One of my “totally sanctified” Christian readers explained Christian discrimination to me. He said as long as you discriminate against unrepentant sinners it’s OK. I’m trying to figure out what that means. Let’s see: a sinner is one who willfully violates what I think God wants, and I would guess that he’s unrepentant if he doesn’t give a damn. So it would be OK for me to exclude that person from my business or my church or my presence.
Where do I find people like this?
The early Christian church felt that all Jews fit in this category. John’s Gospel (written around the year 100) mentions “the Jews” in a negative light 71 times, so it would be easy for a “totally sanctified” Christian to find a scripture quote before wiping out entire Jewish neighborhoods. This justified Christian discrimination continued over the ensuing centuries with ever-increasing anti-Jewish violence and murder, culminating in the Holocaust. In January 1937, the best-seller on the streets of Berlin was the: “Nazified version of the Gospel of St. John.” But these Christian Nazis must have felt this discrimination was OK because these Jews were unrepentant sinners.
We are often told that “Witch Killing” was done by secular courts and some of it certainly was. However, there is absolutely no doubt that it was stimulated and ordered by the Christian churches. During the 14th century, there were 38 trials against witches and sorcerers in England, 95 in France, and 80 in Germany. In Roman Catholic countries, they burned them; in Protestant lands, they hung them. But I’m sure this was deemed fine because these witches had to be unrepentant sinners. Right?
In America, we are forbidden by law to discriminate in government-run businesses like Amtrak or the U.S. Postal Service, etc. That means I can’t refuse to sell a ticket or a stamp to someone who looks different than me. But what if a gay married couple wants to buy a sleeper on my train? Can I discriminate against them? Ted Cruz seems to say that would be fine because the government cannot order me to “go against my conscience.”
I’m sorry; I’m just not a “totally sanctified” Christian. And I know the historical Jesus wasn’t either; he believed in the Jewish Torah and the one God, Yahweh. I think he had plenty of friends and followers who believed differently than he did, like his neighboring Canaanites in Tyre and Sidon, who followed a religion of many deities like Ba’al and Moloch. When he cured the Canaanite woman’s daughter (Mark 7:24) he didn’t demand that she become a Jew. He just asked that she believe in his healing powers, the way I believed in my surgeon before he inserted my new Pacemaker. I’m sure that many of the Jews looked at Canaanites as sinners — maybe even unrepentant sinners. And most Jews certainly discriminated against them.
But not the historical Jesus. I think his “inclusivity” is what makes the him different. I think he would have accepted anybody, not just Jew and Greek, male and female, slave or free (Gal. 3:28) but also hookers and pornstars, gays and Muslims and Blacks, and everyone else who is discriminated against by some of today’s “totally sanctified” Christians.
Oh sure, some Americans are still opposed to gay marriage. Catholics believe marriage after divorce is adultery, unless you pay for an annulment. But many Christians go further; they refuse to accept these “unrepentant sinners” into their lives and they certainly won’t let them enter into full communion with their churches. I’m ashamed to admit that my own Irish-Catholic mother would not let her divorced brother sleep in our house with his new bride back in 1940.
This kind of discrimination may be a Christian thing; but it surely ain’t a Jesus thing, That’s my opinion.