7-4: Happy 4th

[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]

Church and State

The letter re-posted below–with commentary–moved me.

I dislike the country’s pseudo-celebration of the colonists’ declaration of independence, because so many of our fellow citizens really do not hold to the tenets of our founders. I am a left-wing, liberal, tree hugging Christian. I am also an American who has worn the country’s uniform in combat. I believe I have the credentials to say that all Americans should be able to enjoy the same benefits of American-hood that I do. But much too often these days I hear politicians spewing racism via vicious, unwarranted xenophobia. The Daily Kos posted an open letter from John Pavlovitz a Christian blogger. “You can read his work here.” The letter began:

Dear Offended Christian,

I’m terribly sorry that your feelings are hurt again. I feel badly about that. None of us likes to be criticized, so I totally get it.

… I am really tired:

Let Me Count the Ways

“He proceeded to list all of the ways he is tired with the hypocrisy shown by so many people, wrapped up in a cross, who have seemingly forgotten to read the books they proclaim to set their moral compass to.”

I’m tired of hearing you telling gay people that they can’t simultaneously be both gay and Christian. (Who are you to tell anyone who he or she can or cannot be? If you truly follow the word of God (and that goes for you too: Muslims, Jews, Mormons, et al.) then you must realize your own shortcomings and should be working on them.)

I’m tired of having to explain what “Transgender” means to adult Christian people, who I’m quite sure have Internet access and should know better by now that it ain’t “a guy in a dress”. (Caitlyn Jenner aside, people who have suffered all their lives believing their feelings are not “honest” should be admired for their courage, not maligned because of others’ ignorance.)

I’m tired of arrogant pulpit bullies who believe they’re entitled to tell people where they can pee and who they can marry and whether they really love Jesus or not. (Me, too. Go way.)

I’m tired of you regularly dispensing damnation on the queer community, and then offering empty “thoughts and prayers” in the face of tragedy before resuming your normal schedule. (Yes, “thoughts and prayers” are expressed briefly and the victims who have been thought about and prayed for are forgotten just as quickly. Politicians in particular sully even the idea of thoughts and prayers when they vacuously invoke them–ever so briefly–and then continue their personal agendas. Victims of gun violence deserve much more than thoughts and prayers. That is not a sacrilegious rant; it is an outpouring of frustration.)

I’m tired of you being more outraged by red coffee cups and department store restrooms than by poverty and racism and gun violence and our crumbling school system. (Me, too.)

The Meat of the Matter

“The letter is long and powerful and it ends very clearly. He hits the hypocrisy of homophobia and transphobia, racism, and the anti-science sentiments of many Christian groups. “

So I get that your feelings are hurt. I understand that you’re offended, and that’s not my intention. (I am not bothered if I offend bigots and ignoramuses.)

But listen, if you’re going to tell a group of people that they’re going to Hell simply for existing, and you’re going to continually target those people through the Church and the Law and your social media accounts, don’t get angry with me when I tell you you’re being hateful and judgmental and ignorant. (Right.}

It could be worse. (It should be worse. We have hate law crimes that need to be prosecuted more often. We have so-called people of the cloth who need to be unfrocked for their charlatanism.)

At least I’m not damning you for all eternity. (I do not understand eternity. But I do know that I do not have the ability to condemn, damn, or make bad things in general happen to people I do not like. And there are many people I do not like. What I have learned over the years is to spend far less time even thinking about stinkers.)

Sincerely, (With no malice aforethought,)

A Very Tired Christian (Amen.)

On July 4th we at least nominally celebrate American independence. If you feel good today, let others do the same … today … and every day. Personally, I am not a big fan of July 4th celebrations.

  • Independence from England was a big deal. Manifest Destiny was an abomination.
  • We were right to seek freedom. We were wrong to take it away from indigenous people.
  • For many, fireworks top off their day-long celebration. For me, fireworks bring back offensive sights, sounds, and the smell of war. They remind me of death and destruction.
  • To use the word “independence” as celebratory while also contemplating the expatriation of up to 11 million souls is ludicrous.
  • Despite the fear-mongering rhetoric, I do not believe my country or my way of life is being threatened by radical Islamic terrorists. America, Land of the Free, stop all the drone strikes and bombing. Let other people figure out how to achieve their own independence  without having large segments of their population obliterated.

May everyone have a happy 4th, and 5th, and 6th …

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