Last week Dan Haseltine, a prominent Christian from Jars of Clay, reconsidered his political stance on the legality of civil, same sex marriage (as I discussed yesterday), and the conservative Christian internet got one of those eyelid twitches that happens during unexpectedly infuriating moments.
Last week Sarah Palin, an even more prominent Christian, bragged that if she were in political power, she would happily waterboard (torture) the state’s enemy prisoners as a way to “baptize them”… and much of the same conservative Christian internet that took on Dan Haseltine, didn’t care.
Two high-profile Christians made public statements– one that was simply questioning a civil issue in an honest attempt to learn and process, and one that actually advocated using one of the Holy Sacraments of the Church as a way to torture people.
As a true-blue “born again” Christian who has committed to giving my entire life to the way of Jesus, only one of those statements offends me. Only one makes me want to spit battery acid.
One of them was legitimate questioning…. and the other?
Well, the other was as much of an anti-Christ statement as I have ever heard.
As in, straight from the pit of hell kind of statement.
Yet, there are plenty of Christians outraged that Haseltine would question civil gay marriage, but don’t so much bat an eye at the practice of water-boarding prisoners.
My friends, this is a classic case of misplaced Christian outrage. You see, I actually do believe there is a time for outrage. There’s a time for anger. There is a time for righteous indignation. There is a time for all of it. But as American Christians, this type of wonderful, righteous and holy outrage has been horribly misplaced.
All this makes me think back to Paul’s letter to the Galatians. In it, he chides them for their misplaced priorities by asking, “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?”
It is as if Paul is saying, “Are you out of your ever-loving-minds? Did someone cast a spell on you? Have you completely lost it??”
I can think of no more applicable scripture to this week’s events, than to recall Paul’s befuddlement with the Galatians.American Christians: have you lost your minds?? Who is it that told you that you should freak out over someone’s political stance on civil gay marriage instead of Christian leaders who are advocating that we torture other bearers of the divine image of God? Did someone cast a spell on you? How is it that your righteous outrage got so misplaced?
You see, Jesus actually encouraged people to ask questions and wrestle with things. Remember? Jesus is the one who said that we have to come as little children.
Children ask questions… all. day. long. They’re infinitely curious, always asking questions, they’re willing to learn, and even willing to re-learn when necessary.
In this we see that not only is Jesus a big enough boy to handle our questions, he encourages us to ask them. Asking questions is a hallmark of being a Jesus follower, according to Jesus himself.
But torturing people and using violence against other human beings? Well, Jesus in fact did mention that too– many times, actually. He rebuked disciples willing to use violence (Mt. 26:52), commanded them to refrain from all violence (Mt. 5:39), and even went as far as saying that those wish to be counted as true children of God must nonviolently love their enemies (mt. 5:45).
So here’s the score between Dan Haseltine and Sarah Palin, according to the Jesus we find in the New Testament:
Questions = totally welcomed.
Willingness to use violence = not acting a true child of God. (Which by my math leaves only one other option)
That’s how the Bible compares the behavior of Haseltine and Palin.
You know, the book that I actually do affirm is inspired by God and authoritative for how we live our lives. Yeah, that Bible.
One individual acting as a child of God by asking questions and being willing to learn.
One individual acting like the Prince of Darkness (not Ozzy, the other one) by gleefully rebelling against the teachings of Christ and advocating that we use violence to torture people. AND, she actually compared that torture to one of the Holy Sacraments of the Church– the one where we believe that Jesus himself is divinely present!
Being outraged at Haseltine instead of Sarah Palin, is misplaced Christian outrage and leaves me with one simple question (hat tip to Paul):
You foolish, foolish American Christians! Who has bewitched you??