. It often comes when you see strange alliances form; agreement where there should not be agreement, affinity that should not exist.

This week while reflecting on the disheartening Evangelical Christian support for Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, I tweeted out these words:

Equality means believing that a child living 5,000 miles away is a precious as the one sleeping in your nursery right now.

The Tweet was shared by renown hipster Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, whose black boot-licking fan boys swiftly descended from their parent’s basements, to hurl all sorts of online vulgarity at me from behind the safe anonymity of fake Twitter handles with photos of German stormtroopers and fatalistic Nietzsche quotes.

They marched lock-step to call me vile and evil, and to let me know that my “Jewishness” was showing. (Never mind that I’m not Jewish, but that’s another conversation for another day). They began to inundate me with all sorts of hypothetical situations where my son and some imaginary Muslim boy were both hanging from a ledge and I could only save one of them—illustrating in their minds the inherent flaws of my position. (These are the kinds of things people say to try and justify their contempt for entire people groups, and I’m used to it.)

The responses weren’t a surprise coming from these Urban Outfitters wannabe Fourth Reichers, who view everything and everyone through the lens of their perceived (and unearned) superiority. This kind of entitled, bratty bigotry is their daily bread and butter. I expect hatred of people of color from them.

The more revelatory and concerning feedback came from people like Amy, a Conservative White Christian mom who replied to the same Tweet:

“If you have children, I feel sorry for them.”

Her words joined a similar outpouring from professed Bible-believing, God-fearing Jesus folk, punctuated by lots of venom, familiar FoxNews cut-and-paste criticisms of Islam, and lots of references to making America great. They too rushed to join the pseudo-Fascists in disputing the idea that a child in Syria was as important as their child, seemingly oblivious to the red flag that such agreement should raise.

This is a symptom of the heart sickness American Evangelicals have inherited, one revealed in a growing Christian nationalism as well as a highly selective pro-life position, where apparently life isn’t just more valuable inside the womb than outside of it—but inside America than outside of it all well.

At the core of this inconsistency is a deeply embedded, subconscious belief that a child is worth more if their trip through the birth canal happens to deposit them within our borders. This is especially true if it looks like them, is likely to worship and believe and vote like them—if it will replicate them. 

Amy’s response and the responses of many white Christians to my Tweet were telling. They imagine that my capacity for compassion is so minuscule that it can only accommodate my own children. They assume that love for one, must come at the expense of another. They reflect a fearful religion which instills in them that they are perpetually in danger. They reveal a faith rooted in superiority and self-preservation; one that breeds hostility to those it sees as outsiders.

Far too much of American Evangelicalism has become this—and it’s a problem.

It’s a problem because the lineage of our Christian tradition leads back to Moses being saved from Pharaoh’s ethnic cleansing of the Jewish people.

It’s a problem because the story of the Israelites is one of continual escape from violent oppression as marginalized, despised foreigners. 

It’s a problem because Jesus was born to refugees desperately fleeing genocide.

It’s a problem because the core of this Jesus’ teaching was the command to love your neighbor as yourself, and that designation of neighbor had nothing to do with geography but with shared Humanity.

It’s a problem because the Evangelical Christian’s go-to Bible drop quote John 3:16, begins with the words, “For God so loved the world…”

To claim the Christian faith is to practice the most radical kind of  hospitality and the most counterintuitive compassion for the other. Jesus was a homeless, dark-skinned immigrant who modeled sacrificial love and who welcomed to his table both beggar and soldier, both priest and prostitute, both Jew and Samaritan. It’s almost impossible to simultaneously emulate this Jesus, and champion exclusion, superiority, or even protection for that matter.  

And that’s the heart of this for Americans who profess a Christian faith: eventually you have to choose.

You cannot be both For God so loved the world—and America First.
You cannot preach the Gospel, while despising refugees and foreigners and immigrants.
You can’t claim that “all lives matter”, while protecting only your own kind.

You cannot be fully pro-life and uphold your supremacy based on color, geography, or religion.

You either believe all people are made fully in the image of God—or you don’t.

You either aspire to a benevolence without conditions or caveats or border or color codes—or you don’t.
You can’t pledge complete allegiance to both Jesus and America simultaneously. At some point one will have to yield to the other, and when your religious position on foreigners begins to align with a malevolent Fascist extremist—it may be time to reconsider your interpretation of the Gospel. It may be time to see if you’ve made God in your own caucasian image.

I don’t imagine Amy or the Christians like her would say they have anything in common with a blatantly racist Neo-Nazi like Richard Spencer, but there is a disturbing congruence in their shared hostility toward non-White, non-Christian, non-Americans. The aggressive territorialism they have in common is alarming, as is their explicit or implied assertion that life is somehow worth more, the closer to you it is—either in placement or pigmentation.

There is nothing of Jesus in this. (who by the way was Jewish, Teutonic fanboys.)

Yes all life is equally valuable wherever it arrives or resides, and yes, a child 5,000 miles away is as inherently beautiful and worthy of protection as my own—and your own.

If you’re a Christian and you care to argue with that go ahead, but you’re going to have to argue with Jesus while also aligning yourself with White Supremacy as you do. (I’m not sure that’s a good spot to plant your theological flag.)

There is no border on real compassion and there aren’t varying degrees of human worth either—no matter what Richard Spencer or Amy or Steve Bannon or Donald Trump say or believe.

And if America is first, Jesus can only be a very distant second.

And that just won’t do.

As for my kids: they are well loved. They know that life is bigger than just our home and bigger than only America. They walked with us in the Women’s March, they have deep compassion for hurting people—and they recognize that loving their neighbor as themselves is the greatest aspiration they can walk this planet with. I’m good with that.

 

268 thoughts on “Conservative Christianity and White Supremacy’s Scary Kinship

  1. I no longer follow the church I was raised in, however, I am still a child of God, deep in faith. Those who profess to be Christian, yet pass judgement, would do well to read Mark 7:1-13. Keep doing what your doing John. Jesus is with you.

    • “Those who profess to be Christian, yet pass judgement, would do well to read Mark 7:1-13. ” Yet, John and M. pass judgment on people via the straw men and other false premises they have erected: how strange.

      • It’snot passing judgment when it is speaking the truth.

        I guess the shoes fit you that John P offers. I guess you don’t like the reflection in the mirror that John P holds up.

      • PC, again, you show your lack of knowledge of the word. We are called to make judgments every day, such as who to hang out with, who to believe and a slew of other things. The kind of judgement you talk about is entirely different. It is Christians like you that make all Christians look like hypocrites. The truth is that this new movement in this country has mad it legitimate to be a racist again. Legitimate to be elitist, unkind, hateful and prideful. Really, really bad character traits for someone who professes to follow Jesus Christ. Please rethink your attitudes and start spending more time reading the word and less time hating your fellow man.

        • You just want to keep yourself in the false pharisaic position that denies all the basic principles of christianity. Few read the Bible, ALL read your life !!
          Be ashamed and repent !

    • Read Romans 13:1-7. Can’t you be a Christian and follow man’s laws? Do something to help the people in other countries. And in the U.S.

  2. Sorry hear of all the hate responses you are getting. But there are many of us (including non Christians) who read and appreciate what you have to say. Keep it up.

  3. John, you have once again written a spot on and very timely blog. You are at the fore-front of a much needed movement in American Christianity. There are many of us out here that don’t have your platform or influence, and we need you to keep speaking the truth. I saw a meme the other day, if you have not seen it, I think you will appreciate it: “I stopped explaining myself when I realized that people only understand from their level of perception.” Please keep posting the truth John Pavlovitz. You are a needed, wise voice.

    • Of all the things that frighten me right now, our descent into White Nationalism is as horrifying as the transformation of our government into Authoritarian Statism. The following article in Quartz describing Steve Bannon’s world view was reposted – without spin – by Breitbart, which may attest to not only its accuracy but the assuredness of those who agree with Bannon. It is a chilling read for anyone who believes in Human Rights, but lays out why the Christian Right can so easily leave behind Jesus’ call to compassion for the whole of humanity:

      https://qz.com/898134/what-steve-bannon-really-wants/

      George Lakoff has said as much with the concept of frameworks – the system of values that we are either born into or come to adopt usually through life-altering events. These frameworks are so powerful that facts cannot penetrate them; only a trusted messenger can deliver framework-altering news. The trouble is that both Conservative and Progressive frames are needed for a robust society, but they have so atrophied that this understanding – which existed a scant few generations ago – has been lost.
      And so we fall upon each other with knives.

      • Thankyou, I Love this! “only a trusted messenger can deliver framework-altering news” . Now, how to become ” trusted messengers,” and listeners! to those behind a different frame?

      • Mosswings you said

        “The trouble is that both Conservative and Progressive frames are needed for a robust society, but they have so atrophied that this understanding – which existed a scant few generations ago – has been lost.

        And so we fall upon each other with knives.”

        exactly ! I have noticed the conservative and liberals sides have become increasingly bitter towards each other in the comment section in the past few months.

        well said!

    • Yvonne. I tried to follow a link to your blog from Tim Chastain’s blog today. When I clicked on the link to your blog, all sorts of crazy things happened, and my antivirus/malware program went nuts. Apparently, based on what happened to me, someone behind the scenes has put a tag on your blog link that looks very much like “Ransomware.” It froze up my computer, made demands. It scared the crap out of me!!! I turned of my computer and turned it back on—and that appeared to have dislodged whatever was going on before it could proceed further than it did. You might want to check into that with WordPress.

      • Oh no! I had no idea Charles, I will have my IT brained hubby check this out. I am out of town until tomorrow. Thanks for letting me know Charles.

    • I am white. I am male. I am christian (Missouri Synod Lutheran to be more specific). I am a Constitutional conservative. But I am not a “Christian conservative” or an Evangelical as the term is thought of today. These descriptions are more political than religious as they are used today. The broad brush you use to describe Christians seems to have missed me. Thank you very much.

      • No one can be a constitutional conservative and be for this president. Christian white supremacy goes against the first amendment for one and Trump has no plans to abide by the constitution to do his work as has already been determined by courts.

  4. Thank you once more John. I follow so many feeds, blogs, podcasts that I am very irregular in reading and listening. However, I always read and think about what you have to say. I so wish the evangelicals around me would (could?) think about these things. The dichotomy between the teachings of Christ and the practitioners of the faith they profess could not be greater, nor could my disappointment.

  5. I have struggled with organized religion for years based exactly on this – the hypocrisy that is so acceptable to those who claim faith. Just being conpassionate towards one another rarely fits into the equation. There’s always caveats.

