Fake Christians are a pest. I’m talking about the alleged conservative Christians of the Religious Right. I’ve even called them that myself, but over the years, I’ve become convinced that they are not Christian at all. They are as murderous as any conservative Christian in history, but those Christians at least pretended Jesus mattered to them.
I suppose we could call them something other than fake Christians, or I suppose you could still make an argument that they’re just another of a myriad forms Christianity has taken over the two millennia of its existence. I call them fake Christians for one simple reason: you can’t have Christianity without Christ, and these people have removed Jesus from the equation. To listen to them, you would no more know Jesus had existed than George W. Bush.
They focus instead of cherry-picked Old Testament passages that make the Bible out to be one long anti-gay diatribe. What it is, in actuality, is one long anti-Gentile diatribe. The Old Testament takes everything Gentiles (Pagans) saw as holy, and made it wicked. Old Testament Judaism is a rejection of Paganism. It is not a rejection of “homosexuality” which, in any event (along with “Caucasians and Byzantines), did not even exist in people’s minds until the 19th century.
Now they claim to be the true form of Christianity, but as I’ve said before, Jesus exists only in weaponized form, as a name to beat others with. They don’t care about what he taught, or what he said. Jesus said to love. They hate. Jesus said to turn the other cheek. They attack. Jesus said to pray in private. they pray publicly. Jesus said to forgive. They plot revenge. Jesus loved the poor. They worship Kochs.
What’s funny is that they obsess over Satan without even talking about Jesus. Jesus thought there was a Satan, though in the Old Testament Satan is just a servant of YHWH.
But while the Religious Right is all about Satan it’s not about Jesus, which makes them what?
Think about it. Mark Creech wrote in the Christian Post the other day accusing of “LGBT-affirming” churches as a “Fifth Column.” Aren’t Creech himself, and other Religious Right groups, really the fifth column in the equation? After all, they’re pretending to be Christians while accusing Christians of pretending to be Christians.
And we’re already all aware of Rick Santorum’s claim from a few years ago that mainline Protestants are not really Christians, that they’re aiding Satan in his war on America.
“Mainline Protestantism in this country…is in shambles, it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it,” he claimed.
This is a spiritual war. And the Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country – the United States of America. If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age.
Again, Satan. But where’s Jesus? Creech says, “Others will say I have no right to judge who is or isn’t a Christian” but “God allows it [the church] to sort out true believers from nonbelievers.”
I don’t think you need God’s permission to spot nonbelievers, and Creech is one. If you don’t really care about Jesus’ teaching, you’re not really a Christian, are you? That is the whole point of the gospels, after all. They don’t all present the same Jesus, but they all teach readers about Jesus’ own teachings. I would argue that if you strip the gospels from the New Testament, you don’t have much left. Sure, you have Paul, but Paul too bases his teachings on the figure of Jesus. Jesus is absolutely essential to Christianity.
So how about Phil Robertson? He told the Republican Leadership Conference Thursday that,
“You lose your religion, you lose your morality, you lose your freedom. You cannot be right for America if you are not right with God.”
Not only does this contradict the United States Constitution and the First Amendment, but it’s patently and demonstrably false. Morality has existed for as long as humans have existed. Neither Judaism nor Christianity invented morality.
And Robertson is no fool. He said, “The GOP must be desperate to call a person like me.”
Desperate they are. So desperate they will get more extreme every time they lose, thinking that will somehow turn the tide in a society moving steadily to the left.
But what about Jesus? He says he has a strong faith in Jesus Christ. But he doesn’t show any awareness at all that he knows anything about Jesus beyond his name. No more than any other Religious Right figure does Robertson talk about Jesus’ teachings. About his love for the poor and condemnation of the rich, about his telling his followers to turn the other cheek, love their enemies and forgive them.
Shouldn’t these people, if they’re really Christians, be talking about Jesus, just a little bit? Don’t hold your breath: it won’t happen. They’re not Christians. They’re an aberration, a manifestation of an extreme conservative reaction to change that didn’t have a religion conservative enough to bend to its cause. Lacking such a religion, they took bits and pieces from the country’s dominant religion and pretended to be the real thing.
It’s not. It’s a con. It’s a bait and switch. There is a real Christianity out there – many forms of it – at least if we’re defining Christianity by the inclusion of Jesus. And I don’t see how such a definition could be rejected.
For the rest, there is continuing debate about the original form(s) Christianity took after Jesus’ death and from that perspective maybe there are no real Christians at all today. And if Catholicism was Paganized by the Early Church in an attempt to co-opt Pagan religiosity, then it also did not later survive contact with Germanic Paganism.
These are issues that have been studied by scholars as well. Definitions will remain problematic, but we can agree, I think, on the essential inclusion of Jesus in the religion founded in his name, the religion that is, ultimately about him.
It’s time for real Christians to reject these fake Christians. Love them. Forgive them if you must. But, please, if you want your own religion to survive, it’s time to cut bait and call them what they are. They’ve already taken the Republican Party and forever stained it with their evil. Don’t let them do the same to your religion.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.