As a preface, this post is in no way meant to lay blame on Christianity or Christians in general. I am Catholic (and despite what I’ve heard many times, Catholics were the first Christians, okay?) and do not believe that the majority of Christians are this way. But I had to write about an observation I made yesterday.
I was at the swap meet yesterday, searching for those interesting unique beautiful old things as I love to do. I walked up to a booth. The woman was standing under a tent, behind a table covered with baubles. I’m drawn to sparkly bits and pieces, so I walked up to see things a little bit closer. And overheard a conversation between the vendor and another shopper.
It went something like this:
Vendor: “All the crap they’re telling us now; why should they tell us what to believe?”
Shopper: “Yeah! Too many damn liberals in the churches now…”
Vendor: “I mean, why should they tell me what to think?”
Shopper: “I know! What gives them the right to tell me I need to be diverse? I can hate people if I want to. I mean, why do I have to love colored people?”
Mind you, this is California in 2008, not Alabama in 1965. I almost gasped audibly and started to tiptoe away. But was struck by the vendor’s response: “I know! I mean, Jesus wasn’t diverse! He said, ‘you’re either with me or against me.’ He didn’t bother with people who didn’t listen to him…”
Wasn’t Jesus the one who said “Love your neighbor”? How about all his hobnobbing with lepers, prostitutes, and tax collectors? What ever gave you the idea that he was hating on the people who didn’t follow him? And even if he hadn’t been all about the outcasts of society, what would make you think he’d promote hatred?
I couldn’t stand to listen any longer and disgustedly walked away. But as I was waiting for my hubby to finish shoving the new (old) bike he bought into the back seat of my subcompact, I wandered back into the area. I happened across the same vendor’s booth just as she was talking to another shopper about her hours: “I’m here every Saturday, and I’ve been here a few Fridays too, but they’re very small. But,” she continued, motioning to herself with a little shrug,” I’m Christian. So I’m never here on Sundays. I believe in going to church on Sundays.”
She sounded so self-riteous, so superior. So extremely pious. But I had heard her hatred and bigotry in her earlier discussion. No amount of going to church is going to convince me that she is a good person if she feels that it’s acceptable to hate other people. No number of zealous proclamations of Christianity are going to demonstrate that she’s actually taken Jesus’ teachings to heart.
What would Jesus do? I’d like to think he’d knock some sense into this woman.