Monday, September 6, 2010

Lord, Protect Me From Your Followers

Photo found at parody site Landover Baptist Church. Sadly, the article link below is true.

I read this exciting newsflash tonight.

I try really hard to remember that many Christians I know are fantastic people. But when this kind of shit happens, I get sick to my stomach.

When we moved to the Pacific Northwest years ago, Professor X and I joined a church. We attended services, participated in the parents with young children group, helped with Vacation Bible School. One of the things I really loved about the whole deal was that the pastor who led the new member class spoke to us about his view that there are many paths which lead to heaven, that our denomination wasn't the only way. He was accepting of other religions and embraced learning about others' beliefs.

It seems like so many Christians now adopt the "my way or the highway" attitude when it comes to faith. And when I see behaviors ranging from a teen's thoughtless post attacking non-Christians to this sort of organized, pastor-led libricide, I wonder if we are headed for a real cataclysm.

I talked to a man tonight who clearly enjoys saying provocative things about politics and negative things about our current administration to elicit responses from others. One of my friends witnessed our exchange, and I think he was surprised I didn't bother to respond to the man, voicing my own opinion. Why bother? I have had experiences with such folks in the past, and it's a waste of my time.

We engaged in some further chitchat, and he said that politics was like armpits. "Both sides stink," he chortled, obviously considering himself a great wit. I was moved to comment that I liked the Irish system of government, with more than two parties, so that leaders were compelled to negotiate and form coalitions to create policy. I think that would be a good system to adopt here. He had no response. Apparently a serious discussion of alternatives wasn't fun.

My mom used to say that politics was a dirty business, and that our governmental system wasn't any good, but it was still better than any other nations'. Mind you, she hadn't studied any of the other countries' governments, but she was a proud American. We don't talk politics much these days, but I am betting her opinion hasn't changed much. I always thought it was kind of cool that other countries had different systems, and found some good in many of them that would be worthwhile for us to consider.

After reading tonight's disturbing news story, I can't help thinking that having multiple religions is a good thing too. With our current system of Democrat vs. Republicans, all too often people fall into a sort of sports fan mentality, cheering on "their team" rather than considering whether a policy is good or not. And when leaders of Dove World Outreach Center think it's okay to burn the holy books of another religion in a kind of fucked-up rally demonstration for their team, I am angry on behalf of the religion they're attacking.


Stu said...

I knew you were not in the fightin' mood...

Will you still hang out with us? ;)

The burning of the Quran is just stupid. Extremist Christians are just as harmful as Extremist Muslims they make the regular believers look like assholes.


Fantastic Forrest said...

I will ALWAYS want to hang out with you guys. That is one thing I WOULD fight for. :-D

You are so right about the effect of extremism. And so eloquently expressed!

Captain Dumbass said...

I just don't understand the logic behind that. Not only is it just plain stupid, but you're just inviting more attacks on your own people.

lisleman said...

when I found out that this minister had a following of 50 people it made sense why he did it. It's amazing that such a small group can get so much media attention. I wish we could turn the amplifier off on the media.
Gee what distasteful thing can I do with a cross? - oh wait, I guess we might find out with the reaction to this.
Being disrespectful was NOT something taught to me in religion class.

yogurt said...

Intolerance is ugly. And it's almost always based in ignorance.

People who consider burning a holy book are usually those who don't know any of the good people who follow that book. In this instance they probably only know the media images of Muslims. Of terrorists. The badness. Failing to appreciate the full range of followers.

The older I get, the more intolerant I am of the ignorant fools. This would be one of the few examples of intolerance based on education ;)