    But you give me hope. One day, perhaps, I may just find the Belief that my grandmother had. The gritty, honest foundation that was so solid you could stand on it.

  6. I would like to tell you how much I have enjoyed reading your articles. I was raised in a Catholic home ( do not practice any religion anymore, just live by my morals and spirituality) . I was taught from a young age that if I have 2 shirts and you have none I give you one of mine. I don’t fold it up and put it away. I give to those less fortunate then I am because they have just as much value to Jesus as I do

  7. Dear John Pavlovitz:

    Again, the American church is in a state of apostasy, and stands in need of evangelization.

    ‘‘“Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give you, if you fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go, Satan! For it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and serve him only’” [Mt 4:8-10].’
    ‘ We reject the false doctrine…’
    ‘that the church can or must acknowledge any absolute allegiance in place of or in addition to the God that Jesus Christ proclaims from the Scriptures, or that Christian trust, hope and life may rest in, or be found, or be mediated by other spiritual or earthly powers, figures, institutions, administrations or events, with their visions, promises or operations.’

    Blessings!

    • Hi ggd. That scripture from the temptation in the desert has always fascinated me. Another scripture verse says that “The Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.” That is so even if other scripture says that Satan is temporarily in control of many things on Earth. So-o-o-o-o-o-o-o. The thing that fascinates me in the scripture you quoted is that Satan offered to the starving and thirsty Jesus something that Jesus ALREADY OWNED. Have you ever thought about that?

      • Dear Charles:

        It is unquestionable that ‘the earth is Yahweh’s and the fullness thereof.’ That said, Scripture also reveals that the kingdom of God and the powers of this age are in conflict. Both claim our allegiance.

        Rather than overlaying one text [the earth is the Lord’s] on another [Satan’s offer of the kingdoms of this world], I suggest asking how the Matthew text is intended to function in the canon. What is it that was happening there in the conflict between the kingdom of God and of darkness?

        I think the question of HOW Jesus redeems the world is very much at stake in Mt 4. Will Jesus serve with faithful obedience, OR will he take the Satan’s shortcut and bypass the cross?

        I think that what is happening is this: The Satan [adversary] is willing to surrender its [false] claims on the powers of this age now — IF Jesus is willing to run the show the Satan’s WAY.

        You want bread? You want to feed the hungry? Do it SATAN’S WAY! You want uncontested power? Run the world on the basis of power/extortion/injustice/oppression! Cede that my way is best, Jesus — and it’s all yours!

        This matters profoundly, because the relations OUR state [the one for which WE are responsible] sustains to the world stand in spiritual solidarity with Satan’s agenda.

        This matters profoundly, because by standing in spiritual solidarity with the American government, the American church also conforms to Satan’s agenda. THAT is why the ‘American “‘church”‘ is/does/says as it is/does/says. The American church has ceased to be a true church of Jesus Christ. It is in a state of apostasy.

        We reject the false doctrine that…

        ‘Christian trust, hope and life may rest in, or be found, or be mediated by other spiritual or earthly powers, figures, institutions, administrations or events, with their visions, promises or operations.’

        There, we take our stand!

        Blessings!

  8. Thank you John, for your bold words, post after post. As an atheist I find them refreshing and spot on. We may differ in some of our beliefs but not about what it means to be a loving, compassionate human. Keep speaking up. I’m sharing.

  9. Excellent article! We all need to hear this and live by the example of Christ. I will be sharing this! I enjoy reading your articles but this may be your best and most poignant yet.

  10. John,
    As usual you are right on target. Thank you for speaking the truth and saying far more eloquently than I could what I have been saying for a long time. Keep doing what your doing. You help those of us who fear our voices are being drowned out by all the hateful screaming rhetoric coming from those who want to take over. Peace,

  11. I so appreciate how you write what needs to be said. I cannot fathom how a person who professes to believe in Jesus and his teachings can fear, condemn, and refuse to help anyone due to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or what country they live in. Nor do I understand how anyone can judge an entire race or religion based on the beliefs/actions of some. Yes, there are some bad Muslim’s, Mexican’s, and American’s (and every other country in the world). But there are many many more that are kind, generous, giving and believe in helping their neighbor – whether that neighbor is down the street, or on the other side of the world. They live and demonstrate their belief that all lives matters and is equally valuable regardless of their race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or what country they live in. As you reminded us “the core of Jesus’ teaching was to love your neighbor as yourself, and that designation of neighbor had nothing to do with geography but with SHARED HUMANITY.” Thank you for this and all your columns – it all needed to be said. Please continue because you are making a difference.

    God Bless you and your family.

  12. Thank you, John. Thank you. You say what so many of us are feeling.

    These words hurt my heart to know they are true for so many who claim to know Jesus: “Amy’s response and the responses of many white Christians to my Tweet were telling. They imagine that my capacity for compassion is so minuscule that it can only accommodate my own children. They assume that love for one, must come at the expense of another. They reflect a fearful religion which instills in them that they are perpetually in danger. They reveal a faith rooted in superiority and self-preservation; one that breeds hostility to those it sees as outsiders.”

    It hurts my heart to know that these words are not true for so many who claim to know Jesus: “To claim the Christian faith is to practice the most radical kind of hospitality and the most counterintuitive compassion for the other. Jesus was a homeless, dark-skinned immigrant who modeled sacrificial love and who welcomed to his table both beggar and soldier, both priest and prostitute, both Jew and Samaritan. It’s almost impossible to simultaneously emulate this Jesus, and champion exclusion, superiority, or even protection for that matter. ”

    Here’s the bottom line for all American Nationalistic Christians: Jesus looked a lot more like Saddam Hussein than Brad Pitt.

      • I am so sorry to think that John P read all those ugly tweets.

        Please pray for my mother who has just been diagnosed with third stage kidney disease. She just turned 92 yesterday and I’ve known for a long time that we were on the countdown, but this a fatal illness and she is the only family I have.

        • Gloriamarie,
          I am so sorry. She has my prayers as do you. It matters not how old they get we still need our parents. Mine have been gone for 26 years and I still miss them. Just remember there is a greater family that you have and we care. That helped me. Peace,

            • I have been there and I know that feeling. I will tell you that my mantra is “You are not alone because God is with you” and I have found that after awhile it helps. I cannot know what you are feeling at this moment but please, please know that I am with you in spirit. It is a rough road, I had siblings so that helped. My parents died within a day of each other, hard but some comfort in knowing they were together. I know, weird, but we find comfort were we can. I wish I could give you a big hug, can’t and I can’t tell you it will be ok, but I know you have God with you. I just want you to know that the greater family cares. Peace,

                • I am so sorry for your heartbreak Gloriamarie. My parents have been gone awhile. I know how hard it is to watch them suffer. You always think you are ready to let them go but no one ever is.

                  • I think death is always a slap in the face, no matter how expected, how prepared for or even when it is a blessing.

                    Thank you, Joanne.

  13. My subconscious tells me that these conservative (white) Christians, just like the Romans and many other “Nation civilisations” have hijacked Christianity to serve their best interests and in this case, to keep white privilege alive and kicking…. some know this, many don’t….

    • Unfortunately, they are good at what they do, like the con artist they are, so their followers don’t question and besides it is so nice to be told that because of your birth to white parents you are superior, no matter what you do. Must be nice to think you get the prize and you don’t even have to work for it. For the leaders it is all about power, in this case white power. And as a white follower of Jesus I reject everything they are selling. Hopefully in the end there are more of us than them.

  14. Abba Anthony said: “The time is coming when people will be insane, and when they see someone who is not insane, they will attack that person saying: ‘You are insane because you are not like us’.”

    We so often think that those who refuse under any condition to deny the essential goodness of life are mad. Look at the suffering. Look at the evil. Be real, we say. We are so often inclined to think that those who continue to see life where life seems to be empty and futile are, at best, foolish. Be sensible, we say. But in that case we may be the ones who are mad.

    The truth is that contemplation, the ability to see behind the obvious to the soul of life, is the ultimate sanity. The contemplative sees life as it really is under all the struggle and the pain: imbued with God, glowing with eternity, full of energy, and so overflowing with good that evil never totally triumphs.

    Sister Joan Chittister, Illuminated Life, Monastic Wisdom for Seekers of Light.

      • You are most welcome. I believe she also speaks with the voice of a prophet, as does John P. Her words seemed apt. At least to me.

  15. I quit going to church years ago because of all the hypocrisy. I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts and am looking forward to visiting your church soon.

  16. I’m interested if you identify as a Christian or are just writing to those in the Christian faith. It is unclear to me due to some contradictory statements in this article and it’s not totally clear to me on your page. I think your identity is an important consideration in the conversation and would determine how another believer would directly respond to you. Here are a few thoughts that I hope you receive from the same place of humility in which I present them.

    First, I must disagree that Evangelical Christian’s can’t have contradictory positions within the faith. Although Christian hypocrisy should be diminishing it will always be present, primarily because, at best, we are a dim reflection of Christ. Only He is perfectly virtuous. Indwelling sin and the human flesh will continue to be a source of hypocrisy in the life of a Christian until Jesus returns to make all things new and make us perfectly righteous.

    Second, if you are a follower of Christ you are right to challenge the Churches actions but should do so with the Bible. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says Christians should “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” I did not see any reference to scripture in this blog and it is only the Word of God that will accomplish what it’s Author desires and achieve what it’s Author purposes. (Isaiah 55:11)

    Third, I do agree that Evangelical Christians should not primarily align themselves with a specific earthly region (America first) because I believe a mature follower of Christ will have an eternal perspective. That perspective arises from the scriptures which tell us that we don’t have a lasting city, here on earth, but instead we look to the city that is to come (new heaven and new earth). (Hebrews 13:14)

    Therefore if our allegiance is to Christ, first, it must also be to His prescriptions. His word tells us to pray for our families, friends, city, country and world (including our children and children 5,000 miles away) while we are equipped with the knowledge that what we see now is temporary and our hope is in the best that is yet to come, through Christ Jesus!

    • Yes, John P is most certainly a follower of Christ.

      May I suggest that you re-read his words because I feel that you may have misunderstood his points?

      • Hi Gloriamarie, thanks for redirecting back to John’s words. I am not familiar with his writing so it is possible I misread some things.

        After a second review I am pretty sure I understood his points but I tend to question any so called Christian perspective that is does not bring the words of Christ to bear on the conversation. It is easy for all people, including me, to express an opinion but I am not interested in just another opinion I want to better understand what God has to say about a matter.

