Saturday, July 23, 2005

It's starting to get ugly in here

I told myself that I wouldn’t make this a political blog. I just wanted to map out my spiritual journey, not discuss my political beliefs.

The two streams crossed in 2003.

Through most of my Christian life I held a pretty conservative outlook. The preachers I listened to, the books and magazines I read, they all preached conservative politics along with their Christianity. In 1984, when I voted for the first time, I couldn’t believe that a Christian friend of mine wasn’t going to follow my lead and vote for Ronald Reagan. I proudly cast my good Christian ballot for Reagan in 1984, Bush in 1988, fell off the wagon in 1992 and voted for Perot, but hopped back on in 1996 and voted for Dole. In 2000, when the results of the election were in doubt for 30 days, I was horrified at the thought of Al Gore as President. Christian=conservative, specifically conservative Republican. That’s what I believed.

But there were cracks in the armor. The man I respected more than anyone in the world, my grandfather Stanley MacNair, was not conservative. During World War II, instead of receiving the minister’s exemption he was entitled to, he chose to file as a Conscientious Objector, in order to stand with members of his congregation who also filed this way. I have a lot of admiration for his stand. I began to develop an anti-war stance of my own

In 2003 George W. Bush declared war on Iraq. Even though I had developed some stances that were pretty radical compared to the people I was hanging out with, I wasn’t against this war at the start. And I’m not against war outright. We were attacked in 2001. We had the right to defend ourselves. What I was against was the utter glee which Christians took in seeing the Iraqis “get theirs”. I was against a pastor praying that the bombs would hit the right targets. I was against people praying that Sadaam Hussein’s sons would be killed. War may sometimes be necessary, but it is something to be entered into soberly, not joyfully.

The 2004 election was when things started to get ugly. On one side you had George W. Bush with all of the conservative Christians who thought he could do no wrong. After all, he’s a man of God, and no man of God would ever sin, right? (wink, wink) On the other side you had the antichrist, John Kerry. (Don’t laugh, I know people who called him that.) Anyone who supported Kerry couldn’t possibly be a Christian. After all, he’s a… Democrat! He was seen at anti-war rallies in the 70’s with Hanoi Jane! We all know who the terrorists would want to see elected! The gloves were off and the fight began, and Christians on both sides behaved in ways that Christians never should. Name-calling, mudslinging- it was disgusting. When Bush was elected for a second term, normal intelligent Christians gloated, uttering statements which were the equivalent of a five-year-old thumbing his nose and saying “na na na na na na!”

I finally had enough. I had been saved for 22 years in the fall of 2004 and had seen many things. I had put up with a lot of crap and I was finally tired of it. I wrote a short e-mail to my friends and said that if this is what a Christian is, I was done. I could not call myself a Christian if it meant being glad when people died, kicking homosexuals to the curb and supporting politicians who used Christianity for their own ends. I gave a collective middle finger to the whole Christian movement, left and right.

I wanted out.


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