Jesus asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” – Mark 9:33-35
Here’s my dilemma: I want to write something about some of these absurd, blanket, anti-Muslim statements being made by high-profile public figures (just a few of the examples include Donald Trump suggesting a national registry of Muslims – the equivalent of pinning a yellow star on a Jew; Trump’s latest, simply refusing Muslims entry to the USA; and Liberty President Falwell suggesting that if everyone carried concealed weapons we could “end those Muslims before they walked in…”).
I want to write about it, but then I think, “But it’s completely unnecessary to comment, because it’s so obvious that what they’re saying is ignorant, xenophobic, bigoted, fear-mongering, inflammatory, wrong, un-American, and stands in diametric opposition to the most elementary teachings of Christian faith…”
Then, having said that to myself, I read the news and I see that Trump’s poll numbers have gone up, that people like Jerry Falwell Jr. are lauded and applauded, and that such pronouncements – distortions and lies that marginalize and place blame on an entire religious culture – seem to tap in to a vast reservoir of intolerance located barely below the surface of public discourse, a repository of narrow-mindedness that is too easily mined, too readily manipulated, too deftly exploited, and – ultimately – too comfortably controlled.
In short, a huge number of American Christians seem to be handily hooked by this cynical ploy, and then reeled in without so much as a question.
And that – friends and readers – worries me much more than the rhetoric that has been designed so cleverly, and deployed so cynically to capitalize on such fear.
RADICALIZED: Last week’s shooting at the Colorado Planned Parenthood Clinic was the work of a “radicalized” Christian. Should we ban Christians from international travel, or open up a national registry so we can keep a closer eye on them?
Today’s political and religious rhetoric is inflationary. Those who contrive to make intolerance inflationary too, and violence, and bigotry, and fear, are moving this world more resolutely away from solutions and toward a tragic conflagration.
When “Christians” talk about “ending” Muslims, and requiring religious litmus tests before the huddled masses yearning to breathe free are allowed access to our air… then they are not representing Jesus any more so much as their own made up religion of exclusive, jingoistic, secular, vaguely Christianized nationalism.
Jesus said our response should be, always, to love our neighbor, that we should do everything in our power to help, and that – if we really do want to be leaders, the best approach is to offer ourselves as “the servant of all.”
Jesus asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest…