I identify as a Christian. Proudly so. I was raised in a church-going home and maintain relationships with friends who will keep me in a good place spiritually. But, I have to say, it really bothers me when I see or hear about people doing very non-Christian things and immediately turning to faith. It makes the rest of us look bad.
Case in point, I’d like to dissect a few real-life situations including addressing recent news of exchanges between Rep. Lauren Boebert and Rep. Ilhan Omar.
Why We’re Discussing this Today
The reason I’m bringing this topic up today is that I recently read an article about some interactions between Rep. Lauren Boebert and Rep. Ilhan Omar. I don’t keep up with the politics of either of these two officials, but I’m familiar enough to know their stances on certain things. That is NOT what we’re discussing today.
Instead, these quotes from the article caught my attention…
In remarks at a fundraiser dinner in September, Boebert said: “One of my staffers on his first day with me got into an elevator in the Capitol. And in that elevator, we were joined by Ilhan Omar. Well, it was just us three in there. I looked over and said, “Well, look-y there, it’s the Jihad Squad.”
If you want to see the video of Boebert’s full account of another interaction she had with Omar, click here.
Note the insertion of faith-baiting elements throughout both videos as a shield (and don’t get me started about the applauses that her comments draw from the crowd in the video — I’d love to see the faces of everyone there and know if they’re in charge of hiring people at large companies [the answer is likely “yes”]).
All that I’m saying is if it’s politics — keep it to politics. If it has nothing to do with religion (as Boebert says in her own words) — fine, keep it non-religion. Clearly, you have some personal riff with your colleague and your colleague isn’t what you say she is (otherwise I doubt she’d be a U.S. Representative. I am just calling it like I see it here: They have a difference of opinion (understatement) on something vital.
This has caused some nasty words to come out — and not that despicable behavior is being tied to- and shielded by- religion (and nationalism). Ok.
Let me illustrate this with another example. Say, I get on an elevator at work. I am a Black man. And ANY clearly non-Black coworker — let’s say they’re White — gets on the elevator with their friends and then says, “Well, look-y there, it’s a Coon Goon.” Either the encounter is recorded or I report it — but it gets to HR somehow. This person then, without apologizing publicly to me, issues an apology to all Black people they may have offended – states that I wanted a public apology after they apologized to me publicly – and then demanded an apology from me. Throughout their diatribe, they also insert how they’re a Christian (or whatever religion you like) and value not harming others – plus a, “God bless America,” for good measure.
Aside from seeing the person is a bit of a scumbag of a person, does this make you look at their religious affiliation a little iffy-like (especially if you see people do this sort of thing often)?
It is nonsensical and brings down others in that group by association to their stupidity.
Also, they’d likely say they aren’t racist and “have plenty of Black friends” as a cherry on top.
That is the scenario I think Boebert and Omar are in, just put another way that doesn’t involve politics.
But, It Doesn’t Stop There…
People do this with a lot of things. Look no further than issues like…
- Gay Marriage
- Women’s Rights
- Transgender Issues
- Any other topic related to Equality
And you’ll see many of the opponents to these issues (PLEASE NOTE – I said “many” not “all”) turn to shield their more personal reasons of discomfort and disagreement toward faith-based things. Hell, at least be honest and just say how you really feel about an issue on a personal level vs. blaming your disregard for other people (or, general lack of empathy) on God.
I am not trying to tell you HOW to feel about these issues. It personally doesn’t matter to me how you feel about these issues. Chances are, I’m not talking to people about them in public settings (because I understand they’re hot topics) – and I believe in the democratic process (even when it doesn’t fall in my ideological favor).
Humans Use Religion for Funny Things
As a species, we have always used religion for odd ends. On one hand, we’ll hear about the joys and bounties of faith, while on the other we’ll see the words of those faiths twisted to exclude.
Case in point, the Bible was definitely used as justification (by some) for keeping Black People in bondage in the U.S. for centuries. And it’s used as a defense by some now to continue bigotry or promote violence all over the world.
Right. Sounding real heavenly there, my dudes.
Look — Have your opinions. I certainly do. You are entitled to them.
Just try not to spin off YOUR personal hang-ups into the hang-ups of entire religious groups. Trust me, everyone in your faith likely doesn’t have the same aversions that you do. They don’t have the same flavor of hatred that you might have in your soul. Chill. At the end of the day, most of the human race just wants to try to be happy and thrive and be left alone.
Ok – I’m done.
At the end of the day, not everyone is brave (or stupid-) enough to just come right out and own their unpopular opinion on their own. Not everyone will flat out stand up and say, “I’m racist,’ or “I don’t like Black People,” because they know that there are repercussions to that in the modern era. It may be called Cancel Culture with disdain, but I honestly look at it as “consequences”. Be ignorant at your own peril.
Do not be shocked that when you say or do intolerant things in America – that a portion of people find you offputting and would prefer that you didn’t have a platform to spread your ideas.
You know better, so do better. Be a good human. Try not to be an asshole and then hide behind the shield of religion because you know there are (literally) a few words about judgment (which probably didn’t belong to mankind) that you can cherry-pick out of an entire tome about love, faith. redemption, community, and salvation. And if you are an asshole… Own it.
Peace, and thanks for reading.
The soundtrack for this post provided by…
– Cover Image © DonkeyHotey (Flickr)
– Body Image 1 © CNN
– Body Image 2 © Allison C Bailey (Shutterstock)