        • André, Jon is a pastor in a local church where he lives. Many of us who are Christians don’t feel the need to go around spouting chapter and verse, especially when it comes down to proof-texting, but anyone familiar with the Gospel, anyone familiar with the teachings of Jesus, anyone who knows Christ, would readily hear that repeated over and over again in Jon’s writing.

          • David, thanks for the information.

            I’m not clear on how you are using the term proof-texting. If it is in allusion to my comments I want you to know my desire is to reference a portion of scripture with the complete understanding of its original context while also applying it to the context of the conversation for which it’s meant. I’m sure I don’t always do that perfectly but that is my intent.

            As a Christian, I can see and understand the gospel when it’s presented but this post is read by immature Christians and non-Christians alike. For the sake of both groups, I believe it to be of the utmost importance for us to articulate our positions with a high view of God’s word. We do that by making reference to the Bible so the world may see we depend on an objective standard for truth.

            I hope our brothers and sisters in Christ are careful when we set our gaze on the universal Church to offer warnings and corrections. I also hope we know that “God’s Word has the power to create, regenerate, and sanctify, as it articulates the standard by which all will be judged.” – Greg Scharf (Let The Earth Hear His Voice)

            • “As a Christian, I can see and understand the gospel when it’s presented but this post is read by immature Christians and non-Christians alike. For the sake of both groups, I believe it to be of the utmost importance for us to articulate our positions with a high view of God’s word. We do that by making reference to the Bible so the world may see we depend on an objective standard for truth.”

              If that’s the kind of blog you want, you won’t get it here and since John P doesn’t read the comments, you will not get him to change what he writes to suit you. It’s a blog, an opinion piece, not a sermon. If that’s the blog you want, you will have to write your own. Let us know, we’ll read it and comment.

              John P pays us the compliment by presupposing we know the Bible.

            • Andre. –another benefit of sticking with bible truth (aka ‘scripture!’), is you cannot go wrong. God cannot lie, or break a promise. It’s the rock that our faith is built on. God teaches that we are to conform to His Word. (How can we conform to His Word if we don’t read it, pray it, sing it, meditate on it every day?)

            • Andre’, It’s amazing to me that there are actually believers on here criticizing you for wanting the author to use more Scripture. I agree with your sentiment of wanting to understand better what God has to say about a matter, and not just read another man’s opinion. God’s wisdom vs worldly wisdom.

              • John P. speaks with a prophetic voice. Unless, of course, you consider that the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures spoke their opinions, also.

                John P can write whatever he wants. It’s *****his***** blog.

                If you want a blog with more of this or that or which or what, then write it. yourselves.

                And it’s a crying shame that you don’t appreciate the compliment John P pays you that his audience is already familiar with the Bible and doesn;t need him to point out the patently obvious to those of us who do know that holy book.

          • Another thought that comes to mind, is that it would be simply impossible for John to say every single thing there is to be said on a subject in something that is only a blog piece, an opinion piece.

            I also think John P presupposes that his readers are familiar enough with the Bible that he doesn’t have to mention particular contexts.

        • Thank you, Andre’, for your considered response.

          Does it help you at all, I wonder, if I tell you that, after following John P’s blog for some months now, that I have decided he speaks his gift of exhortation with a prophetic voice? I believe he assists me to understand better what God has to say about stuff.

          It’s as if John holds up a mirror to us American Christians and we either like the reflection or we don’t. Those of us who like the reflection seem to believe John P is speaking a word from God to us.

          Those of us who don’t like the reflection say all manner of crude and hateful things about and to John. I guess the shoe John offers them fits too well.

          John P does not read the comments here. Indeed, I don’t know how he would have time to read all the comments. Some posters, particularly the trolls, seem to spend their entire day writing nastily in response to every single comment. You will soon be able to identify the trolls, not **because** they disagree with John or even yourself, but because of the **way** they choose to express themselves so very rudely.

          Of course, some of the people who are on John’s “side” also choose at times to express themselves rudely.

          My choice is to ignore all the comments by those who have revealed to themselves to be trolls.

        • I was raised Christian and studied the Bible until I was a teenager, but now consider myself agnostic. I think a lot of what is in the Bible is reflected in numerous religious teachings, so I believe in what is behind all of them, but what that is, I don’t claim to know. I appreciate that John does not recite scripture in his writings. I don’t think it is necessary and I probably would not read his blog if he did. I’m more interested in the morals that we all share through the spiritual beliefs that reside behind every religion than any one book in particular. In any case, by not reciting scripture his message is more inclusive of those who have left the Church, so he can reach more people that way.

    • Andre’ I can appreciate that you think it necessary to include scripture for YOUR sake, however, there are many of us Christians who do not, and have never, taken the bible in as literal a sense as you apparently do. His style of writing allows for many of us to continue following the morality taught with out the confines of a document that was written by men, not God. It is inspired by him but still only an interpretation. It is people who bang on the book that push me more towards agnosticism and towards spiritual morality more every day.
      John, I thank you profusely for writing as you do. You are among only a few Christian writers that I still willingly read.

      • Deb, thanks for appreciating my perspective. I know many followers of Christ who have only come to know who He is and what He stood for by following what has been written about Him in Scripture. I’m curious, if you identify yourself as a Christian, what is the basis for your understanding of Christianity if not taking the Bible literally?

  17. I read and watch all sorts of media, but no one can be in all media places at all times. Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical leaders are always COMING TOGETHER in big media events they dream up to JOINTLY PROFESS one thing or another. One of the most recent was this one:

    http://thegathering2016.com/

    Here is the question I have for John P. and the nonfundie readers here:

    “Over the past 44 years of extreme Fundieland and the Religious Right, can any of you point to one or more instances when major fundie leaders have come together in national convocations and conventions like in “The Gathering” to speak out against people like Richard Spencer, Fourth Reichers, Ku Klux Klan, Christian Militia Movements, and all the other assorted hate groups (armed and unarmed) that claim to follow Jesus and practice their hate in the name of Jesus?

    To the best of my recollection, I do not remember Franklin Graham, James Dobson, or any others of their ilk coming together to speak out against these people and their evil. For people who LOVE NOTHING MORE than going out of their way to point their fingers at sin and demand that people “repent and quit that,” one would think that they would have done this long ago. WHY NOT?

    • Because that would diminish their power base and that is what it is all about. Power and money make strange bedfellows. My grandmother used to tell me that all the time. I have come to the conclusion that the money and power and in their case mostly white power take precedent over anything else. They have found a way to use religion to get what they want. And obviously they have a lot of buyers who would rather look at everyone else as being the culprit in their failures than to look at themselves. Fundies are one of my pet peeves. They made life extremely difficult for my husband. They come into a mainline church, cause a split and leave wreckage behind and say look how wonderful we are. Right.

    • Because any sane person recognizes that the groups you mentioned are a tiny, truly insignificant fringe on society which have no meaningful influence or power. It would be like “denouncing” flat-Earthers or UFO conspiracists. Why bother?

  18. Thank you, John, for putting up with all the dreck you receive and read and patiently oppose on this blog. I think your ancient Near Eastern history is taken from the Bible rather than academia in these examples, and I am (mostly) agnostic; but we agree wholeheartedly on one, most important thing: (if there is a God) we are all God’s children. God’s love, and our own, is not a zero-sum game—there is enough within us all for everybody, not exclusively for those who are just like us.

    Christians who practice a religion based on fear and exclusion are getting the teachings of Jesus very wrong, and I am grateful for you, and people like you, who say so, frequently and eloquently, and point to a better way.

  19. An aspect of conservative, ‘Biblical’ faith that has puzzled me for years is a visceral, elemental clinging to the United States of America. Yes, we should seek the good of the country we live in, praying for wise guidance of leaders and peace for people to live their lives…but I thought a believer’s ultimate Home is outside of __this__ world, a place beyond national boundaries, flags, armies or human allegiances.

    It just seems many in the Evangelical/Fundamentalist community are fighting tooth-and-nail to have a place at the seat of power, prestige and influence. The Lord Jesus Christ was a member of a _despised_ nation and people, He died a _criminal’s_ death. The people that followed and listened to Him were largely people that most of us wouldn’t care to associate with: lowly workers, prostitutes, tax collectors….not the people with the Armani suits and Aston-Martins (truth be told, I’d take a DB9 any day (ha))….

    There is an old ‘Doonesbury’ cartoon: Honey says to Duke: “But I thought labor leaders loved the working class”. Duke replies “Of course they love the working class; that’s how they avoid belonging to it”.

    Unfortunately, many ‘Christians’ are avoiding belonging to the poor, downtrodden, despised and Other….

  20. Very good, John. I gave up on organized religion a number of years ago because of the hypocrisy, and the willingness to compromise to the back edge of beyond in achieving their aims. In secular parlance, the Evangelicals can put as much lipstick on their pig/pact with the Devil as they like – but in the end, it’s still a pig. And I have used this quote from the book of Micah in many other forums, but every time someone tries to justify their exclusionary beliefs, I can’t resist. It’s Micah, chapter 6 verse 8: “…..what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” In my humble opinion, that pretty much lets everybody in, not just a certain select few. I also take comfort in my sure and certain belief that when the self-righteous encounter Judgement Day, they’re going to discover that they don’t stand nearly as high in the Lord’s estimation as they like to flatter themselves…..

  21. It seems to me that a lot of Christians in the USA think America is the promised land. I gave up on organized religion a long time ago. I LOVE your work! You are so onto the point!!! Thanks!

  22. Thank you, thank you for writing this. It is so very clarifying and needed. I wanted to re-post it… but .. problem. I am so serious when I ask you…. could you, would you rewrite this at fourth-grade reading level? If you could do that, I can re-post it and maybe those who need to see it will read it and consider it? As it exists in this form, you are preaching to the choir. But thank you again.

    • Martha, John P. will not see this request as he doesn’t read the comments here but he might notice if you request this on FB

    • You can rewrite it at the 4th grade level—-and just give John Pavlovitz and his original article a credit citation (after John Pavlovitz 2017). I feel sure John would like to reach as many people as possible—even people who read only at a 4th grade level.

  23. Thanks John for another good post. As followers of Jesus, our allegiance should be to him and his kingdom values where mercy, justice and compassion get the top billing. It is interesting to reflect on the fact that all we can take with us when we depart this life is faith, hope and love. Love for God and love of neighbour seem to occupy Jesus thoughts, the same should be said of us who dare to claim Jesus as Lord, cheers Mike

  24. John, once again you ‘nailed it’!
    It is completely baffling how anyone can profess one belief/value and deposit that in a bank with opposite beliefs/values.
    We all have weakness of character at times but the idea of such dichotomy smacks of total fabrication of professed daily belief/value/ideals is beyond comprehension.
    In simple words, they live a lie.

