Today while talking to a good friend of mine we stumbled onto the topic of church. I told her I had a confession to make;
“I detest church.”
I’ll pause for a collective gasp for such blasphemy. Church and Jesus are very separate to me.
I hate that church has become an establishment to cast stones of judgment all in the name of Jesus. U2 sang a song that hits home for me. As I write, I’m listening to Sunday bloody Sunday.
And the battle’s just begun
There’s many lost, but tell me who has won
The trench is dug within our hearts
And mothers, children, brothers, sisters
Over the last 15 years I’ve sat through thousands of sermons and only a few that I remember. Obviously the years of sermons didn’t radically change my life, but Jesus did. What has changed about me is my perception of the evangelical church as a collective whole. I’ve heard sermons of judgement, and rants about “calling sin a sin” all the while throwing people under the bus, ostensibly because they may not fit into their tidy little Christian mold. It’s hard for me to reconcile the loving Jesus that I know with the terrible Jesus people use as a tool for their own “religious” gain.
The separation of church and state was written by Jefferson into our constitution in order to assure there would not be a national Baptist church. And by making the distinction of separation the Baptist didn’t have to worry about their manner of worship being invaded by the government.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.
In our churches there has not been that separation that Jefferson envisioned. We have churches mingling politics and religion all the time. We have pastors pushing a particular party from the pulpits. If you’re a christian and a republican you’re okay in God’s eyes, but you democrats better watch out for you will surly burn. That’s obvious hyperbole but it sure seemed like that was what was being said during sermons telling us which governor would lead us into a more biblical and Godly time.
In 1993 the house and the senate passed with a near unanimous vote for the Religious Freedom Act. It was signed into office by Bill Clinton. That federal law is aimed at preventing laws that substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion. Since the adoption of that law in 1993 there has been 30 states to pass laws in their home state to affirming religious freedom at the state level. Freedom is what our country is built on and I’m all for freedom. However, why should freedom allow me to forget how to be a decent human and instead allow me to exercise my right to be an asshole?
Indiana christians are now divided, brothers and sisters are torn apart. We have a war being waged as I write. A bill sponsored by Republicans has swept through our governmental system. From the moment the bill was introduced it has been easy to see people who love, versus people who don’t. I say that because of the posts I’ve seen on social media have not been loving or Christ like. I’ve developed a great amount of apathy towards the religious right because of their superior thinking. What happened to letting people see that we (Christians) are different because of our love for one another?
Who knows if this new religious freedom bill is relevant or not? I’m unsure because it appears the Religious Freedom Act of 1993 would cover religious freedom, right? What I’ve seen on social media is that it’s a platform for christians to hate all in the name of freedom. I can’t help but to peruse the scripture and see that Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He came to show the gracious love of God. Last time I checked he was the one yelling at the pharisees because they were so caught up in their religion, that they continued to make it more burdensome than helpful. They cared more about how clean the outside of the bowl was rather than looking inward into their own heart. This bill may be “good” or it may be “bad” but it is most certainly not doing anything good for the people. Even if by perception, it is building larger the divide between religion and those that are free, and it’s bloody. Really bloody.
We’ve torn one another apart in the name of religious freedom. With that I’m saddened because we’ve forgotten the most simplest of verses. God is love.
The real battle just begun
To claim the victory Jesus won
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Sunday Bloody Sunday…