My friend Kristin Putnam wrote this piece as the murderers and lunatics were roaming the halls of Congress, smearing shit on the floors for Baal and hunting for elected officials to murder in cold blood for the greater glory of Moloch.
By throwing unwavering support behind Trump, a man who is perceived as a liar, cheater, bullying, violent, racist, Christians are now seen as lying, cheating , bullying, violent, racists. Many in society, rightfully believe that lying, cheating, bullying, violence and racism must be opposed. The resistance some Christians are experiencing is not because of the teachings of Jesus Christ. They are being opposed and “feeling persecuted” if their Christianity smacks of lying (spreading disproven accusations about voter fraud or global pandemics), cheating (trying to unconstitutionally throw out valid ballots, calling election officials to “find the votes” needed to win), bullying (yelling, kicking, threatening and coughing on an employee who asks you to wear a mask), violence ( separating children from their parents at the border, waving guns at protestors walking by, crossing state lines and killing opposing protestors, armed rallying inside state capitals, outside the homes of election officials, or outside congress as they ratify the results of a fair election, breaking into the US Capitol, threatening elected officials), and racism (insisting that systemic racism doesn’t exist, ignoring the plight of the oppressed, perpetuating racial stereotypes in conversation/joking).
“But I haven’t done any of those things!”
Have you spoken against them? Because NOW IS THE TIME!
This behavior can not go unopposed by Christians.
Aside from all of the exceptions I hear you yelling at your screen that have prevented you from speaking out, it is important to realize that this perception IS the reality of where we are in history. And here, besides the threat to our democracy, is the danger of it all:
The monster of “Trumpian Christianity” that is loud and hogging the spotlight MUST be opposed. And by labeling this monster as simply “Christian” means that the opposition that is coming rightfully for that satanic nonsense, will become the unjust persecution feared by many Christians today, but it will be directed at all of Christ’s Bride–Trumpian or not.
As we stated before, nuance doesn’t exist in public discourse anymore.
By claiming persecution right now, some Christians have embraced the evil that is being fought against and are creating the monster that will usher in the true persecution they are attempting to prevent. It will be a self fulfilling prophecy, not foisted upon us from the left, but created from the panic of the right looking for a savior and role model in a deeply flawed President.
The world is in desperate need of the hands and feet of Christ to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to give shelter to travelers, to visit the sick, to visit the imprisoned, and to bury the dead. Christians are empowered in these acts of mercy by the Holy Spirit, which enkindles in us the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, modesty, self-control, and chastity.
These stand in stark contrast to the vices that are the fruit of Trumpian Christianity.
We will be known by our fruit. Choose wisely.
Let us humble ourselves, turn back to Christ, and cast this cancerous movement back to hell where it belongs.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them.”
It is poetic that these criminals stormed the Capitol on Epiphany. Mary is told at the Presentation:
“Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel,
and for a sign that is spoken against
(and a sword will pierce through your own soul also),
that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34-35)
It is the nature of Jesus that he reveals. He reveals the Father to us and us to ourselves. Merely by the fact of his being, he does this. People react to him and can’t help babbling out who they are, revealing the thoughts of their heart. On Epiphany, a pack of wolves lying that they were acting in his name shouted (or perhaps “howled” is the better word) who they were and what they sought: death. They tried to lie that they acted in his Name. They were revealed in the stark daylight of Christ as the deadly, stupid, dangerous antichrist cult that they are for the whole world to see and reject.
Now we have a new Administration, but the toxins of MAGA continue to flow through the veins of the American Church and the nuts are still out there. 74 million voted for this criminal and 29% of Americans–about 44 million, still approved of him even after he launched a violent coup of assassins and lunatics against the Capitol. And the overwhelming majority of that 44 million regard themselves as “faithful” Christians.
How to navigate such lies? Ignore what they say. Watch what they do. Kristin is right. Listen to Jesus: By their fruits you will know them.
Good column, Mark, as always. It is why I keep coming back here.
But I also think it is deeply flawed because of the assumption that Trumpian Qhristianity- hopefully, the last time here I have to write that name— is some kind of a new thing. It’s not a new thing at all, but a very old thing. What’s new, aside from the embodiment of the former occupant of the White House as some sort of modern incarnation of Jesus, is the Internet and its ability to connect people who couldn’t find each other before, but have now found each other. Unfortunately, they haven’t found critical thinking. What’s new is nonstop news cycles, entertainment and propaganda masquerading as fact and news, and republican retreat from the reality that the rest of us share through the commodification of fear. What is also new is the OPEN fornication of power, money and religion, as exemplified by the the re-emergence and open embrace of racism, xenophobia, and religious bigotry.
So much of this has been enabled by our compliant Supreme Court, which has declared that money is speech, corporations are people, organizations can have religious beliefs, and the beliefs of religious entities can have dominion over the lives of people who don’t share those religious beliefs.