  25. Another home run, Paster John. I can no longer consider myself a Christian, because of the cesspool that American Christianity, in general, has become. But if I had two million dollars, I’d send you half to help your ministry thrive. Thank you for your good work. Knowing you’re there, makes things more tolerable.

    • Geno, what Jesus says is more important than what people do in His name. I am no longer comfortable calling myself a Christian, but I still follow Him.

      • Gloriamarie,
        I wholeheartedly agree. I decided a while back that I would not claim the Christian label, I now consider myself a follower of Jesus. I personally am more comfortable with that rather than be thrown in with people who claim the Christian label but don’t appear to follow the Christ. Peace

  26. Beautifully written and expressed. Eloquent and theologically sound. Thank you! I’ll be quoting you in my sermon on Sunday…

  27. Thank you so much for speaking the truth…prayers for you always! You are a breath of fresh air and I’m thankful for all you do in trying to truly spread the love of Jesus Christ.

  28. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your saying all of this in such a public way! Bless you and what you are doing, John Pavlovitz!

  29. Thanks for your courage in posting your position. I left the church years ago and don’t plan to ever return. Interestingly, I enjoy reading your blog maybe it’s because, in it, I recognize the face of Christ.

  30. Thank you John. You always say what is in the heart of many.

    I wonder how the “Religious Right” came into so much power. How do they claim to be so persecuted? I do not understand. Why here, why now? It seems that everything has come together for them to silence all those who disagree with them. Yet is that what they really want? How can they hold themselves over others when there are no “others” left? How will they always claim the high road when there is only one road? What is their endgame?

      • Well when you have time could you tell me your theory of what the end game is. Thank you.

        Oh and where are Joe and the others? Have they been silent before. Everyone does need a vacation and of course has other more important things to do. It just seemed quite sudden. I have only been here since the end of December.

        • Oh, Joanne, never fear. The hate-filled voices will soon be shouting at us, changing the subject, spreading misinformation, if not lies.

      • Charles,
        I would be interested in what you think the endgame is also. I have always thought it was power and greed but would be interested in your take. Peace,

        • Well Kathleen. Sorry to say, it is an incredibly complex subject that involves an awful lot of fear, religion, philosophy, politics, etc. Nothing I could say in a short blog post could ever do it justice. However, when all is said and done, it boils down to one word:

          DOMINION

          The Christian fundamentalists, conservative evangelicals, and the Religious Right want to have 100 percent, total, and complete DOMINION over the following:

          1) U.S. Government

          2) State Government

          3) Local Government

          4) American Culture & Society

          5) Every Aspect of Your Personal Life

          WHY?

          Because then—and only then— will they be free from fear; feel safe from nonfundie American people; and safe from their angry and vengeful God. Ultimately, it is all about THEIR FEAR and finding a way to OVERCOME THAT FEAR SO THEY CAN FEEL SAFE FROM MAN AND GOD.

          • They have concluded that the only way they can achieve this level of safety is to establish TOTAL DOMINION over all the factors that drive their fears. When a person is in a state of DOMINION, that means they are 100 percent in power and control. This gives them both the authority and the power necessary to ELIMINATE the things that make them so afraid.

            • Appreciate you explaining your take, I believe you are probably right. I know that they want a theocracy in their image. The fundies have been the bane of my existence for 40 years. My husband is a retired minister of a mainline church but had to contend with them for those 40 years. They are trying to take over the mainline churches and will do anything to replace the powers that be with their own. Especially in Pence country. They are not content with their own churches they want everyone elses also. Thanks again for taking the time to reply. Peace,

            • Thank you Charles. I do still wonder what they are planning if their Utopia comes into being. All the years of planning and plotting, demonizing their perceived enemies, money spent, and souls demoralized would end up leaving a lot of time on their hands and money to do what? What a horrible future to strive for.

            • Which is why we all cheered when God-Emperor Trump introduced an order that all regulatory agencies can only introduce new regulations by striking down two others of equal weight.

              Yup, that is the move of people who desire total control over all aspects of others’ lives.

              (Charles, you need to stop projecting. It’s growing pathetically obvious.)

          • Charles, perhaps it can be summed as they want a theocracy that installs Levitical law, which is not that different from the Sharia Law they are so terrified of.

            • Will you never cease in your slanders? Do you never reach a point where you have spoken enough foul lies against those you disagree with?

              • Listen up a-hole. She is not lying. I have studied this subject in depth. Have you studied this subject in depth? I stand by what I said—and I stand by what Kathleen Joanne, and Gloriamarie have said.

                • Ah, and here’s the lovely, “tolerant” fellow who damns people to Hell for not agreeing with his politics. But his politics are not his religion, oh no! We couldn’t possibly suggest that.

                • Thank you, Charles, for your support, but I do wish you wouldn’t have used a particular word while you supported us.

  31. Can someone help determine for me whether this is fake news:

    http://www.salon.com/2017/02/06/signal-received-white-nationalists-ecstatic-over-trumps-proposed-policy-change-on-terrorism/

    Has the Trump regime really directed the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies to quit following the activities of our home grown hate groups and right wing militias—like they have historically followed organized crime. This is really chilling if they have. Has anyone here forgotten Oklahoma City, Timothy McVeigh, his membership in such a hate organization, and the bombing of the federal building in OKC that killed hundreds of employees, including small children in a daycare center inside the building. This is DOMESTIC TERRORISM, and these hate groups are the most likely to engage in it—but now no one in federal law enforcement is monitoring them by order of Trump. Please tell me this is fake news!!!!

    • While definitely skewed to the left, I have never known Salon.com to publish lies. Usually verifiable facts.

      This is horrible news. More proof that Trump has embraced the Enemy.

      • Well, verifiable facts and defenses of pedophiles. Those are important over at Salon as well. But I’m guessing those don’t bother you.

          • “Where exactly has Salon.com ever defended a pedophile?”

            Well, they’ve since deleted the articles apparently, but look up Todd Nickerson and his past publications on the site.

          • They never have, of course, David Allen. So such evidence never existed. Salon.com may be left-leaning, but they are not liars, as such sources as Fox News, Liberty News, etc.

        • PS –
          By the way, Zaklog, as Jesus plainly stated, “for with the same measure with which you judge, you shall also be judged,” you best head your own advice to Gloriamarie above about slandering the folks with whom you disagree.

          • I invite you to point to a slander. But until you do, I count this as just another childish, unsubstantiated tu quoque, which is about the level of discourse I expect from Pavlovitz’s fans.

                  • Sometimes….ok, yes he’s pedantic and obtuse but in fairness, Charles has made some observations in the past that demanded I reevaluate and eventually change my perspective.
                    I like this – it means something to me to learn something new.
                    Oh, don’t get me wrong – I give him hell – in my experience – engaging with people who agree with you all the time is not only boring after a while – it also means your not preparing yourself to manage ideas, perspectives and opinions you may disagree with. It’s just a blog – smile, it makes people worry!
                    Just my two cents.

                  • Zaklog,
                    I have finally caught up reading the previous posts…..
                    I understand where you are coming from now….my experience has been different but I will make no excuses for the vitriol directed at you now that i have the full context.

          • Oh, my! So now I have two personal, pet trolls? Aren’t they just adorable with their cute little antics?

            Thanks for letting know, David Allen. I read one comment by Zaklog the Deplorable to learn I would never read another, so I had no idea that Zaklog was my second troll.

  32. Amen!

    As usual, you don’t pull punches, and you hit the nail right on the head. I cringe so much these days whenever the term Christian is used in the media… because I see the vile hatred and cannot see Christ anywhere.
    So many in the church in the west have just completely lost the script. It is so immensely sad. “if the salt loses it’s saltiness, who will make it salty again?”

    Thank you for continually sharing and saying it like it is and shining a light onto the problems.

    • Greg D, while I agree with every word you’ve written, Jesus remains very real to me as does the Holy Spirit, the Creeds, the New Testament. My faith is based upon Jesus and not what faulty human beings do in His name.

    • . I cringe so much these days whenever the term Christian is used in the media… because I see the vile hatred and cannot see Christ anywhere.

      Have you ever considered the theory that the media might be lying to you about Christians? You know, because the world hates us as it hated our Lord and they are the spokesmen of the world?

        • No, David. It sounds like someone who has read the Gospels and takes the words of our Lord seriously. I was directly referring to his words in John 15. You’re a Bible scholar, right? Why did you fail to recognize the reference?

      • No Zak, it is not the media that has given Christians a “black-eye”. Christians themselves have done this quite well all by themselves. Fundamentalism has done it’s own damage. I don’t need to read about it or watch it on tv or see it on Face Book.
        I have lived it. I have a gay son. When we attended a Southern Baptist church (and our children attended the school) my son was abused emotionally and spiritually.
        I didn’t know any of this at the time because he just wanted to graduate and get the hell out of their. And he did and he is an amazing man.
        My son’s coming out began to unravel all of the nonsense I had bought into for many years.
        Say a prayer a certain way. Tithe. Sit in the pew and don’t ask questions. Vote Republican.
        Fear and loathing of the LGBTQ community is just the tip of the ice-berg in the decline of fundamentalism.
        Jesus is wonderful, I follow Jesus. Fundamentalist christians I can do without.
        Christianity has been given a bad rap because of christians themselves, not all, but many.
        It is not the media persecuting christians or christianity. It is the behavior of the person sitting next to you in the pew.
        Zak, you are on an island that is sinking two feet a year, and you are scared. It’s ok, unravel a little and walk toward the light.

        • Zak, you are on an island that is sinking two feet a year, and you are scared. It’s ok, unravel a little and walk toward the light.

          No, thank you. I’m not interested in a “light” that makes heroes out of scum like Harvey Milk. That sounds like the light that comes from what was once the Morning Star.

          • So, basically, you are saying that her son is a worthless fag, and the SBC was right to inflict as much torture as possible on him and her family. Moreover, Jesus was fine with that and wished he could have inserted lead bars into his boxing gloves and gone over to the church to work him over good just for fun. I’ll say this here whether John P. likes it or not: “I really and honestly do believe that you are personally, thoroughly, 100 percent through to your core, a vile and insufferable piece of filth that barely qualifies as human—and that is the best part of you. Do I make myself clear? Satan would have to work 24/7 for 10 years to create something like you, and he must have done just that.”

            • ” you are saying that her son is a worthless fag,”

              No. I said nothing like that. I suggest you stop attempting to put words in mouths of people you completely fail to understand, you stupid bigot.

