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I am unapologetically Christian. I am also unapologetically liberal. I see no contradiction here. And I am not a "Sunday Christian"- I have been in  and have lead dozens of Bible studies in the last 40 years. I have attended and been a member in mainline churches (United Methodist), evangelical churches (Baptist) and fundamentalist independent charismatic churches. I offer these credentials so that I may clearly and unequivocally state: contempt and disdain are not Christian values.

Paul Krugman said it yesterday:

He was just repeating a view that has become increasingly dominant inside the right-wing bubble, namely that a large and ever-growing proportion of Americans won’t take responsibility for their own lives and are mooching off the hard-working wealthy. Rising unemployment claims demonstrate laziness, not lack of jobs; rising disability claims represent malingering, not the real health problems of an aging work force.
Wealth is not necessarily a sign of virtue or hard work. It isn't Biblical make such a claim. I know, many reading this could care less what the Bible says. May even suggest that it is backward or unintelligent to believe in God. You walk your path. I am talking to those that share my path, who speak my language. It is not a Christian message.

Poverty is not necessarily a sign of moral decay or idleness. It isn't Biblical make such a claim. It is not a Christian message. But this goes deeper for me. It is the contempt and disdain that drips from the mouths of these  good Christian people.

If you suggest to the average Evangelical that their attitudes are hardly charitable, they will retort that conservatives give more to charity than liberals do and that they are the source of soup kitchens and homeless shelters. They will remind you that God loves a cheerful giver and that it is wrong to confiscate their money at gunpoint for moochers and freeloaders. That government policies just make people dependent.

But it is uncharitable to suggest that those in need must take pity and derision with their charity. If you despise those you help, is it really charity? And could it be true that people are dependent because they are hurting, or ill, or damaged? Could it be that a just society, a Christian nation, can afford to be generous because we know how weak and dependent we might be if tables were turned?

I know this is not a Christian site, but I know there are Christians in this mix. So if this does not resonate, don't treat me with the same contempt the right wing has for the poor. I am not writing this to stir up a debate about whether God exists, just whether those who claim to serve Him are shaming Him instead.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You don't have to be a Christian..... (7+ / 0-)

    .....to recognize injustice.

     

    Everyone is crying out for peace; no one's crying out for justice...

    by mojave mike on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 11:42:21 AM PST

    •  Also, I'd like to add that America is not a (6+ / 0-)

      Christian nation.

      America was founded by Deists. Who are monotheistic, but not Christian, as they reject the divinity of the character known as Jesus Christ.

      America also has a sizable amount of Christians in it, many who attempt to put their religion into law.

      But still: not a Christian nation.

      •  I agree completely. We are a secular nation. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass

        Secular means not concerned with religion. Religion flavors but doesn't define our laws and our civil structure.

        This is critically important to understand and sustain.
        The fact is that Christianity in all its diversity has thrived under a secular governance.
        Any Christian with an ounce of brains knows that we must preserve all rights of belief or non belief or his/her own Christian beliefs are in danger of being hijacked and twisted by a "state religion".

        This issue is mainly what has fueled my political activism.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 12:31:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We do not have and never have had fully (0+ / 0-)

          secular governance. Blue laws and sunday laws, for example. All of our laws attempting to enforce so-called morals - ie. christian dogma. Th3e war on LGBT persons, the war on women, these are non-secular phenomena.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 05:50:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree completely. We started out with (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            enhydra lutris, vickijean

            slavery being legal. I don't think there was a great divide between Christians and Deists or "disinterested" regarding homosexuality or the rights of women, though.
            We had to go thru a "growing up" process, which mirrored to some degree the growing up of society in Europe.
            The 19th century saw the novels of George Eliot, for example.
            In the area of archeology and anthropology, the story of Jean Harrison is a good example of the trajectory of change.

