“…he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.” (Isaiah 5:7)
The above verse of Scripture shows us that God wants justice and righteousness in the world; He wants mercy and compassion to go forth from those who claim Him to be their Lord and Master. Yet, what all too frequently ensues is oppression and torment visited upon others in His name.
If I was the very Devil himself, I would seek to bring down Christianity by placing vocal spokespersons in key positions so that they could have access to the media, such as TV, to not only make Christians look like a pack of harsh, judgmental freaks, but seek to demonize the underdog and the marginalized in our society. Unfortunately, this tactic has been working all too well! Intelligent, sensitive people are frequently turned-off from even exploring the Christian message and the evidence for the Resurrection because of some professing Christians who are hate-mongers!
By selectively picking out certain verses of Scripture, they cause a climate of hate that all too frequently redounds to the disadvantage of marginalized and hurting people. Historically, these people have been people of color, women, gays, and the poor.
The ignorance and biases of the haters and hate-mongers who claim to speak for God, the Bible, and Christians hammer home God’s plea to each and every one of His children, “O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” (Isaiah 3:12)
Not only do many followers of these haters and hate-mongers have their walk with God and with their fellow man or woman destroyed but they themselves can become destroyed in the process. “For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.” (Isaiah 9:16)
It is easy to hate! The famous nineteenth century sociologist, Emile Durkheim, posited the closest thing we have to a law about social life, which in essence says, “If there is a threatening out-group, the in-group unites to protect itself against it.” Indeed, we have a vested interest in creating out-groups so that we can cement in-group cohesion, thereby giving us a sense of belonging and a feeling of superiority. Moreover, “hate” is a great energizer that can give one a sense of purpose and meaning in his or her life, particularly when it is done in the name of God and in the name of “love.”
By not showing mercy and compassion to all people who are made in the image of God we profane God to them and, most importantly, to Him. These professing Christians, these false prophets, these haters and hate-mongers who hate in the name of God are the people who God talks about when He says, “And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.” (Isaiah 1:15)
They are arrogant, haughty, and proud in their veneer of civility and in their feeling of superiority. They help create a climate of hate where people on the edge can kill and maim and actually believe they are doing it in the name of God.
When a black man is dragged almost three miles to his death, when a person who performs abortions is killed, when a gay man or woman is taunted or killed, when a person of color is disparaged or lynched, when immigrants are discriminated against, when people who think and/or act differently from us are viewed as the “other,” the “stranger,” we set up the climate of hate.
Anyone with even a nodding acquaintance of Scripture knows that we are obligated to love and embrace all other people; show forth mercy and compassion. When I see a professing Christian disparage TV (a medium for which I am certainly no apologist) because it allegedly has twenty-five gay characters out of the thousands portrayed, and who wants programs rated for “gay content,” it makes me sick. When I see another professing Christian, who is frequently
on TV talk-shows, sees a doll meant for babies projecting his homophobia on that object by seeing it as a gay doll that, too, makes me sick.
When I heard a popular TV evangelist say, to loud applause, that the reason some women are lesbians is because they are “too ugly to get a man,” or when another influential “Christian” says that the anti-Christ is now alive and is a Jewish male, that is also profoundly offensive. Hate-mongering, of course, is usually done under the guise of “love” and “values.” It is rarely done in the name of what it is, “hatred!”
Christians must stand up to haters and hate-mongers in our midst who practice the politics of exclusion and seek to deny civil rights to others, particularly when they do so in the name of God. They are purveyors of a false gospel of legalism and perfectionism that reflect their own prejudices which they impose upon Scripture, and they have the temerity to seek to redefine the Gospel of grace, faith, peace, love, reconciliation, and inclusiveness to be consistent with their own prejudices for which they are frequently handsomely rewarded.
If we don’t actively confront these wolves in sheep’s clothing and the injustices that these purveyors of a false gospel perpetrate upon others, upon our society, upon the name of Christ, upon the Church, upon Christianity, and upon each and every Christian, we are not only condoning their false gospel of legalism that has galloped into the Church, and that has frequently been fused with the most reactionary forces in secular society, but we are tacitly condoning the very
hatred and politics of exclusion done in God’s name that these very limited human beings espouse and represent.