Ten years ago, I was right where I thought I was supposed to be. Everything about my surroundings and the culture in which I was immersed told me that I should be very happy with my life. But I didn’t like me very much back then.
Back then, I was slowly approaching a crossroads and facing a heavy decision.
For nearly a decade, I had been an NRA card-carrying conservative Christian. I was in deep for a few years. For a short time, it felt right to spout all the talking points that Fox News and the Drudge Report had drilled into me. It was easy to hide behind cherry-picked, context-bereft scriptures to justify supporting candidates and policies that would discriminate against LGBT people and limit women’s rights. There was a comfort in being able to deflect the desperate cries of minorities and immigrants by admonishing them to “do the right thing” and just assimilate to “our culture.” As a dyed-in-the-wool NRA guy, I could, without conscience, brush off mass shootings as the act of a rogue madman and completely conceal any culpability of the type of rapid-death-spraying-machine he may have used. I could blame the problems of public education on the “removal of God” from schools. I could look at the “least of these” living in the throes of poverty and claim they simply wouldn’t work hard to take advantage of the American Dream, all the while supporting policies that would put more and more billions into the coffers of the mega-wealthy. I could ignore the millions of people without insurance and demonize the “godless socialism” behind the policies proposed to make healthcare a universal right. I could ignore dozens of scriptures about our responsibility to protect God’s creation and support policies that would devastate the global environment. In short, during those years, I could cloak myself in that ready-made brand of conservative politics and avoid critical thinking all together.
As I changed course, I realized that I was beginning to like myself. It felt good to turn my back on the brain-dead judgement mindset from which I had emerged. It felt good to know that I had begun to walk on the right side of history.
History smiles on those who stand for Social Justice.
You know, like Jesus did.