Everything that Ms. Putnam wrote about as making an appearance NOW has been very visible for most of my 70 years. I saw the photos when I was young boy of GOOD CHRISTIANS opposing the end of segregation and Jim Crow, their faces twisted with hate and despite. Interracial marriage was also labeled anti-Qhristian, as gay marriage is today. When I was still a boy, the details of Nixon’s Southern strategy – the exploitation of racist Southerners (democrats) and their co-optation into the republican party, something which Lyndon Johnson predicted with complete accuracy when they passed the civil rights act of 1963- became quite apparent. The Catholics finally decided, to their credit, that maybe the Jews really weren’t responsible for the murder of Jesus, but the Baptists were quite happy to declare that “God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew“. That was 1976 or 1977. A couple of years later, when I was a young man, Anita Bryant started her campaign of vilification, lies, slander, reviling, and blaming gay people for every single possible thing that was ever wrong with heterosexual society. Tellingly, heterosexual society, not us, because it was all accusation/projection/confession.
At the same time, the elder Falwell decided to fornicate with political power and formed the moral majority, which was neither moral nor a majority. He, like Bryant, fed the American public a steady diet of lies, fear, despite, lies, hate, alienation, lies, xenophobia, homophobia, lies, and bigotry. Reagan, like Nixon before him, saw his opportunity for more political power and more money with this unholy marriage between his party and the Religious reich. When gay men started dying of AIDS in the early 80’s, The Qhristian right, right to lifers to a man, was every bit as gleeful about the deaths as they are scornful about the Covid deaths now. I still remember with horror and disgust the fundamentalist sister of my former boyfriend informing me that pretty much, he got what he deserved. This Coming from a woman whose slutty daughter was the product of her own slutty behavior 25 years earlier.
Ms. Putnam wrote: “Christians are now seen as lying, cheating, bullying, violent, racists.” Well, Blanche, lie down with theological dogs, get up with theocratic fleas. Most of my friends are atheists. Not one of us would say that about Christians in general. All of us would say that about conservative Christians IN GENERAL. My oldest friend in the world, nearly 60 years, is an evangelical Christian, and he is appalled at the behavior of hyper conservative Christians, especially their support of The former occupant of the White House. Especially in his own congregation. So are his friends.
Apart from the fervent anti-theists, a minority of atheists, few of the people commenting at my favorite websites would say that either. We are all of us quite capable of distinguishing between those religious people who use their faith to make their lives and the lives of others better, and those who use their faith as a club, using God to justify what they cannot justify by any other means.
Bad theology produces bad fruit. It always has, and it always will. But the funny thing is, it always seems to be conservative theology, Whatever that might mean, that produces the bad fruit.
You wrote: “And by labeling this monster as simply “Christian” means that the opposition that is coming rightfully for that satanic nonsense, will become the unjust persecution feared by many Christians today, but it will be directed at all of Christ’s Bride–Trumpian or not.”
With all respect, Mark, you’re doing exactly what they are doing: claiming persecution. It’s not here now, and it’s not going to be, in my estimation. Have you ever noticed that you don’t get much of a protest against liberal Christianity, but against Qonservative Qhristianity? As I have said many times on these very pages, you would be surprised how little attention anybody would be paying to Christianity if it were not for the antics, animosity, and actions of the hyper Qonservative Qhristians?
I think I can speak for the majority of both liberals and atheists that we’re not “coming after” you. I don’t think there is all that much interest in that. The same promise was made when gay people were finally allowed to legally marry: Christians would be persecuted. It didn’t happen, and it’s not going to happen. Well, except for that handful of Bakers and florist and photographers whose delicacy of feeling is matched only by their desire for calling accommodation persecution. Most of the gay weddings I photographed when I was working were in churches. Funny, that.
What there is, is an interest in placing limits upon religious privilege and religious license to interfere in the lives of others, to take millions of dollars in tax free money and use it to attack liberals, gay people, atheists, liberal Christians, hollywood (subtext: Joos) Muslims, brown people, women, non Qhristians, George Soros (more Joos), a good man like Bill Gates, and anybody else in their gunsights– In some cases literally. Not to mention, the purchase of mansions that get labeled ministerial. Not to mention, the incorporation of political entities that get called “churches”: Focus on the Family is a “church”. Brian Brown, Robert George, and John Eastman, good qatholics all, are up to their jockstraps in hyper Conservative politics, hyperQonservative Qatholicism. They get loads of tax free dollars to engage in politics. That feral snow Barbie with her lock and load comment is a good indication of this, as is Marjorie Taylor green, Boebert, and a host of others…
All of whom seem to be – wait for it – Qonservative Qhristians! Sooprise, sooprise, sooprise.