            • “I really and honestly do believe that you are personally, thoroughly, 100 percent through to your core, a vile and insufferable piece of filth that barely qualifies as human—and that is the best part of you. Do I make myself clear? Satan would have to work 24/7 for 10 years to create something like you, and he must have done just that.”

              Yes, you have made it perfectly clear that you are brimming over with hatred and that you project this hatred onto those you hate. You imagine that we are just as full of rage, bile, and murderous intent as you are.

              You have made it clear that you should never be trusted with anything more dangerous than a butterknife because of the toxic brew of entitlement and psychopathy swirling inside you. You have made it clear that you would happily murder me and my family while we sleep because of the evils you imagine us to be guilty of. You have made it clear that you, like many on the left these days, are very, very dangerous, and for the good of society, we should ostracize you.

      • You are being ridiculous now a-hole. All you have to do is look at what Christian fundamentalists, conservative evangelicals and the Religious Right say and do and then compare that to the words and deeds of Jesus. Like I said, I have studied this stuff from top to bottom—and what the media are saying about the fundies and Religious right are true. You can bank on it.

    • “Is there a difference between terrorism by whites and Muslims?”

      First off, this is a childish category error. Muslim is a set of beliefs, white is a race of humans. The two can and do overlap.

      Second, insofar as there is any validity to this question at all: Yes, Muslims do a lot more of it. I’d say that’s an important difference.

  33. Once again, Pastor John writes a bunch of nonsense, laden with profound hypocrisy! For starters, there is no “conservative” or “liberal” Christianity! There is Biblical Christianity and nothing more or less.

    I find it amazing that John spends all of his time criticizing Christians, but he aligns himself with the far left and their foolery. To march with the women is a point of hypocrisy. To think that a pastor would march with women that had as their spokesperson people like Madonna, Ashley Judd, and Miley Cyrus, is astonishing!

    Madonna is a very whorish and deeply immoral woman, and has minus 100% amount of credibility. To have Miley Cyrus speak is unthinkable. These women give their money, time, and celebrity status in supporting Planned Parenthood, the foremost killer of our unborn children! To have a pastor team up with such an evil outfit is a mockery to Jesus Christ!

    Those women that were marching, were mislead as women have rights in this country…..unless you are a political conservative or Republican, then you will be attacked by the crazy liberals in the DNC.

    I’m telling everyone right now: I am not paying John a bit of attention to his psycho babble. He has no credibility, and no person does that embraces Madonna and Miley Cyrus! There’s no way I would ever attend or recommend anyone going to hear a very weak minister such as John.

      • Gloriamarie,
        It was nice while it lasted. Sometimes it is hard to make any sense out of some of their arguments. It must be difficult to live with so much hate. Peace

        • “It must be difficult to live with so much hate.”

          Why don’t you tell that to Charles? Shall I quote his words to you?

          I really and honestly do believe that you are personally, thoroughly, 100 percent through to your core, a vile and insufferable piece of filth that barely qualifies as human—and that is the best part of you. Do I make myself clear? Satan would have to work 24/7 for 10 years to create something like you, and he must have done just that.

          Now tell me, does that sound like quite a bit of hate to you? It does to me. In fact, it sounds several orders of magnitude more hateful than anything Wayne said. But perhaps I’m imagining that.

          Tell me, why do you people happily keep company with someone that hateful?

          • Zaklog –
            I didn’t know Charles wrote that to you….sounds to me like Charles is working on a new fiction novel….may I suggest you help him out at every opportunity…..
            You see, if Charles respects you enough to spend that much time, to think of something nasty to say….well…..that’s more than he’s ever done for me – other than call me an asshole.

        • Yes, it must be, and truth, I pray for all the trolls here, especially my own personal, pet troll, while at the same time deleting unread anything with a troll’s name on it. I just can’t engage them. I don’t have those gifts. But I do try to encourage and support those who are able to engage the trolls.

          May the Holy Spirit illumine all our minds and soften all our hearts.

          • Gloriamarie: You know nothing about the person and working of the Holy Spirit! For the record, He doesn’t approve of foolery and perverted sexual relationships like you and John embraces.

      • Dear Kathleen,
        I guess, I’m confused….if women were marching because of men like Wayne….are you suggesting…..and I’m just stretching on this….they hate men?

        • No, they don’t hate. I would guess that someone with hate would only see hate in others. I didn’t see hate, I see women who believe they are equal and have the right to the same things that men do. If Wayne believes that women in this country are equal, would that we could turn him into one for a week or so, and then perhaps he might understand what women were about. Women are still paid less than men for the same work, and on and on. You deceive yourself if you believe women have equality. I don’t hate men. I have had some of the most supportive men in my life and if they didn’t march they were there in spirit. So no it is not hatred. I am so tired of the other side trying to introduce hatred into everything. I don’t hate and all of the women in my life that I know don’t hate men. Boy if we don’t agree with someone we must be hating them. Grow up. Peace

          • Dear Kathleen,
            You seem to be really sensitive about the word “hate” – should I have used the word, “dislike” or would that word set you off as well?

            Perhaps once you’ve calmed down – you can explain what rights are denied to you, here in the United States in 2017.
            Or perhaps, you can provide objective evidence that women are paid less than men.

            Last, I was not crass, snarky or disrespectful – additionally I was not seeking an argument or baiting you….
            I suspect your just tired – however, in my experience – not everyone is worthy of being told to “grow up” – perhaps you should save that for someone truly deserving your annoyance.

          • I agree Kathleen, no one I know hates men either. Being a woman, being a wife, giving birth to my sons and being a mother I are what I cherish. I have always been surrounded by wonderful men.

            Both women and men marched. Many walked for the LGBTQ community.

            I am pretty sure a lot of women would gladly hand over the mantle of being the sex most likely to be raped or sexually assaulted. They would love to have men’s bodies be discussed ad nauseam by men who are not doctors under the guise of “men’s health issues”.

            They would really, really love for men to be labeled whores, tramps, and so on when an unplanned pregnancy happens. And anytime men want to take their fair share of being called baby killers if they defend a woman’s voice over her own body it would be about time.

            We have worn these badges since the beginning and will gladly share with those men who do nothing but sit back and judge.

            • Kathleen said to Wayne; “It’s men like you that women were out there marching”.

              So, if you actually take the time and read the entire thread and then finally get to my question…..one can unemotionally understand….Kathleen doesn’t like Wayne’s opinion and then attributes a whole group of women participating in a march because, in Kathleen’s opinion ….they don’t like Wayne’s’ opinion….jeeezz
              I’ve seen this madness before…..click.

              • Wayne pulls out three women’s names out of hundreds of thousands to denigrate a march.

                You use the phrases “when you calm down”, “really sensitive”, and words, “tired”, “unemotionally” and “madness” in your comment to Kathleen. I think you might have omitted the words premenstrual or menopausal. Using so many cliches in your condescending comments says more about you than her.

                • DearJoanne,
                  I will state up front, I have little confidence my perspective of this interaction will be accepted by you or Kathleen however, given the reply, the reaction to a chosen word, on a blog, to a self qualified question…..prudence warrants suspicion, the poster is upset, or if you prefer – any cliche you deem appropriate.

                  Please note, I was not, though apparently you feel differently – condescending.

                  Interesting how easily you deny my feelings simply because I suggested she should calm down – as though I’m not entitled to have a reaction or an opinion to the manner or tone of her reply.

                  Please recall, Kathleen mentioned she was “tired” and I acknowledged that in a literal manner given the entire context of her reply.

                  Please also note, I did not take offense to her ending “jab” rather I suggested it should be used at a different time.

                  I have no way of knowing if Kathleen is menopausal and could really care less.
                  Interesting how this didn’t escape your attention – should I prepare myself – this is an acceptable excuse for rudeness, or perhaps over reacting….you choose the cliche.

                  Last, as for what this interaction says about me – well….it really doesn’t matter….you’ve already made your mind up and to be frank, I would be amazed if anyone else really cares.

                • Evidently, Joanne and Kathleen, Wayne is one of those men who believe we women are second-class citizens whom it is okay to abuse. After all, his language is abusive to women.

          • Folks. Please do not waste your time with Wayne. He is a hardcore fundie—one of the really bad ones. They are taught in church from the day they arrive that they—and only they—are real Christians. They are taught to fear an angry and vengeful God. More importantly, they are taught that they must not question anything they have been taught—because even the most microscopic questioning or doubting on any point may be the “little bit” that will send them to Hell to scream in agony forever. This makes them unreachable. He is a lost cause and does not deserve any of your precious typing time.

          • Kathleen, it has been my experience that there are those here who comment who seem to interpret “disagreement” to be a synonym for “hate” because it is simpler for them to dismiss something rather than engage with the idea that there could be another POV that has more evidence, more facts, more truth supporting it.

            Men also marched. There are men out there who get it that the rules have been slanted in men’s favor for millennia, that that is wrong, and that it is long past time we accepted egalitarianism.

            It’s what St. Paul taught, after all. It doesn’t get more egalitarian than Gal 3:28, does it? “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

          • Kathleen, you’re crazy and amazing! The so-called “women’s march” was a Satanic movement and nothing more! Love? Are you really serious?

            So Madonna telling people, to “F – You” two times was in LOVE? That’s your understanding of love? So Ashley Judd’s rantings was motivated by love? Really??

            Miley Cyrus nasty and despicable behavior is an indication of love?? Clearly, you and the others are not well!

            I know of no woman that doesn’t have the same rights as I do as a man in this country. Yes, some women don’t get paid as much as their male counterpart, but that’s an issue that a lot of women have taken up with their Human Resources departments, and many have won their battles……due to their respect, not their stupid demands and demeaning their bosses!

            I saw NOTHING that looked anything like “love” at that march. The far left is filled with lots of crazy people, and that is why they will continue to lose elections!

  34. It’s a problem because Jesus was born to refugees desperately fleeing genocide. NO – because Jesus was born, he and his parents became refugees.

    And please do not paint evangelical Christians with the broad brush…while you’re at it, why not just gently exhort folks to think about implications of being American AND being Christian.

  35. “Equality means believing that a child living 5,000 miles away is a precious as the one sleeping in your nursery right now.”

    St. Paul would disagree. But you don’t worry too much about the Bible, do you Pastor John?

    • I will take the bait, where exactly would Paul’s teaching’s disagree?

      And while you’re at it, more importantly, where would this disagree with the teachings of Jesus?

      • yup….I need more information on this one…..so until an explanation is provided and gives me or perhaps others, a reason to discern otherwise…this is a crap trap.

