I hate conservatism. Let me explain. I go to an uber-conservative church. It’s not that the pastor is conservative, but it’s like it’s a small town and all the conservatives go to the Baptist church and all the liberals go to the Methodist church…. Kinda. Only this isn’t a small town.
I just got back from a gathering where a guy at this small town in a big city church spoke of his archeological dig and things he discovered. When they weren’t digging, a couple of Bedouins stayed near their supplies to safeguard it. Not a big deal, until you hear Mr. Conservative (we’ll call him Mr. C) chime up some negative comment about Bedouins, or even Muslims. And then, if you aren’t careful, he’ll chime in with his wife about how Israel is meant for the Jews and the Christians and everyone else can just burn. That may be a slight hyperbole, but it’s along the lines of what he’d say.
So I text this to my husband and send a tweet with the phrase “overwhelmed by conservatives.” Don’t get me wrong. I find myself more conservative than liberal, but that is mostly from my small town upbringing. In the past 5 or 10 years, I find myself actually leaning more liberally than my small hometown. I take a lot more things in stride than I used to. Maybe this is me growing up, or maybe this is just me interpreting the sayings of Jesus differently. Either way, I do not accuse all Muslims for September 11, 2001. I know it was a very small percentage of a large growing religion that were involved. Consider the extremists and the terrorist equivalent to the gung-ho church of the Crusades or the Inquisition. I know there are differences, but the point is every religion has extremists that are more prevalent during different eras of history.
My poor husband was subjected to anti-gay comments tonight. The red-head in me wants to burst out and exclaim that my gay friends are more loving and considerate than my church friends. I’ve been in churches where homosexuality was considered a disease that only the church could cure, shunning them because they were different. I hate that kind of Christianity. I’m not going up to my friend T-Bear and say that I have the cure to his disease and preach at him. We both went to the same school for a while, and I’m sure he got his fair share of preaching in there. I’d go up to him when I have a bad day and ask for a hug! Several times he picked me up and spun me around. That’s who he is… He’s a guy who gives HUGE hugs that I enjoyed getting to know. Music is his life, and I wouldn’t be able to hear it if I were still the uber-conservative-small-town-girl.
How many times do we miss the music of the people around us because we go thinking we’re better than they are. I find churches today are becoming more and more pharisaical. Jesus opposed the Pharisees openly on several occasions while he opened his arms to the “sinners and tax collectors” of his day. The Pharisees got rich while Jesus partied with the poor.
My heart breaks for the conservatives I know because I don’t think they are getting it. Granted, I think that about some of the liberals I know too, but it seems that the liberals who tend to disagree with me approach it more logically and thoughtfully rather than thumpin’ their bible saying “because it says so in here!” As a religion major, I was taught that in order to claim that a verse or passage in the bible was for today, I needed to search and find when it was written and to whom, what was going on at that time, and read it in context. Today, we say “Jeremiah 29:11” as an exhortation, but forget that Jeremiah lived around the time that Israel was swept into turmoil. They were taken from their homeland to Babylon and it wasn’t a very pretty picture. The verse, in context, basically says, “You’re going to go through some tough stuff, but I know the plans I have for you, and even though it’s not going to be easy, these plans, well… they’re for your good.” I never hear that when I see that verse written everywhere. I find it more of a comfort to read that verse as I move from place to place. Moves aren’t easy, but I know the outcome will be good. If only conservatives would learn to exegete the Bible a little better, I think we’d have a lot less issues about muslims and homosexuals.
I find myself amazed that my closest friends and I have similar ideas about prevalent issues. For example, gay marriage… While I think of marriage more as a religious contract, I’m not going to say that my friends from my parents church cannot get married because they are both males. I kinda find their relationship cute. One is off the wall, and the other is a down to earth kind of guy. I am not going to them to say “sorry, Nick, you can’t marry Brandon….” that’s just stupid. They are humans. They have their own rights. Marriage should be one of them.
I also disagree with abortion under any circumstance, but I’m not (hypothetically) going to tell my friend who was raped she has to have her kid. It’s ultimately her choice. She can deal with the consequences, be they good or bad. I can tell her that I’ll be with her every step of the way as a friend, and I can tell her what I think, if she asks for it, but it’s not my place to judge her or forbid her to go through with it. I’m not an overbearing person, most of the time.
This being said, it’s very difficult for me to thrive in a place where people are overtly preachy and anti – anything that isn’t conservative… I’ve learned that moderation is a good thing when it comes to alcohol, sodas, and sugars… so why is it that we as americans cannot see that maybe a more moderate stance on things will help us? A house divided cannot stand… neither, I think, can a nation.