Musings from outside the mainstream.
In observing various social media feeds after the Vice Presidential debates the subject of faith drew my attention. For me what is interesting is not what Mike Pence or Tim Kaine said but how evangelical Christians interpreted their responses.
The consensus of the faithful seems to fall along these lines: Kaine gave a polished political answer with little substance while Paine gave a more authentic response and, this seems to be key, Pence wasn’t afraid to mention Christ.
Pence is courageous in speaking up for the unborn, while Kaine is pandering for votes by discussing faith in generic terms.
When I listen to this each election cycle, I experience what is now a fairly predictable range of reactions: dumbfounded, frustrated, antagonistic, defeated and hopeless. I experience all these because I am tired of religion. I am tired especially of Christian witness and certainty. Though to be fair, I’m sure if I lived elsewhere, I would be tired of Islam.
The reason for my fatigue stems largely from hypocrisy that permeates religion whether on obvious display in the public realm or buried in our private lives. If it’s how the Boy Scouts of America or the Catholic Church lacked the courage to protect the innocent and instead protected pedophiles and their institutions through cover ups, or how Christian culture has shamed unmarried pregnant women or the sex abuse by Christians in my own family or people in power who frequently and publicly pontificate yet consistently lack contrition… I simply can no longer be silent.
I can’t not respond to the notion that witness has to be specific. Witness can be universal. You can believe in something deeply and still recognize the depth of another without needing to be right.
We can exist side by side and acknowledge how our values overlap significantly, or we can be caught up in the claiming of righteousness. I chose the former. And I speak today because I am tired of your attempted ownership of morality.
I am tired of Christian insistence that you are right in the face of the failings of your religion. The flawed practice of your religion by so many has minimized others, and through the centuries has contributed to the abuse and marginalization of entire cultures and races. You act as if these things haven’t happened and don’t still happen in one form or another.
Do you feel my passion? Do you think I am authentic? My belief is none of your business, but what I attempt to practice is universal; inclusion, peace, kindness and social stability. A cup overflowing for everyone.
Rigidity of belief systems have led to exclusion, abuse and war. I want my political leaders to indeed have their religious ego in check. They must serve all of us, not just Christians, in this country.
There are those who suggest this is a Christian country, but I don’t want a monolithic religious country, look what happens when there is one. We would be better off if we could find passages from all scriptures that indeed are not specific on who’s god it is, but that speak to universal truths, universal values.
We could have faith in public sphere, but not ownership of faith.
But that’s not what the Religious Right wants. So I will resist. I will point out the flaws of religion and doggedly insist on separation of Church and State. I will call out hypocrisy when I see it. And I will vote.