Privately, I consider myself a Christian, but I am embarrassed to admit it publicly. I am embarrassed because the modern face of Christianity has changed. Today, the most frequently seen Christians are the religious zealots who wave angry signs in the streets, who cry over burning candles at vigils for people they have never met while television cameras roll, who flock in droves to interfere in the very private, difficult, life-and-death decisions of individuals and who generally clamor for publicity and attention at every turn.
I consider myself a reasoned, thinking individual, and those Christians–with their angry certainty, with their lack of logic, with their holier-than-thou attitudes–alienate me from my faith.
I imagine this is somewhat like the feeling a moderate Muslim must have for the men who flew planes into the Twin Towers in New York City.
When I read about Christians who lie in wait for a doctor who performs abortions, with the scope of a rifle pointed toward the door of his family home, or who threaten the judge in the Terry Schaivo case with death for simply doing his job—upholding the law of the land—I feel as if I must not be a Christian, because I could not kill to advance the cause of my religion, my religion, whose highest tenet is “Thou shalt not kill.”
God gave us minds. He intended us to use them. Just why are so many Americans adopting issues with a black-and-white mentality that would shame the reasoned, thinking men who founded this great country of ours—founded it with religious freedom as one of its main goals?
More importantly, why are we moderates not speaking out and telling those extreme Christians that they do not follow the teachings of our God? Why are we letting them speak for us, letting them be the mutated faces of modern Christianity? We’ve decried the moderate Muslims who failed to publicly condemn the terrorists, yet we are doing the very same thing in our own country every time we say nothing when an abortion provider dies at the hands of a Christian extremist. These fundamentalist, extremist Christians are stealing my religion. They are taking it and twisting it to their purposes in exactly the same way the Muslim terrorists have twisted the gentle, peace-loving religion of Islam. And it is wrong.
Any time religion turns into war, it is wrong.