If We are “coming” for anything, it is for Qhristian privilege, Qhristian dominionism, and Qhristian license. The oppressed bakers and florists who cannot possibly bake a cake or provide flowers for a gay wedding are the perfect examples. We have laws at every level of government which forbid discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of religious belief. But they claim to be exceptions to it. It’s not religious discrimination, even though it is. It is sincere religious belief, even though it isn’t. Either the laws apply to everyone, or they apply to no one. Trying to find exceptions to them simply underlines where we have those laws in the first place. I doubt very many people are actively interested in discriminating against Christians. But as you note, accusation is confession, and that is precisely what they are interested in doing.
The persecution of all Christians that you fear is not likely to come in this country, or in any Christian majority country. But when you have been up so long, any challenge to dominance might seem like persecution. Again, I don’t think anybody’s actually interested in persecuting Christians at all…
…well, unless it’s other Qhristians.
I would also add that Christians, especially those who are conservative leaning, do not actually fear persecution. If anything, they crave it; after alll, it feeds into their narrative and they see it as a validation of their beliefs. Of course, this applies more to the idea of persecution, rather than having it occur in actuality.
However, what awaits these Christians is something far worse than any persecution, be it real or imagined. What they’re facing is the one thing they truly fear more than anything else: Indifference.
I disagree. Conservative Christians crave the *feeling* of being persecuted because they know they aren’t. They want to simulate the feeling of being heroes, but they emphatically do not want the sufferings it requires. They want to make other suffer, while enjoying the adulation accorded martyrs.
I think thatks pretty much what he was saying, Mark, but from a somewhat different point of view.
Well, goshes! Speaking of religious privilege and religious license, the SCREWTUS just pronounced its epidemiological opinion that California cannot regulate church services to fight our minor pandemic. FREEDUMB, dammit! No limitations, except for 25% capacity. I’m sure they will count that as accurately as they count votes for the former occupant ofvthe whitehouse. you can have all of the superspreader events you would like to have Because it’s CHURCH, and freedom of religion means the freedom to get as many people sick and as many dead people as you can manage. God WILL know his own.
And just in time for superbowl weekend! what fun! I know these types of churches don’t “believe” in evolution, but it sounds like survival of the fittest to me.
On a related note, the hyperreligious governor of Republican Iowa has decided to remove all public health measures from the state. no masks, no restrictions. And just in time for Superbowl weekend. Pack the bars, my pretties, and sorry about your grandma. Is there football in heaven?
I’m so glad I’m getting my first shot tomorrow. Anyone know where I can buy stock infuneral homes?
I wanted to respond to what you wrote above. I’m going to read it to my husband. I know it will resonate very much with him.
I’ve have a few people in my life that have deeply and utterly offended me, and have never said one syllable of “I’m sorry”. I know in my own way how that feels. I also know that most will *never* apologize. How sad. It is so sad that I keep asking God to help me understand if there is anybody in my life that I need to apologize for. It’s such a gigantically big deal.
I don’t think “I’m sorry” can ever be said enough for the way that gay people have been treated.
I’m so sorry.
Some day in the future, I will tell you about how I finally stood up to that priest I told you about who has been a creep to me for almost a decade and a half. Part of me standing up for myself –and my family! –has to do with having people in my life that don’t GASLIGHT about how awful christians can be.
You should see the epic letter my husband finally wrote to the Archbishop. It went in the mail yesterday. I don’t expect anything to change, but at least we stopped averting our eyes, and having a suffer-in-silence complex which the abusers thrive on–to keep abusing.
ANYWAY, thankfully, (and to refresh our palates) we hiked to the top of Mt. Tam today. Oh. My. God. What therapy. So, so INCREDIBLY beautiful. Everytime I go, I wonder why we don’t go at least once a month.
Sorry, again. It has taken me a few days to respond. I needed to give it some thought.
First and foremost, thank you again for your compassion and kindness. That shows up in everything you write.
I have probably said this before, but I have never felt particularly oppressed myself. I learned to stand up for myself when I was a child, and was the constant target of bullies. I stopped caring if I was hurt, and that meant I stopped caring about fighting back. But that experience taught me that there are plenty of bullies in the world, people who will take any perceived weakness in others and use it to make themselves greater – at least in their minds – than they could ever possibly be. What it all taught me was to stand up for others- especially gay kids. They deserve the same chances at life as straight kids, the same freedom from fear.
I’ve been attacked on the street a few times, but those people ended up in regretting it. When I was in law-enforcement, some of my colleagues tried to get me fired. They were too stupid to accomplish it.
All we can do is stand up as much as we can for those who can’t stand for themselves. The abusive personalities in the church got that way because no one ever stood up to them. Good for you and your husband for standing up. By standing against them, you are standing forthe good that the church can do.
I’m glad you had a great day at Mt. tam. I make it up there every five or six years or so, but we have such wonderful parks in the East Bay that I am always satisfied to be here. One walk in particular just thrills me every time. It’s through second growth redwoods, but it almost feels like walking through Muir woods, but without the traffic. The trees are huge, and they grow up the slope of the hills, making them huger.
edit “apologize *to*”