Saturday, January 16, 2016
I used to hang out with right-wing fundamentalist Christians who have a specific world view. This world view pits us against them. Us being the God-blessed Americans and them being whoever is in disfavor at the moment. But almost always people of "middle-eastern descent". Much of their specific view of the book of Revelation is used to support this us vs them mentality. It is Christianity taught/sponsored hatred.
This was a point of Revelation that I studied and tried to grasp for 15 straight years with my older sister. We went to seminars, we studied books on "the end times" and we tried to grasp how Christ was going to come back and how there was going to be an Antichrist and a bloodbath before that. This teaching supports this hatred, this us vs them mentality.
I have been out of the right-wing fundamentalist world - by choice - for a long time now. But I kept my finger on the pulse of the movement in Christian chat rooms on Yahoo where I learned about probably every denomination of Christianity known to mankind, some of them so obscure I had to search to research them, some of them so common I never thought to question what they taught.
And that, my friends, is the problem...Denominations so common I never thought to question what they taught.
As I moved out of fundamentalism (because I realized that even though I'd been trying to fit into that model of Christianity, my experiential view of God wouldn't allow me to anymore) I moved more naturally into a Centrist worldview, because that is where my heart pretty much always was, even while I was trying to squash it into the fundamentalist model. It is a Centrist position that I believe "most" of America lives in. Most of the Americans I know are not radically left OR radically right. We are somewhat right or left of center, but for the most part we live in a Centrist view where we want our people and our government and the radical right and radical left to work together.
There are exceptions to those rules and a lot of those exceptions are very loud politicians. But they aren't, generally, the rank and file "we the people" of America.
Yahoo has since shut down their Chat rooms and I have lost the pulse of the Dominion movement, the Calvinists, and the 10,000 different denominations I came to know in Christianity (oh my aching head). I have lost the pulse of the ultra fundamentalist branches...no big deal, usually...
Tonight I was in a social situation. I happened to mention that Saaed Abidini was released today in front of a friend of the friends I hang out with on the weekend. I thought this was a thing to rejoice. This person is a bit different than a lot of people I know, a very opinionated person, but I didn't realize until tonight the indoctrinated hatred this person has for people who are not like us.
It began with Saaed...Because he was in Iran...Because he is of middle-eastern descent, even though he was born in America and a pastor in Idaho. This makes him one of "those people". Those people are every middle-eastern person that has ever lived because they all hate us and want only to kill us all in our sleep. Or with huge bombs that inflict much damage to everyone and everything around it.
It spread to all Mexicans, then backwards in our history to all Vietnamese or anyone from "that part of the world". And if I had fought in the war with him I would understand and know that all of "those people" hate us and want nothing but death for us and how DARE we let any of them into our country. Every Syrian is coming here to kill us. Every Mexican gets free everything and we buy them a house and a car while we Americans have to work hard for our cars and houses. Every person who hates pork should be deported or killed...wait, what????
I fought back, calmly and then vehemently...to no avail. You cannot stand in the face of such hate. I pointed out that his hate was similar to the hate he was decrying. Oh, no, American hate is patriotic and Christian.
And then he began on the President. Using vile names in place of his name. And I snapped and left because this social situation had become unbearable for me.
Normally, I handle this stuff pretty well, but I am out of practice and I've been sick a couple days this week and I wasn't on top of my game. I fled, and I cried, and I despaired because THIS is the gap we can't seem to bridge. This is the ingrained hatred we cannot seem to throw off - anything not exactly like us wants to harm us. And I cried all the way home for my country and for my friends, who had to sit through this and then have a guest flee their home.
We have agreed not to discuss politics (which this really wasn't politics exactly - it was more worldview) and that was sad too, because my friends are conservative and we manage to discuss our differences comfortably, respectfully, and we've never had an argument in the years we've been hanging out together. I guess it's because I barely know this man, and because, I believe, he has some PTSD from the war, and he had been drinking that allowed him to spew this hatred all over in a friendly social situation. I don't know. I guess I also had forgotten how vituperative it was, how much hatred it supports, and how sad that always makes me.