What Would Jesus Do?

How can anyone claim to be a Christian and still hold racist, homophobic, sexist or otherwise discriminatory beliefs?

I am a deeply spiritual woman who does not follow any organized religion but I was raised Catholic and have come and gone into their churches since birth. The God I pray to is a loving God. The God I pray to in my actions and words is the source of life, the force of good in the entire universe. I think of God as the creator and the source of all things in the continuance of life in this world and beyond.

A dear, wise friend tells me that there is a blessing in everything. Even the things that we think are holding us back, or even harming us in some way—there is a blessing, a lesson, a trial that will purify us and lead us to deeper understanding.

It is a sad state of affairs that many people who claim to be religious hold racist, homophobic, sexist and otherwise derogatory views and beliefs in the name of God—no matter what religion they subscribe to. I know the various texts may hold some language that supports these beliefs but there is also language that supports slavery, punishment by death, etc. Ideas have been hijacked to serve an agenda, a one-sided view used to control and to dominate others.

There is a pick-and-choose going on with quotes from the bible. I will not delve into the specific texts that are quoted in defense of anti-homosexual attitudes or racist and sexist ones but they are there. I don’t believe they are in the words of Jesus. When asked what the most important lesson was that Jesus would impart to his followers, he said: “Love thy neighbor as thy self.”  That should end the discrimination.

I live in the Deep South. I am surrounded by people who do not believe as I do that two people who love each other are endowed with the right to marry each other. I am surrounded by people who are not afraid to voice their beliefs that a black man should not be president, and who express their utter hatred for our current president veiled in political shim-sham language, and sometimes not.

I am confident enough in myself and in the correctness of my beliefs that I do not tolerate hate. I am fervent enough in my belief in an all-loving, good God that I do not and will not allow this hate and prejudice to stand in my personal relationships and my public persona’s expressions and attitudes.

So, think for a moment, of the truths in your own beliefs. What will survive and what will wither away? Were you instilled with a prejudice against others different from you in your upbringing? Has there been a discovery of real, living truths that have challenged your prejudices? Are you a lazy human, living in cruise-control and not accepting the challenge by our society to accept diversity and acknowledge the human rights we are endowed with by a loving and all-encompassing God?

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