      • As for St. Paul, I Timothy 5:8.

        I have an answer of my own regarding Jesus, but first, I am curious, where does he tell people that it is their duty to take care of children on the other side of the world just as much as their own children? Where do you get that from his teachings?

        • I suspect your confusing “responsible” with “precious”. Regardless, all human life is precious – even those lives we are not responsible for….5000 miles away.

          • If you want to talk in some abstract sense that makes no difference how any of us actually live our lives, then yes, that’s true. If you want to talk about what actually guides our actions, then what is precious to us, we care for and protect. The Bible very clearly states that we have a duty to care for and protect our own families in a way we simply do not have to strangers on the other side of the world.

            So no, I don’t agree with your assessment. My children are far more precious to me than some child whose face I will never see is. If you want me to apologize for that or confess some sort of sin . . . good luck.

            • But of course your children are more precious and they are priorities….as are mine and everyone else here….the trick to this silliness lies in the ethical argument.
              You see, it’s ethically and morally correct to say and feel “all life” is precious – however, it then becomes a matter known as “capacity for responsibility”.
              Dan, demonstrated this as he shared in a post below. Not everyone possess the capacity Dan and his wife demonstrated.
              Theologians have been writing on this subject for ages in the context of God and life and why if life is so precious, God allows death, disease, war….etc….
              So, you have nothing to apologize for….in fact, if you felt differently about your children I would be highly critical.

              • The question that was put to John P was…’if your son and another child were in danger of falling to their death, which child would you save?’ (JP didn’t answer the question.)

                If I could only save, one, I’d pick my own son. Jesus saves his Children too. (not the ones that don’t belong to him).

                • if John P was actually placed into a situation like this – I suspect both children would die….you see, self preservation remains the underlying motivation for those you demand from others what they themselves can not deliver.

  36. Brilliant. Approximately 30 years ago a in a cigar smoking backroom session a Political Party took a gamble and moved into the Christian Churches hoping that they could pull out a couple of elections using this strategy. It has worked to a degree but in the process has destroyed the Church. Christianity in America is now labeled on social media and in public opinion as nothing more than a “hate” group. How you get from Jesus ministry and his message of love to this is due to Christians and Pastors getting duped and following man(Political Party) and not Christ. Jesus didn’t go to Rome and pass legislation dictating how others should live and there is no command from God for us to involve ourselves in the political mission. We must either choose to follow Jesus and love unconditionally or continue to follow man and hate. You have delivered this message in the article loud and clear.

    • I guess Willie doesn’t like Christians voting…..

      So Willie, did you vote?

      If you did – your nothing but another self righteous hypocrite – if you didn’t, there’s not much you can say about the secular world you decided not participate in.
      Yup, conflating secular with religion is just foolish – “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God, the things that are God’s”

    • Dear Willie:

      ‘Jesus didn’t go to Rome and pass legislation dictating how others should live and there is no command from God for us to involve ourselves in the political mission.’

      B-A-N-G!

      Bull’s eye, Willie!

      Blessings!

  37. Thank you for doing this sacred work. As I read this, I was so aware of the holiness of God. You encouraged me after hearing critiques of a parishioner, who is deeply disappointed in my convictions regarding the current administration. You inspire me to continue standing firm on the teachings of Christ. We all grow weary – that’s why we need each other.
    Be blessed John.

  38. I have to disagree with your analysis. I firmly believe that it does not come down to race – but religion. Conservative Christians are terrified of Muslims – and for good reason. From Egypt, to Pakistan, to Syria, to Ethiopia, and Iraq – Christians are being persecuted and attacked by Muslims. And yes, Conservative Christians in America blow these fears out of all proportion when it comes to their own safety – but we can’t ignore the root cause of this fear. That is why we see Conservative Christians open to non-Muslim refugees. I have known many Conservative Christians and believe that they are some of the least racist people I’ve ever met. Many have adopted children of other races and done mission trips in impoverished nations. Again – this has nothing to do with racism – but fear of a faith which, although it does not in this country, persecute theirs.

    I also disagree with your analysis of “protecting your own.” The Israelites were called by God to put the Amalekites to the sword – men, women, even children. God allowed this because the Amalekites would never let the Israelites live in peace. They would always seek their destruction. When a people seek nothing but your destruction, you are entitled to defend yourself and “your group.” This is laid out in more detail by St. Augustine’s Just War Doctrine.

    • Aaron – excellent post.
      This is why I challenge the false equivalencies, broad generalizations and regressive liberal ideologues.

    • Fear conquers love? I don’t recall Jesus letting his fear overwhelm his ability to care for people. Fear as your excuse just doesn’t cut it. Only caring when it’s “safe” is cowardice of the highest order.

      • It’s not fear for your own safety but that of your family and community. For example, if a homeless person who you knew nothing about knocked on your door and asked to stay in your home would you let him? I would not. It is not that I don’t have love for that man but I also love my pregnant wife and young daughter. That man could pose a danger to my family. My love for my family would dictate that I not let him into my home but perhaps give him what I could and send him on his way. The same holds true for these Conservative Christians. To them, these people represent a very real threat to the safety of their family and community.

        Again, it is an active choice to chose one over the other. We did this every day. Take for example your choice of car. I bought a very safe SUV out of fear for my family’s safety. Am I giving into fear by not the cheapest vehicle I could find and giving what I would have spent to charity? My point is this – you make choices favoring “your own” over the other all the time. Conservative Christians have taken this to the extreme but I wanted to point out the flaws in his logic. It is a fear base on religion and we make choices favoring our own on a daily basis.

        • So in urban version of the Good Samaritan you check to see if his papers are correct, his belief system is the same as yours, he’s the same race, gender and sexual preference, and if he can pay for your help, before you decide to act? I missed that part when I was taught that story as a child.

          • Simply put, no. Race, religion, etc. are not important. My reaction would the same. I do not know anything about this person. They could be the kindest person in world or the worst person the world. And because I do not know, in that moment I must love my family more. I would not want to gamble on my family’s safety. My point is this, sometimes we do – and must – love some more than others.

            • Aaron, please tell where does Jesus say “. And because I do not know, in that moment I must love my family more?”

              When Jesus says “love your neighbor as yourself” it means that we love everyone equally. Now, maybe we fail to do that, but that is our sin.

              By the way, I think your example of a homeless person knocking on the door is a very poor one because when does that ever happen? They panhandle right out there in the open.

              The total strangers who knock on our doors are evangelists, LDS missionaries, Jehovah Witnesses, pollsters, the US Census Bureau, not the homeless.

              So that example does not serve at all.

          • Dan Johnson, that has been my actual and exact experience in seeking help when I desperately needed it after a heart attack when I could not even so much as feed myself from so many churches, evangelical, Episcopalian, fundamentalist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Orthodox, Roman Catholic.

            I wasn’t one of “theirs” and so I didn’t deserve any help.

        • Aaron. I just think you are doing something famous economist John Kenneth Galbraith pointed out:

          “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

      • “Perfect love casts out all fear.” While I understand that only God can love perfectly, God’s perfect love for each of us should, theoretically, cast out fear from our hearts and minds.

        When we embrace our neighbor in love, that love should, theoretically, cast out fear from our hearts and minds.

        Love is always stronger than fear and hate.

    • Yes. But this assumes that all Muslims are first “a people,” and it also assumes that they are all of “like mind.” So, if one Muslim doe something bad, then all Muslims should be hated and treated badly.

      That’s a bit much—which means your argument is a POS.

    • I am sorry, Aaron, but I have to disagree with you. It is race.

      Christians are not being attacked by Muslims. They are being attacked by Daesch, ISIS, Taliban, Al Qaeda who have all been denounced by real Muslims. Members of those groups have much more in common with white supremacists than Islam, just as white supremacists have more in common with Daesch, ISIS, Taliban, and Al Qaeda than they have with Christianity.

      We need to stop the religion talk and see what is really going on. Jews, Christians, Muslims all worship the same God. God’s name is not Allah, God or Yahweh, those are all titles for the Most High whose sacred name we do not know. Arab Christians say “Allah Akbar” just as we Christians say “God is great” because that’s the translation fo “Alla Akbar.”

      The issue is hate for that which is different. The sooner we accept that the source for hate is within each one of us, the sooner we can see the truth.

      May the Holy Spirit dance in our hearts.

      • The persecution faced by Christians in Muslim countries goes well beyond terrorist groups like Daesh or the Taliban. We point to these groups as their violent acts are so shocking. But Christians face other forms of persecution. For example, the governor of Jakarta is facing trial for blasphemy for even quoting from the Koran. Christians are often falsely accused of blasphemy by Muslims who have disagreements with them. http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/09/world/asia/pakisan-unrest/ It is very easy for a Christian in America to talk about the unity of our faiths – it’s very different for a Christian in Pakistan to say the same.

        Again, if these Conservative Christians were racist than why would they be so willing to help Christians of other races? If they were truly racist wouldn’t they be opposed to all refugees from non-European countries?

    • aaron. i don’t know why John P puts White Supremacists into this equation of Christians and our new Administration. He’s trying to connect dots that don’t exist.

      Islam’s holy books (Koran, Hadith, Sira) say more hateful things about Jews than Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ does. The Koran, has 123 verses that disparages Jews. In fact, 17% of the Medina Koran speaks against Jews.

      Jihad = ‘the struggle’
      Mein Kampf = ‘the struggle’

      http://www.politicalislam.com

  39. Interesting your choice of 5000 miles. My youngest son was born 5000 miles away. My wife was teaching nursing 5000 miles away when she found a baby abandoned with birth defects that wouldn’t have let him survive without being able to get care in the States. We fought the immigration battle to get him home and adopt him. He was lucky as my wife saw so many baby’s that didn’t make it. Each day I watch him as he sleeps. He’s incredibly beautiful. Yet we’ve heard comment that we should have adopted an American baby, and that because of his medical needs, our son is one of those responsible for high medical costs. My wife, without being able to talk to me, and with the knowledge that this little boy was not wanted and would die, played the Good Samaritan instinctively and on her own kept him alive until we could get them home. He reminds me every day that we are all children of God and we all deserve a chance. Anyone claiming to be a Christian who doesn’t understand our responsibility to all our neighbors, is a fraud.

    Thank you for your continued writings calling out this fraud. Keep up the good work

      • That is a beautiful story. The Holy Spirit called you to protect this child. I have known Conservative Christians who have done the same.

        I really think we must be careful in using divisive language like Mr. Pavlovitz has done. Both progressives and conservative Christians have become so polarized that each has resulted to name calling. It does not further dialogue. Both sides must work to understand why each side feels the way the other does.

