The Christian War on the Mission of Christ

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Christian war on Muslims

We’re God’s Children, and You People Aren’t: The Christian War on the Mission of Christ

The 21st Century has not been kind to Muslim Americans. The reasons for such are obvious—if you need this article to fill you in on the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, there’s a good chance you’re a freshly-thawed out Walt Disney. We were told we’d finally found a cause to melt away our differences and focus on our commonalities as lovers of our country. Well, some of us. Islamophobia sank root in us that day, and like any marginalized minority, those who truly detest violence and genuinely love the American promise of opportunity were lumped in with that scary, nefarious “other.” And as the past fourteen years have shown, talk of the U.S. being a “Christian nation” has been no song of joy, but a divisive, cacophonous holler.

Those who have a more informed handle on their Christian faith—that to walk with Christ is to love thy neighbor, period, stop making excuses—couldn’t help but be dismayed by the naked xenophobic hatred coming from those who pretend to have Jesus in their hearts. With the recent atrocities waged on Paris, the anticipated backlash against Muslims was a weaponized kind of bluster at best. Jesus wept, as did many in his fold—for the suffering of all things, without exclusivity. In a heartening move, a Minneapolis church summoned its better angels and reached out to those blindly vilified with this online statement:

“If there is anyone in the Minneapolis area who is Muslim and afraid to leave their home out of fear for some kind of backlash, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We would be glad to escort you where you need to go without advertising our presence…”

Sorry; “church” in this instance is not the correct term. Technically, it’s “temple.” The statement was issued by the Minneapolis branch of the Satanic Temple.

Say whatever you like about the source of such compassion or its recipients—this is unquestionably an act of good. If the Christian is called to perform selfless acts, then the good deeds should matter far more than the players involved. So contrast the Satanic Temple’s message with that of Franklin Graham, head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association:

In the hours after the horrific attacks, some said ‘Terrorism has no religion.’ Do not be fooled. … In this case, terrorism does have a religion – its name is Islam and its god is Allah […] Islam is at war with us – we’ve witnessed its evil face firsthand over and over.”

Bear in mind, Graham is but one bad apple in the bunch that is Christianity. We cannot let his hateful ideology taint the goodness of said religion as a whole. Only an idiot would do that. And to be fair, even Graham himself cannot be wholly bad: he heads an international relief organization known as Samaritan’s Purse, and makes a reported $880,000 annually doing it.

The gross disparities between teachings of Jesus and the actions of some in his flock are enough to get any internet blowhard screaming: You’re doing your religion ass-damned-backwards! Christ readily dined with society’s most reviled, the gentiles, the prostitutes, the tax collectors—he welcomed all. He rallied against the Pharisees who controlled the Temple, whose draconian take on Mosaic Law kept those they deemed “unfit” from redemption. Go ahead and quote your Old Testament verses that would seem to justify your loathing and allow you to sleep soundly—if you’d call yourself a Christian, your example should be Christ, not the wrathful desert deity of old. Don’t you know how guys soften up once they’ve had a kid?

But that would be sheer editorializing. That would be no more than mere opinion. If the question at hand is the mission of Christ, sincere adherents can never place their trust exclusively in another person’s sermonizing. Fortunately for those seeking an unadulterated message, we indeed have access to the source; as Ken Ham said to Bill Nye, “There is a book.” Everyone with even a passing curiosity in the instructions of Jesus would do well to actually read the Bible —available in all fine book sellers. A greatest hits-style list of popular passages might include Matthew 5:1-12, which details the fabled Sermon on the Mount. Attributed to Jesus Christ Himself, it includes such verses as “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy,” “blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God,” and a litany of other beautiful anti-Republican truisms.

Mark 12:31 too would surely make that greatest hits list; this is the famed passage in which Jesus implores his followers to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The meaning of this one, strangely, has been subject to some contentious debate, typically over what precisely constitutes a “neighbor.” People who engage in such debates tend to be the worst kind of morons, as Christ explained exactly what He’d meant in Luke 10: 25-37. Read it. The link is right there. Read it. This article will wait until you’re done.

Like our example from the Book of Mark, this tale too has been read in various ways. Sometimes these are misread deliberately, as when a given nebulous cause—Nazism comes to mind—would pervert the scripture to suit their needs. But theologians tend to agree on the ethical intent of the story; as Francis Schaeffer put it, “Christians are not to love their believing brothers to the exclusion of their non-believing fellowmen. That is ugly. We are to have the example of the good Samaritan consciously in mind at all times.”

If you clicked the link, you know: that was the Parable of the Good Samaritan—the supposed inspiration for Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse mission. One can’t help but wonder if Graham and those like him honestly get the point. For some, “What would Jesus do?” is a sincere thing to ask oneself; for others, it’s a bracelet worn to flaunt their self-righteousness. If your Jesus is one of hate, you war on the mission of Christ—you’ve got no real right to call yourself a Christian. You might consider joining that Satanic Temple instead—but change your spiteful ways first. Those people have standards.

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