Last fall, 700,000 men gathered at our nation’s Capital to focus on mending relationships. Their goals were to help men end adulterous behavior, quit abusing and neglecting the women and children in their lives, and renew their promises to their families. Knowing this, it is hard to understand why this rally would be seen as a threat rather than honorable. Imagine 700,000 men acknowledging the areas in which they’ve failed and wanting to take responsibility for their actions. My father was one of these men. Knowing him in the capacity that I do, anything or anyone that can make him acknowledge his imperfections is to be admired! Now why am I telling you this? Why does it matter? People perceived these men as a threat. They were neither welcomed nor respected for taking a stand in what they felt was important. This matters because Conservative Christian thinkers are forced to face this type of discriminating judgement daily.
II. One article that I read pertaining to the Promise Keeper gathering was titled “Invasion of the Promise Keepers.”
(a) I found this rather ironic. Why would men eager to finally take responsibility be seen as “invading?” As a woman, I would rather be with a man who openly admitted that he wasn’t always right and who respected and honored me, than to be with a man who did not.
(b) Evidently, however, not all women want to be appreciated. Many openly condemned them for their attempts. Protestors of both genders greeted these men with the phrase “racist, sexist, homophobe, go home.”
III. In an issue of Time, one reporter addresses this type of religious discrimination. He states that “the fight is not so much over what people ought to believe; it is over what they can say, and where, and to whom.” He then goes on to give the following examples:
(a) The Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out the sentence of a murderer who killed a 70-year-old woman with an ax because the prosecuting attorney cited Biblical law in requesting the death penalty.
(b) In Decateur, IL, an elementary, public school teacher demanded that her seven-year-old students mark out the word “God” printed in their phonics book.
(c) In Oak Park, IL, a private Catholic hospital was not allowed to erect a cross because it could potentially offend some the town’s residents.
IV. As one who has experienced this particular type of discrimination, I have often wondered why someone would form a general opinion of disgust with such a large, diverse group of people. For this reason, I have often asked those who felt a great dislike for Christians in general why they felt the way they did.
(a) Some recalled times a child when a Christian condemned them for not believing as they felt that person should believe.
(b) Others had been raised in a Christian Church and dislike the judgmental behavior of many of their fellow churchgoers and felt constricted by rules.
(c) As a Christian, I have experienced the latter. Many times when I have made mistakes, my peers have pointed them out whether they needed to or not. For this reason, I can relate.
(d) However, I also know, as a Christian, that through this experience, I have learned not to make this mistake myself. As a result, it is even more difficult for me to be categorized as someone who does act in this manner.
I must stress that I am not stereotyping all religious people as sincere individuals. However, I do believe that because one practices Christianity does not mean that one hates and condemns all those who exercise different beliefs. In fact, Christians are taught to avoid being judgmental, to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Thus, if one truly practices Christianity, the terms “racist,” “sexist,” and “homophobe” do not apply.