        • Love thy neighbor as thyself is neither conservative or liberal. Mr Pavolitz it trying to point that out, and that Christians should understand that and live it. The devisiveness comes from those who have taken Christianity and tried to use it as a weapon for their own selfish gains. Again loving thy neighbor has no borders and sees no differences in people. Living as Jesus asked us to involves risk, and possibly pain and suffering. The reward for taking the risk to love is knowing you’ve done right by others including those in need.

        • If John P were being divisive simply to be divisive, that would be wrong.

          However, speaking the truth will always have the effect of dividing those who accept it from those who reject it. Jesus is divisive because Jesus speaks truth.

          The Holy Spirit speaks prophetically through John P’s words and, yes, may divide people. But it is also an invitation to join.

          Personally, I hear only an invitation to cling to Jesus, to what Jesus teaches us, and to embrace the Beatitudes as a way of life.

    • Oh come on Charles – the title was bait….yet another “us vs them”.
      You know, after awhile the message losses its meaning.
      Or is there a plan….like a reenactment of Paul Joseph Goebbels’ principles of communication?

  40. Those who don’t believe that all children are precious often seem to me to think that love is a finite resource. I find the notion bizarre, coming from a family which believes in an infinitely loving God, where we were loved unconditionally and where charity giving was always done as a matter of course. Love is an infinite resource which only grows when it is shared. Yes, I probably would save my daughter over a stranger, but that doesn’t mean the other is worth less as I would always save both if I could. We are biologically programmed to protect our own offspring, but if our love and compassion stop there we have a problem, especially if we claim to follow Jesus

  41. John, As a non-practicing Jew I am also deeply disturbed that the religious right of Israel and orthodox Jews seem to be cozying up to this white extremism. I have to say that I always expected that the far right evangelical Christians would join with the white supremacy movement if social conditions would turn against Israel. But I never expected that Jews would also find a place amongst these haters.

    The whole “Trump phenomenon” seems to be built on this nationalism that is happening around the world. It is so reminiscent of the social discontent that was prevalent before WWII. But I really thought the Jews would recognize it this time around and condemn it.

    Thank you for your blog. You touch on all the subjects that need to be talked about. (btw- I also got a lot of those white supremacy tweeters during the election. I decided to get off twitter for awhile because it felt so hateful. But now after the election I felt that I had to come back and stand up for what I believe in. If I have learned anything at all in my lifetime it is that the people who stood up bravely against fascism during WWII that were the truly courageous.)

  42. I have a theory. As I believe in reincarnation, I am convinced we each have lived different numbers of lives. From an intellectual perspective, this theory is attractive, as I am loath to believe that everything we learn is lost upon death. I also believe we experience suffering and hardship in order to “learn” humanity. In this way, we evolve, like Jesus, to a place where we have compassion for all people; not just ourselves. I believe and feel that suffering I have experienced has opened up my heart to people from very different backgrounds. In this way, I am proud of my failures and my prejudices, particularly when I can see in myself something that needs fixing.

    When I see people speaking as they do, “our womb vs. their womb”, I am, like you, struck by the utter stupidity and ignorance of this devaluation of one life over another. Of course, this stupification is immediately followed by mind word candy as I struggle to find the words (possibly 4th grade level) to explain to this individual the “bigger picture” they have managed to “miss”.

    But then I realize, or suppose, that perhaps I have lived more lives, seen more things, and thus developed my “wordly perspective” on the dangers of “labeling”; anybody or anything. This is particularly dangerous when those labels become an utter war of “us vs .them”.

    Ignorance is dangerous. Ours will be a generation of information gathering as we gently “place” in the minds of those who cannot see, a supreme truth, even if it’s but one spoken or written word at a time.

    Keep talking. Sooner or later it will sink in; somewhere. And, with every realization experienced by someone who could not “see”, the world will be changed.

  43. I need to correct you on one point: I am agnostic but know the good book pretty well. Joseph and Mary were not refugees. They were in Bethlehem to pay their taxes. No rooms available, hence the manger, etc. when they stayed at the local barn.

    • Juli, that’s not when they were refugees. They fled to Egypt to escape the slaughtering of the baby boys. That’s when they were refugees.

  44. You need to brush up on your Christian history. Ever hear of William Wilberforce, John Newton, John Wesley? It was their faith that drove them to end slavery. Many many others as well. If it weren’t for Christianity, there might still be slavery today. Wikipedia has a nice little overview about it, but there are many other resources. (Check the references after the article.) Christianity has had a long history with releasing the captive and teating all me with respect:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Abolitionism

  45. DESCENT INTO GREATNESS–MORE HEADLINES

    Lawmakers push legislation seeking to criminalize protest throughout the US.
    Trump appeals to the military against the press and the courts.
    GM makes $9.4 billion in global profits as it slashes thousands of jobs.
    UAW agrees to sweetheart settlement in Michigan “robo-fraud” scandal.

    Can you feel the Christian-ness and ‘greatness’ returning yet?

    Blessings!

  46. Well said Sir!
    As a Canadian who lived in Europe (and thankfully never the US), I can say you are dead on. The white racists here, as in Europe, who oppose Islam and non-white immigration tend to favour ‘Judeo-Christian’ bigotry and racism to keep Europe white.
    Given the horrible history of white Christian genocide of aboriginals and colonization of the world, I fear what Trump and his European cohorts (increasingly conservative and Christian in character) will do to preserve a ‘white nation’!

  47. Thank you so much for expressing these views. I do not subscribe to any organized religion but consider myself spiritual and trust my insides to guide me. I read your posts because you seem to be a sane and wise voice from a wonderful religious tradition that is calling it like it is. You have helped me sort through my feelings and understand my outrage toward my supposed christian friends and relatives who voted for our current groper in chief . I have no problem with people who are religious if thats what feeds their souls. But I find too often, it can be a block to the soul and can really blind people. You can wield a bible like a weapon and what we are seeing now is a jihad from the religious right who are willing to destroy our country/democracy to get what they want, be it getting a supreme court, rolling back roe v wade, rolling back LGBT rights or eroding the 1st amendment separation of church and state. In my mind, they are no different from any other terrorist organization. It takes brave and noble folk like you to continue to stand up and speak out. You inspire me and please keep up the needed work!

  48. I detest today’s brand of ‘christians’. They come at me screaming I am a pedophile (I’m not, and in fact, I can’t stand kids at all, too loud and high energy.), screaming I want to harm women (I don’t have any interest in harming anybody), that I am some awful monster that should be killed just for wanting to be happy with myself. They have nothing of christ in them at all, just hate. They choose vileness and hate over love.

    They choose demonstrable lies over reality. And then they can’t understand why people like me have come to hate them. Why we look at them as a monstrous and disgusting cancer on humanity. They don’t understand why when someone says they are christian I immediately put my hand on my pistol in distrust of their motives and actions. They can’t grasp how THEIR behavior towards others who are different than them has labeled them as horrible people to be looked at with fear and loathing and distrust by the people they love to attack.

    They can’t see what kind of evil they are because they are too busy screaming in hatred at everyone else who is different than them. So yeah. I detest christians. I view ALL christians with immediate distrust when they identify themselves as such, until they prove to me they are not cut of the same cloth as the people who have made me hate and distrust them out of self defense.

    ~Elain

    • {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{Elain}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

      I am so dreadfully sorry people have treated you this way. You are exactly the person God intended when it delighted God to create you.

  49. I’ve only been reading your essays for a few days, but I have to say that they all go straight to my core, and they scream TRUTH. You are able to articulate what has been disturbing my heart since Donald Trump was declared “Christian” by certain “Christian” groups. Thank you.

  50. I think you make a set of fair points but I have to disagree. I can both love thy neighbor and be very careful about the type of neighborhood I choose to live in. By this I mean taking extra measures to ensure those individuals who are allowed into the US do not intend to do us harm, is not an indication of a lack of love or compassion. It is an acknowledgment that many people exist in this world who do not share your sentiment, would gladly bring harm and terror upon others, and we should be vigilant in protecting ourselves from these individuals. I can both love someone but not be diluted by the belief that my love will somehow overcome their hatred of me or my life or society. This isnt a contest about whether my child is more or less important; to say that our country should not protect itself through realistic immigration policies because that would be un-Christian is misguided. We should not have any immigration policy based on faith litmus tests, but doing our level best to ensure our citizens safety is acceptable.

    • Dear Tom Johnson:

      In the incarnation, Jesus assumed vulnerability because without it, humanity could have no positive relationship with God.

      Faith that is incarnational puts us precisely beside ‘those’ people, just as Jesus in his incarnation came alongside ‘us’ people.

      Much of the world’s animosity arises precisely because we have dealt treacherously with the world. The ruling class arms the nation to the teeth because it needs an armed hideout to ‘protect’ it lest the world reap justice upon us.

      Blessings!

  51. Yes all life is equally valuable wherever it arrives or resides, and yes, a child 5,000 miles away is as inherently beautiful and worthy of protection as my own—and your own.

    True. It doesn’t follow that I ought to neglect or jeopardise the wellbeing of my family or nation in order to indulge in moral showboating. There is a difference between Christ and Mrs Jellyby.

  52. “whose black boot-licking fan boys swiftly descended from their parent’s basements”
    So just how does one descend from a basement?

  53. Kinship?!?!?! They are identical. Maybe that’s what they mean by Identity Movement. Black Christians are actually in the KKK and don’t know it.

  54. John, thanks so much for this poignant post. So sorry that you had to wade through all those slimy, stinking tweets. Know you and your heartfelt words are very much needed, today more than ever.
    @chaplaineliza

  55. As much as I was heartened by this piece, as much as it stoked my courage in the righteousness of my convictions—truly, you can’t claim to follow Jesus while shouting “America first!”, it’s idolatrous; you can’t love the Gospel and hate the stranger—, as much as I chuckled and gave a self-satisfied “Amen!” to riffs like “black boot-licking fan boys” as well as your swipes at their chickenshit anonymity behind which they hide their hypocrisy, logical inconsistency and inbred supremacism; and as appalled as I am as a United Methodist minister at the many people who call themselves Christians while at the same time chugging down the Trumpist Kool-Aid and by their allegiance in word and deed to what he stands for repudiating the heart of the Gospel; as much as I relished in thumbing the edges, the carbide sharpness, of your arguments, by the time I came to the end and looked up from the screen all the good feeling you invoked in me had drained away. A disquiet took its place. My indignation lingered as a sounding brass or clanging cymbal in an emptied out meeting-hall.

