Most Christians aren’t

The other day I came across this article about Montana legislator Kerri Seekins-Crowe. The state has been debating banning gender-affirming care for transgender minors. She’s a Republican, which is almost expected in Montana. What brought her into the news is she proposed the legislation, she has a trans youth and she said she would rather risk her daughter committing suicide than allow her to transition. Wow! That’s some crazy love!

There’s not much of a biography of her online, but she is likely Christian. She certainly looks the part. I would be very surprised if she wasn’t of the fundamentalist variety. I’m just trying to imagine what her statement has to do with Christianity.

I’m not a Christian although I grew up Catholic. My parents had pretty strict views on lots of things, such as abortion. They were against abortion mainly because the Church told them they had to be. But things are changing in the Catholic Church. Pope Francis wants an end to anti-gay laws and now welcomes the LGBTQ community within the church. And this is good. The Catholic Church is finally slowly evolving, allowing a handful of women to attend and vote at an upcoming Synod of Bishops. Francis like most popes is pretty conservative, but it’s safe to rule him out as someone who would support Ms. Seekins-Crowe’s position and would prefer a youth commit suicide rather than try to achieve mental health and wholeness by getting gender-affirming care.

It turns out that the people working hardest to oppress people are overwhelmingly “Christian”. Except, if you actually read your Bible, you’ll realize this is the opposite of Christian. The whole point of being Christian is to love unconditionally. Good luck converting anyone to Christianity if you can’t relate to them as they are and don’t have the ability to listen with an open heart. And yet that’s what “Christians” are doing across the United States, for the most part. They want to criminalize and impose on parents penalties for getting the care they feel their children need. Can you see Jesus preaching that we must scorn and put in prison people who help transgender youth get the care they need?

How does this happen? I think it’s because most of us adapt our parent’s religion without thinking it through. To the extent these “Christians” think about their faith, it looks like love and compassion is not part of it, unless it’s for people very much like themselves: generally white and middle class. Everyone has spiritual needs that should be addressed. It’s abundantly clear that actual Christian values are not front and center of these people’s lives.

Christianity is in there somewhere but it’s way down their list of actual priorities. Instead, what they care about the most are values Jesus would never practice. They care about forcing people to adhere to their values because, presumably, doing otherwise is sinful. So I would like to make the radical suggestion that these people, if they can’t hack true Christianity, you should at least be consistent. To start they could state the obvious: I am not a Christian and I can’t see modeling love and compassion in all aspects of my life. If when you get political power your first thoughts turn to forcing the poor to work for measly benefits and to cut those benefits, well, you are promoting sadism and misery for those insufficiently like you. So just admit who you really are: you are definitely not a Christian and you have an authoritarian mindset. Most of you don’t believe in democracy and representative government, at least not unless they model your beliefs.

I am in awe when I find a true Christian out there. But true Christians are often enemies of “Christians”. Also, while they may admire Jesus and his teachings, most like me realized a long time ago that Christianity is just not in the constitution of 99% of us. This sets up a lifetime of cognitive dissonance where you can’t even see just how un-Christ-like you are. At least I sobered up and left the Church as soon as I was an adult. I won’t claim to give someone the shirt off my back, which a real Christian would do. But when I can and it feels safe I model at least some Christian behaviors.

A couple of months back I encountered an age 70+ man with a bag of groceries trying to walk home to his apartment a couple of miles away. He could barely stumble across the street. He knocked on my window when I was at a traffic light. He was dressed shabbily and wore adult Depends but it was clear he wouldn’t make in 200 feet let along two miles. I drove him home, which was on my way. If you read this blog, you know I am dealing with a brain cancer. But I am otherwise healthy and mobile. I wouldn’t have traded my health and situation for his. He was miserable.

“Christians” would do much better simply by leaving well enough alone. It should go without saying that making people more miserable is bad. Not improving their situation is at least less bad than actively making it worse.

If you are going to be a Christian, at least try to walk the walk. My wife acts like a Christian most of the time. She volunteers twice a week: Mondays at a local survival center and four hours on Wednesdays at the local emergency department. She is most accurately described as Buddhist. We need a lot more Buddhists like her and a lot fewer “Christians” like Kerri Seekins-Crowe. She helps and brings compassion and food security to everyone. At least her values and actions come from a place of genuine compassion and good.

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