Shuck and Jive

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Heretic Pride

The demonstrations continue in California against Prop Hate. I am glad to see it.

The LA Times has a series of articles to check including this one about a married couple in Riverside County who are no longer married thanks to Christians.

All kinds of Christians got out the vote for discrimination. Christians who normally despise each other temporarily united for a common cause. They found a group to despise even more. Mormons, Catholics, Presbyterians, and other Christians of all flavors and all stripes did what they have done throughout history. They took rights away from those who are not like them. And they label folks not like them, heretics.

We should not be surprised at this. It is of no use to hate in return. It is of no use to try to figure out their motivations. This is what Christians do. It is their evangelistic mission. Their mission is in their book for all to see:

And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:18-20)
I don't think Jesus said that at all. It was put on his lips by zealots who wanted power and control over others in his name. But that technicality is lost on most people. This evangelistic mission has been central to Christianity from its inception.

Christians will baptize you straight if they have to drag you through hell to do it. We should never be fooled by the language of love that Christians use to disguise their mission. It is their bread and butter trick. How do I know this? I am one. I know this from the inside.

Of course, there have been individuals who went against this evangelistic mission. They discovered and followed a Jesus who resisted this impulse. The followers of this Jesus had no desire to convert people, but to live lives of compassion and to respect the dignity of all people. These followers were more often than not, branded as heretics by their own kind.

We should always remember this lesson: Christians ought never be underestimated in regards to how far they will go to fulfill their mission. According to this editorial in the LA Times, the movement against Prop Hate did underestimate them.

Ever since Proposition 8 passed Nov. 4, enshrining heterosexual-only marriage in the California Constitution, demonstrators from Sacramento to San Diego have staged daily marches and protests to express their anger and disappointment that homosexuals will continue to be treated as second-class citizens. It's a stirring movement, reminiscent of past civil rights struggles, but it raises a troubling question: Where were these marchers before the election?

Like nearly every aspect of the fight against Proposition 8, the recent protests come too late to make a difference. Opponents of the measure ran a disorganized campaign that consistently underestimated the strength of the other side. (Read More)
The moral of my post is this: don't ever expect Christians to be on the side of what is good, just, and decent. It is not their mission. When you do find Christians who are good, just, and decent, they are the heretics. Give them a hug.

Here is a song for all you heretics by the Mountain Goats. God bless ya.


  1. You know, if Christians and others want to protect "the sanctity of marriage", perhaps they should criminalize pornography, divorce, and most every movie, song and TV show that glorifies infidelity. If that helps, then maybe they won't need to discriminate against others.

    Oh yeah, and they should ban marriages like mine, where reproduction is not possible or desired.


  2. I am a heretic and proud of it. Sad that the most ecumenical thing the churches have done in recent history is unite against the gays.

  3. Go check out what my friend Margaret did.

    Loving her. She walks it.

  4. So John, What are we. I certainly agree with you about your comments on Christians. I also agree with you on many of your writings. I stopped going to Church and when I do go I omit the parts I don't like. When they recite the creeds, for example, I remain silent.

    I also refuse to sing songs like "Washed in the Blood of Jesus."

    I think Jesus (like the others before and after him) was sent to teach us how to live in Love. I think hate killed him as it tries to kill Love whenever and wherever it can.

    I loved Keith's "sermon" as you called it. I got tears in my eyes watching it.

    When people ask me about my religion now I just say "I am spiritual." I really wish I lived near enough to you to sit and talk about these things. You are one of my heroes. Continue to Walk in Love. j

  5. So John, What are we.

    I wrestle with that question often.

    The various institutional churches are wrong on nearly every issue. Secularist ethics are much more humane.

    The people with whom I agree on issues of importance: peace, environment, social justice and so forth, are usually not in the church.

    There are progressive individuals and movements within these institutions, but again, they are so strapped by inherited dogma that they feel compelled to exert endless amounts of energy and money to defend, explain, and (ultimately submit to) these antiquated theories.

    When not doing that they fight internal institutional battles over ordination and who can be a member and whatever.

    What are we?

    I do like the phrase "communities of conscience." And I am somewhat optimistic about the various progressive spirituality movements.

    In fact, I need to get back to talking more about that.

    There are people out there, everywhere, including where you live, that for good reason will never step inside a Christian church. Yet they desire a community in which they can be spiritual (if that is the right word), exercise their consciences, and participate in making our world a little more decent.

    Most of these people would be regarded by the institutional church as heretics.

    May their tribe increase.

  6. When people ask me about my religion now I just say "I am spiritual."

    I am Presbyterian, I've tried other denominations, nothing fits like it. I am hopeful that PCUSA is moving in, what I believe to be, the right directions. It's not going to happen overnight or without pain. However, I had to fill out a form recently that asked about my religious beliefs and I checked the "spiritual" box. Maybe they need to a "heretic" box.

    I think I am a Christian in my understanding of the word. I am a follower of Jesus. Unless I've missed something, Jesus' core message was love, justice and equality. Everything else was Paul and he and I need to have a talk.

  7. I think I am a Christian in my understanding of the word. I am a follower of Jesus.

    That is how I see it, too.

  8. This was definitely an embarrassing moment in the history of the Church in California. Its not the first time the Church has found itself on the wrong side of history. It probably won't be the last. But it still is embarrassing.

  9. John,

    I noticed you speak of Christians as "they" not "we". From what you wrote, it sounds to me like you are not a self-identifying Christian. Is that a fair statement (correct me if I am wrong)?


  10. "Is that a fair statement (correct me if I am wrong)"

    Consider yourself corrected (duh)

  11. Paul,

    Author's intended audience. When you read the whole post you will find the sentence: I am one.

  12. This post is not a blame on other Christians. This is not about Christians from other denominations or those others within the denomination I serve.

    I am one. This is a confession of sin post from a Christian.

    The Christian church is on the wrong side of this issue.

    I am as guilty as anyone else either by action or inaction regarding the treatment of lgbtq people and other "heretics" (and it isn't just about Prop 8).

    All Christians need to ask themselves/ourselves who do we think we are and what do we think we are communicating about the gospel.

  13. John,

    Thanks for the correction. In fact, I am emberrased to say, I didn't know the meaning of some simple terms, like heretic.

    My confusion was that I thought the term heretic means what apostate means. Saying you are a heretic, by dictionary definition, is a claim of Christianity but with an objection to one or more of the main beliefs.

    My bad. I need to learn my terms better.


  14. I wouldn't take me so literally, Paul. You may be interested in my heretic policy:

    If anyone accuses me of being a heretic I will flatly deny it and battle them fiercely.

    I will call myself a heretic if I want to.

    Friends and loved ones may call me a heretic under conditions that remain unspecified until after the fact. Believe me, I know who is friend and a loved one and who is not.

    I trust that settles the issue.