            However, even though we had to go through the Civil War, it was the structure and the idea of US governance that guided us through to the point of having an African American President.
            Again, as a living document that set forth an idea that could be carried into the future, the Constitution eventually accomodated the power of women as voters.
            It's interesting to note that the rise of women's power, and their gaining the vote was closely connected to the Christian temperance movement, which of course was responsible for the disastrous prohibition of alcohol.
            Contemporary Christianity would be unrecognizable to believers of the 19th century, with the enormous "carve out" of the Sabbath for NFL football. Etc.
            The point being that Christianity has evolved and will evolve, just as American democracy has rightly evolved, and was intended to evolve.
            The founders, Jefferson, Madison, etc. put together a secular government. It was imperfect, and it was always conditional on the opinions of all of those who exercised their power, even if that power was their individual vote.

            You can't make this stuff up.

            by David54 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 07:52:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I agree completely (0+ / 0-)

        But I am holding people to their own belief system. If the rabid religious right believe we are a Christian nation they should live up to that standard

    •  Yes, but you cannot be a Christian (0+ / 0-)

      if you perpetrate/enable/refuse to acknowledge injustice.  There are plenty of good, moral folks who are not believers.  More power to them, however those who claim to believe ought to be walking the walk....

      -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

      by luckylizard on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 01:35:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This was my point. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        luckylizard

        I don't think we should legislate Christian doctrine. I am simply saying that those who are pushing an agenda that they claim to be Christian simply misrepresent the Gospel they espouse

        •  I am always suspicious when (0+ / 0-)

          someone is too eager to tell me they are "a Christian."  I ought to be able to tell what they believe without them ever having to announce it.  

          I don't think faith and religion are the same thing.  Faith is something that is really personal (to me, at least), while religion is a man-made construct that appears to be more about power and control.  When people (and money) get involved, there is almost always a way for someone to corrupt it or be corrupted by it.

          -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

          by luckylizard on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 07:02:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What about self-described gun-owning Xtians? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            luckylizard

            Everyone is crying out for peace; no one's crying out for justice...

            by mojave mike on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 07:43:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I usually don't (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              vickijean

              get involved with this topic because of the recent pie fights here, but personally*, I don't see a problem with gun ownership, per se.  There is nothing anti-Christian about hunting or target shooting.  Having said that, those who insist that they MUST have guns designed solely for the purpose of killing people often appear to me to worship their hardware somewhat more passionately than the Prince of Peace.

              -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

              by luckylizard on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:29:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  That has not been my experience. (4+ / 0-)
    I may clearly and unequivocally state: contempt and disdain are not Christian values.
    In fact I find they embrace it with vigor.

    "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 11:44:56 AM PST

    •  You just never meet the ones who don't have those (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leu2500, commonmass, luckylizard

      as values. There are real Christians out there, like my parents.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 12:26:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've heard of these mythical creatures (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, Prinny Squad

        But all I see and hear are the hateful words and sometimes violence thrown at people that are different than them. And in actuallity I can show innumerable links to support what I say.

        What I find infuriating is someone like you telling me, no they are not all that way. If so many are, why are you associating with them?

        "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

        by Horace Boothroyd III on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 12:44:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps we are not associating with them (0+ / 0-)

          What you see here is us calling them out. We are doing it in this forum to give courage to other Christians fighting the good fight. But we are also doing it in other  forums where they are more likely to hear us.

        •  You'll never find a link to my parents, because (0+ / 0-)

          they don't exist on the internet. But if you met them face to face,  you'd know.

          As for me, I stopped going to church when I was 12. I started bending toward Buddhism when my opinions about the Vietnam War started growing up. I saw the images of Buddhist Monks self immolating to protest both sides in the war.
          I don't "associate" with them. I oppose the right wing political project that has hijacked Christianity.
          Period. Absolutely.
          I respect liberal Christians who fight the good fight, but are willing to stay true to their conscience in the face of atheist bullying.
          Your freedom to be who you are is inextricably linked to
          VickiJean's freedom to be who she is.
          You may not be capable of understanding that, but it's a fact.  

          You can't make this stuff up.

          by David54 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 08:04:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ps, Horace, about my parents... if you met my (0+ / 0-)

            parents, regardless of how atheist you may be, you'd feel "blessed" by having met them.
            It would be an understanding that is beyond religion or not/religion.

