This is my daughter Jennifer. She is my second child and my oldest daughter. She is very pretty, artistic, talented, and what you would call, “a strong women,” having gone through and survived ten years of marriage to a sociopath who was, unbeknownst to me, physically abusing her. She also had to endure growing up in a family where her father was a Fundamentalist jerk of the Dr. Bob Jones variety – that is, very short on the love of Christ and very long on rules, regulations, threats of hell and damnation, and telling everyone that they were going there if they didn’t believe in all the Fundamentalist doctrinal particulars. It is no way to raise a child! I stand eternally guilty of failing to think through the bovine excrement this bunch of Tennessee Windsuckers was handing me in the name of Jesus. It is a point of great and painful regret to me.
Jennifer and I don’t see eye to eye anymore on a number of issues. She describes herself as an atheist and is politically Liberal. I believe her turning away from Christ comes from a number of issues, not the least of which is my inability to show the love of Christ to my children because of my own dysfunctional upbringing and how Fundamentalism nurtured that. A couple of nights ago I made a remark which was a counter to the charges against our current president. In part of her response to me, she said the following:
Men don’t do awful and vile things because of evil. They do these things because they believe they can. Because of centuries of societies ruled by religion that teached men are better than women. Especially white men. Religion has shoved down the throat of millions, this power-over belief.
Jennifer has a problem with religion, and I don’t blame her. I have a problem with it also, especially any religious structure or set of beliefs which attaches to itself the name of Jesus Christ but in no way follows His teachings. It has taken me almost seventy years to come to realize that the religious beliefs and practices we have in this country are about as near to our Lord as an elephant is to an ant. But to blame Christianity – the real Christianity which existed in the first couple of centuries before it began to rot – for the mistreatment of women, shows a powerful bias not supported by historical or theological facts. The message of Christ made a huge change in the existing Roman empire into which it was plunged.
The glory of Rome was founded on blood. The Republic’s – and, later, Empire’s – massive economy and rapid territorial expansion were both funded primarily by plunder.
Does this sound at all familiar? It should. It is the way this country has been running for the last 200 years. Millions of European “Christians” came to this continent and pushed into the heart of it. In this process, they stole from the Native Americans the land on which they lived, lied to them, and broke the treaties they made with them. Our government sent troops to accomplish this removal through the systematic slaughter of entire villages, including innocent women and children. I don’t find that such actions in line with truly following Christ. During the first four centuries of the Christian faith, there developed a dogmatic resistance of Christians to being involved in the military and especially in any violence of any kind. The followers of the “Prince of Peace” were just that, and many thousands went to their martyrdom for their refusal to support the bloodthirsty aims of the Roman Empire and serve in the Roman military.
Not so modern Christians. For the last 600 years, European adventurers have used violence to take over countries, enslave the native citizens, and plunder the raw materials in order to become rich. Truly Christian people, filled with the love of Christ, would have done what the first Christians did, sharing the Gospel with the people and helping them develop their culture. Instead, in places like Hispaniola, they came, they killed and raped, and they sent the gold home to their king.
Not much different from George W. Bush and his little adventure in Iraq. When 9/11 occurred, Bush used that event to whip the American people into a foaming at the mouth frenzy of rage and then unleashed that frenzy on a country that had nothing to do with the attacks. Poor Iraq. They had oil – lots of oil – so they needed to have some good ole ‘Murican freedom, and lots of it. Between that and Daddy Bush’s blockade of Iraq, over 500,000 civilians lost their lives. You can read all about it in the books Neo-Conned! and Neo-Conned Again! Apparently, lying and killing to steal natural resources didn’t cease after we destroyed the Native American culture.
Yet Bush paraded around his membership in the Methodist Church as a badge of honor, which was a way of finding acceptance with the Evangelicals who were satisfied with this Christianization of his actions. He is one of a long string of powerful and rich men who made a big show of their religion on Sunday – then went back to working children 14 hours a day or driving coal miners underground for a nickel a day while living in palatial splendor. If the glory of Rome was built on bloodshed, no less has the glory of America been in like manner built over the blood and bodies of Native Americans, black people, Catholics, coal miners, steel workers, and anyone else who did not meet the standard for acceptance, which was to be rich, white, and European. To resist was to be shot, and our government was the agency doing the shooting on behalf of the rich.
Unfortunately, in regards to women’s issues (the source of our disagreement) Jennifer has bought into the Liberal idea that if a women is not equal to a man in every situation, this means that the woman is being persecuted and abused. She is unaware of the pagan cultures that existed prior to the arrival of Christianity and how obscenely women were treated in these cultures. In the Roman Empire into which Christianity was birthed, women were for the most part property, as were children. The debasement of women took many forms – prostitution, including religious cult temple prostitutes, multiple wives, mistresses on the side, etc. Men could beat and rape their wives and children with impunity. Female babies, often unwanted in favor of male children, were set outside houses at night to be taken away by wild beasts. The Christian faith opposed these behaviors. St. Paul wrote that men should honor their wives as fellow believers and treat them with love, respect, and dignity:
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Christ loved the church to the point of complete self-immolation on the Cross. Paul exhorts Christian men, who were more attuned to using women than loving them, to copy such sacrificial love in being self-sacrificial in their love for their wives. In India, the coming of Christianity put an end to the horrible practice of the Suttee, in which a widow was expected to throw herself onto the burning funeral pyre of her deceased husband, and if she refused, she would be picked up and cast into it. Jesus gave honor and dignity to women, yet because each of us has a specific role in the Kingdom of God, some of which are reserved to men, Jennifer takes the position that Christianity is abusive to women. Is God being unfair to me because I can’t be a priest? Or is this simply not open to me because it is not His choice for me? Liberals cannot stand the idea that the priesthood is open only to men for certain theological reasons. They claim this represents a terrible persecution by the Church, ignoring the two millennia of social change in the status of women which began with the Christianity of the Roman Empire and spread throughout the world.