    The people you were writing about and taking down, I know them. Or I thought I did before this partisan typhoon. I realized how much it has hurt me and many of us. How estranged I am now from people I have known most of my life, from friends and neighbors who I now come to learn stand on another shore. It is not that their political leanings disappoint me, it’s that their stance toward God and neighbor betrays all I aspire to. And I can’t hide any longer from the truth that they have turned away from and betrayed the very principle and foundation Jesus gave his life to give to us. I am heartsick from having to tamp down my rage.

    It dawned on me, too, as I was reading that no one who does not already agree with it will have ears for what you have to say. All the astuteness of your critique will be lost on the evangelicals and Twitter trolls you level charges against. There is too much contempt seething beneath your words, too much disdain. I recognize it, for I feel it too. We judge them, call them names, write them off. You and me and many if not most of us who label ourselves “progressives” or “liberals”, including those of with the temerity to believe our insight into the righteousness of God is right and true altogether. We have hung the leper’s bell around their necks and cast them into the outer dark.

    We do this, we sweep “those people” into an undifferentiated jack-booted mass. It’s the form of prejudice we’ve reserved to ourselves so that we will no longer have to take them seriously as individuals, so that we will never come face to face with and be affected by the impoverishment of their spirits, an impoverishment that accompanies, in one form or another, every human life. In so doing we avoid having to extend hospitality, we will not have to practice the “counterintuitive compassion” you eloquently call for. We will preach love of enemies to those who think as we do, but not practice it with those who don’t.

    We have become supremacists. I am guilty. I do what the Trumpists do, what the Alt-Right does, though in a different light, to a less pernicious degree and by a more discerning metric. So I tell myself.

    • • •

    Your tweet that kicked off all the rancor, about a child 5000 miles away being as precious as the one in your nursery, and the cynical response about which of the two you’d save from a ledge if one (not yours) were Muslim, this helped me understand the surge in white nationalist hypocrisy and hatred in a way you might not have intended but that I’m sure will understand.

    The notion that my child is as precious as another whom I don’t know and have never seen is, theoretically speaking and from the point of view of the Gospel, is so ethically sound as to be unexceptionable. And it is equally unexceptionable that I will always love my daughter more than yours. This has nothing to do with her worth relative to your child’s or anyone else’s. It has only to do with that she is mine.

    Now, the ledge hypothetical your Twitter respondent proposed is not the kind of situation any of us are ever going to face. It is however the kind of feverish scenario fear summons up. I don’t think I’m presuming too much to say that those who responded so viciously to your tweet are consumed by the fear that they and their children are hanging from from that ledge and the world has already chosen the Muslim, has already determined that Black lives matter more than theirs, as do the brown-skinned immigrant’s, the mother receiving food stamps, or anyone else who is other than them.

    It is not rational. It does not inhere in the facts that prevail. It is largely unconscious, reactionary and impervious to reasoned and reasonable appeal. This is how fear works. It saved us on the savannah and in the bush. It is how any of us would think and act in a world we believe is indifferent to us. It is what any of us would become if we are not moved and transformed by the unexceptionable chosenness that God’s love confers, that God extends to each human life: You are mine and I will pluck you from that ledge before all others every time. When you are possessed of such a love, the other poses no threat to your worthiness or well-being or security.

    We have entered the hyper-postmodern, post-factual age. The poor and down-trodden, the lepers and aliens in our midst whom Jesus would seek out first are the racists and xenophobes, the evangelical idolators and hypocrites who shout “America first!” and hunker down in hateful tribes. We cannot enlighten their minds until we convert their hearts.

    How? How can we minister to and love the hateful without letting them off the hook for their sin?

  56. Hello, John! I notice in your tweet you say “in your nursery” but in this post you switch it to “inside our borders.” Big difference. I agree, if the American church is restricting “neighbor” to Americans, that is a huge problem. But you said my “nursery.” In other words, my child given to me by God. Of course, ontologically, all children are equally precious. But the ones in my nursery are going to be more precious to me and it is not Christian nationalism to think this way. I’m failing to see how you get from “your nursery” to Christian nationalism. I agree, love for our own children does not need to come at the expense of other children around the world. You make some good points in this post but it would all make more sense if you’re original tweet said “my borders” rather than “my nursery.”

  57. Mark,

    Thank you. That is all I can say. I had begin to let my faith falter because of how I see members of my own church family acting after this election. I just don’t understand it. After reading a few of your articles, I think I may just need to find a new church. There are Christians out there who think the same way I do. They understand we are all one and we are all in this together. Sometimes, especially in the area that I live, I feel very isolated. Thank you for refreshing and restoring my faith in my fellow man.

  58. As a recovering Catholic, I’ve found that some of the most devoutly religious people are also among the most bigoted and two-faced. They proclaim they’re children of God or Jesus, wrap themselves in the American flag, point fingers at those who are even the slightest bit different from them and pass judgment as if they were endowed with supreme powers. I recognized the link between hard-core evangelical Christians and White supremacists / separatists years ago. A very fine line separates them. It’s also made the U.S. – the self-proclaimed beacon of democracy – the laughingstock of the civilized world.

  59. Pingback: Intolerables - JaxPolitix - Disambiguations for the political and social musings of Jack Altschuler

  60. Spot on. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I’m so sorry that you receive hateful messages. Sending you & your family love.

  61. Thank you for suck a beautifully written article. My husband and I have been having this argument with friends and family for years. How truly Christian/ Catholic if it is set within parameters. My husband was the president of an Irish Catholic fraternal organization for a very long time, their motto is ” Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity”, that is as long as your were Irish Catholic and white. Pro-life, yeah that only lasted until birth then most of them couldn’t be bothered to help a family in need. Helping someone outside of the Irish community was a constant struggle because of their small mindedness. They really resented being reminded that we were once the hated immigrants. There was always a reason why “that was different”. Bigotry is the same no matter how you sugar coat it. He finally gave up and walked away. We do our own thing now helping who and where we can.

  62. It became abundantly clear this week that as far as I want to believe we’ve come, it takes only one Trump to take us 10,000 steps back. Keep reminding us that we really are all one family, that we have within us the power to find and share the love. Because some days of late, I just want to give up. And giving up isn’t an option. Thanks for all you give…

  63. let me guess the write is a obama fan?
    To use a little girl and print this article is pretty weak. same thing Hilary did and spent millions using children and exploiting them.
    She had children stand in the mirror while they had Trump s voice saying”Your ugly’ Your A pig”
    This is just another unacceptable piece of reckless add and I feel sorry for people that cannot forgive someone when they even apologize and he even insulted himself when he called himself a bit**.
    I wrote a long letter but it got kicked off.
    I see the same people who crucified President trump for saying something very rude and crude 12 years ago and even apologizing for his sleezy comment, but some of it was true about woman letting them grab you.
    I then see people praising Madonna, ashley Judd, rosie Odonell and the other classless woman in Hollywood. I could not believe those oamn brought their children to those marches and acted like they did nothing wrong. Thy are what makes people hate americans.
    Hollywood can go on the big screen and have so many sexual scenes with so many other men and act like they are all innocent.

    I feel this article is just as immature and worse than the rest.
    DID you pay this girl to look depressed? DID she know why she was taking that picture? So many hollywood movies are having kids use filthy words and then hollywood turns around and uses this 2 minute classless remarks about how they are going to explain to their kids about what trump said?? Yes I would love to show them what they put out in the world.

  64. Using a little girl on this add is pretty immature and expoiting childrenn ! President trump has been a good samaritan all his life and Has done so much for a lot of Charities.
    Why would Hilary Invite him to her wedding?
    He makes a 2 minutes of trash talk and its was true about some woman that let guys grab them because i have seen it and had to deal with horny childish boys that tried to do that.
    what happened to forgiving someone who apologized, and I have never seen President Trump ever be rude to anyone . He has been nothing but very professional and businesslike when he talks with all woman. I also saw how rosie o done attacked and teased Trump and even his hair first, he get a lot of people attacking him first and now I don’t blame him for giving them a taste of their own medicine.
    Its hilarious how they call him a bully but he never attacks anyone unless they attack him. In heaven when you bear false witness be very prepared.
    I have had phenomenon happenings in my life everyday and have friends and family witness the powers of god. I and have had dreams that have been proven to all come true and shocked people by telling them things and they don’t know how I know……. Well I have to make this short but look at all of Obamas communist friends and how he said he distanced themselves from some only when he got caught…
    Listen to hateful farrakhan, rev wright, the muslin brotherhood, black lives matter and pretend its Donald trump s Friends… When they say kill all the white people, jews , crackers you will see a pattern.
    I can tell whoever wrote this must have voted for Obama and I just leave it as though you have not dome your homework and are easily manipulated. With Trump… well he has proven to give billions and even saved the New York Ice skating rink when Congress already had millions of dollars to save it but never got it done.
    What about the fast and furious , the men that got killed and the guns that went missing?
    what about the billions of dollars that went missing around the same time Michelle went to Liberia , morroco, and had a vacation in spain.
    I jammed him from my house for 8 years because i knew what he did to Chicago while he was a Senator and hw he only got elected by DEFAULT! The dream I had about them .. well Michelle is worse than Farrakhan. how could people even vote for a man that broke bread with Dr Khlaid AL Mansour, Farrakhan, Reverenr Wright?
    Why did they take michelle off of the campaign trail? She has a foul and racist mouth like reverend wright and farrakhan, mouth and she even admits to her dirty mouth. we got a drug addict, drug dealer, compusive liar , crack addict, alcoholic as a president. He also was having sexual relations with men as a senator using tax payers money to ride his limo to hook up with men. I told everyone exactly what he would do and he did it,, He shined that rainbow on the white house on gay parade,,,, that s not abomination defiling the white house.
    He said marriage was between a man and a woman…. gee everything he said turned out to not match his actions…. but when Trump talks cheap for 2 minutes and it doesn’t match his actions. well american is not out of the woods yet .. we still have to deal with Obama, valeria farrakhan who is creating ISIS in front of everyones faces just like BLM…. Google and listen to his conference 2017 … sounds like michelle, oprah , obama. notice how oprah denied christ after obama won the second time. obama shows up in hawaii to go out with Judge Watson who he appointed and then created a 45 page letter to ban Trumps travel ban , yet the coward watson doesn’t have 1 refugee in hawaii, ( Thats absurd) Obama also appointed 7 judges , in which one ws in the FBI and his connections are all strategic.

    • This is on the wrong article,, supposed to be with a little girl on her desk pouting and its about Donaled trump talking locker with billie

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