            You can't make this stuff up.

            by David54 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 08:08:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  David, this is what grieves me most (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              David54

              People like your parents are the ones who drew people like me to the Church. I thought to myself, I want what they have. I want to be like them. And they continue to walk that path, consistent in a life that is a witness, while the religious right brings shame to the Church.

              •  Well, the actions of the religious right are (0+ / 0-)

                temporal, and will fade away. The truth will out.
                However, I see suffering in the meantime, and I was brought up to manifest my civic responsibility. Spiritually, humanity can survive another holocaust. That doesn't mean we should just roll over and let it come to pass when we can see the obvious warning signs.  

                You can't make this stuff up.

                by David54 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 08:56:40 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks to VickiJean for posting as a Christian. (8+ / 0-)

    Christians and atheists have a common cause in battling the religious right and the hijacking of their own conscience and personal commitment to their belief by the right.

    Ditto for all faiths.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 12:34:25 PM PST

  •  Hate, intolerance, disdain, contempt: are (9+ / 0-)

    certainly NOT Christian values.

    In fact, the same way they have redefined "liberal" as scary, vaguely socialist, out of touch, the "religious" right has redefined "Christian" to mean narrowly evangelical and socially regressive.

    Which is why if I'm asked I tell people I'm an Episcopalian. Because if I say I'm a Christian (which of course, if I am one I am the other) people immediately make assumptions. When they hear "Episcopalian"--depending upon what part of the country you're in--they may hear "supportive of social justice and radical inclusion", "wealthy, white and tolerant", "heathen crypto-papist" or some combination of the those. All of which are preferable things, to me anyway, than to be considered an ignorant, bigoted, flat-earther.

    Thanks for the diary.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 12:57:42 PM PST

  •  I say this as a devout Orthodox Jew (5+ / 0-)

    and with an awareness of the centuries of persecution of my ancestors committed by Christians:

    Contempt and disdain are not Christian values.  Neither are xenophobia, selfishness, or casual cruelty.

    They are human traits.  As is the tendency to justify them by whatever means seem best.

    Contrariwise: gentleness, compassion, and generosity of wealth and of spirit are human traits as well.

    When it comes to how we treat our fellow human beings, "because God wants us to" is very seldom an effective motivation for behaving any way (good or bad) that we aren't already inclined to behave.  This belief can spur us to cultivate inclinations in ourselves (again, good or bad) -- but only if we so choose.

  •  Their EGO trumps their soul (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vickijean

    It's about walking it, not just talking it. It's about respecting humanity overall.  One of those I admire most is a Christian. He's also very wealthy.  When he sees someone in need, he steps up. And he keeps it to himself.
    A newspaper printed a story about him. He had given to a family in crisis and all the details were there in black and white. He was FURIOUS.  He believes we give to others because it's the right thing to do. He doesn't give it a name, like "charity".  No one is better than anyone else. Treat others as you would be treated. Respect personal dignity and privacy. The story which painted him as a hero also revealed details regarding the family, personal details that were no one's business.  

    Those Christians who show contempt for those in need aren't about giving at all. They TAKE. The plight of others gives them a chance to demean and diminish.  It's twisting and turning the circumstances to feed that ego. Their conscience is another matter altogether. Those of any faith are often judged according to the behavior of a very few.

    I've read the Bible, Torah, Quran and more.  Regardless of deity, all have a common thread: compassion and empathy for mankind.

    I do benefits for all religions. I'd hate to blow the hereafter on a technicality. Bob Hope

    by bluebuckeyewmn on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 04:50:02 PM PST

  •  No true christian fallacy. Nobody is arbiter. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    qofdisks

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 05:47:29 PM PST

    •  There's a difference between (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vickijean

      saying "these are not Christian values, despite the fact that there are Christians who behave this way" and saying "nobody who behaves like this is a real Christian".

      The latter is the no-true-Christian fallacy.  The former is saying that Christianity, like absolutely every other moral or social system that has ever existed, can be corrupted by its practicioners and that their corrupt practices do not define the system.

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