Is it misogyny to refuse to say that abortion is good thing? Thousands of women are coming forward every year to add their voices to those who are saying they they were lied to and that their abortion was the worst thing they have ever done. Why is encouraging behaviors that treat women as sexual toys, then dumping them at the abortion clinic later, considered to be “empowering?” This is not empowering women, it is making Planned Parenthood, a large corporation started in the anti-black racism of Margaret Sanger, filthy rich. Women are dying at abortion clinics, yet our desire to outlaw abortion is somehow considered an attack against women. My daughter doesn’t see this. Any idea which supports the idea of a woman being honored by fulfilling her in the role she was made for – wife and mother – is seen as the repression of women. She was deeply offended when I suggested this, yet this is the best way to end the abuse of women – teaching young men that they are not sex toys, not to be abused, and are destined to be deeply loved by their future husband. In turning sex into a contact sport, we have turned women into mere objects. This is what Jennifer should object to, especially after her X-husband so abused and demeaned her.
The Christian faith has had a profound effect upon all the cultures which it has touched. The sad thing about Liberalism is their failure to acknowledge any good from the Christian faith. I do not deny that there have been a number of men and women who have abused the faith for personal gain, making mockery of the teachings of Christ. Today we live in a world in which it is supposed that American Exceptionalism (that is, running all over the world imposing Democracy at the point of the sword), Capitalism (with its attendant violations of Jesus’ teaching against hoarding wealth and abusing the poor), and the racism of the KKK are able to exist in synchrony with being a Christian. They cannot. You cannot charge 30% interest on loans, hoard millions of dollars in your bank account while the poor suffer, turn a blind eye to pornography and refuse to shut it down by force of law, support bombing the hell out of every country we want to invade for their raw materials, and in any way (except that of being delusional) claim you are a good, orthodox follower of Christ. My daughter is smart. She sees these acts of hypocrisy and wants nothing to do with them
Her problem is that she has listened to only one side of the story – the side which tells her that if people can’t be sexually immoral they are being “hated.” When someone states a simple scientific fact – that there are two genders – that is also claimed as hate. Leftists are not interested in facts. They use emotion to get people whipped into an unthinking and irrational frenzy of hatred, a frenzy which can be used to create violence against the system they despise – Christianity. When I suggest that women should not have sex until marriage as a way to end abortion, online opponents ridicule me, call me names, and threaten violence. The same goes for suggesting that there is a natural order in which motherhood and being a wife is the highest calling to which a woman can aspire. No – that is misogyny and hatred according to Liberalthink. Because I don’t believe that men can become women I am a terrible hater and a rotten person.
Enough. I’m getting away from the point I wanted to make. My daughter, like so many others in the world, is looking for meaning in life. Beyond everything else we are told or sold, that meaning comes from love. It comes from being loved and giving love. What is passing itself off today as Christianity is about 10% love and 90% caving to the anti-Christian culture around us. In a truly Christian nation, the poor would be cared for – not by the state – but by the people of the Church. Women would be protected from exploitation in all forms – pornography, spousal abuse, sex trafficking, rape, and those doing such things would be punished rather than slapped on the wrist and set free to do so again. We would see a healthcare system that truly cared for people instead of caring to make drug companies filthy rich. War would be a last resort and our troops would not be spread all over the world to insure that everyone got some “good old ‘Murican Democracy” (which is Republispeak for, “you have oil and we want it”).
Most of all, religious institutions would operate on the policy of God’s love for all people. Jennifer was raised with a steady diet of Fundamentalist pulpit-pounders whose message was always the same: God hates everyone but us because we are doctrinally right. The threat of a burning, eternal hell for misbehaving was drilled into my children. What child could love a terrifying God like that? That message is great for keeping the riff-raff in the pews in line, but it is a terrible message to give to children. Even the way that many Christians speak about and treat those who struggle with sins such as homosexual behavior (think Westboro Baptist) is out of line with the love that God has for everyone. Certainly it is proper to warn people that evil behavior, choosing wickedness over God, has consequences. But do we warn people with love for them and tears in our eyes, telling them that God really does love them and what they are doing is not in their best interest? Or do we present God as ever-angry with them, a stern, angry, and severe Judge who can’t wait to throw sinners into hell, ready to pounce on them for the slightest infraction, instead of our loving heavenly Father who longs for us to return to Him,
Jennifer hates that which she has never known intellectually or seen experientially. From her angry and boorish father, who never knew love himself and didn’t know how to pass it to his children, to the sick and demented congregations in which she was raised, she has never really heard of, seen, or understood the Christian faith or God’s love for us. I’ve told her I was wrong – so wrong – when I was younger. She even admitted to me a few years after my conversion to the Catholic faith that I had changed. But rather than investigating the Christian faith, asking questions, and trying to get to the heart of true Christianity, she is content with the lies that Liberalism tells about Christianity. And it doesn’t help that Christianity in America is about as far from the real thing as black is from white.
When the Church starts behaving like Christ perhaps my daughter will want a relationship with our heavenly Father who really, really loves her.