Hate your enemy … kill your neighbor

“Christian” America has lost its way. This week another assault rifle massacre. In Texas (again) this time. The governor’s response to the problem? Pose for a social media photo with an assault rifle. After all, a packing nation is a beacon of freedom and strength. A nation whose people are armed to the teeth will live secure. You know, “a good guy with a gun ….”

The church has always struggled to live Jesus’s message, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Or this one, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus connects this with what he called the greatest commandment, to “love God.” In today’s Americanized Christianity, faith is no longer about love, forgiveness, and grace, as it has been for thousands of years for God’s people. Now, for the Americanized version of “Christianity,” faith has become more about American exceptionalism, power, dominance, white superiority, enforcement of these beliefs by any means necessary, including violence.

Instead of loving your neighbor, now we are encouraged to “have a plan to kill everyone you meet.” Always be aware of your language, the talking head anxiously blurts. Always be nice to others, because you can never know when your words will trigger someone’s anger to the point of breaking and acting out with violent assault. So you must be prepared to kill that person. Always.

The insanity of living in a world like this is almost too much to fathom. Of course we can never say it’s the abundance of assault weapons that make such a world possible. Instead, we must all live in fear as if treading on egg shells around everyone we meet. To be prepared to meet the absolute worst in every individual. The spiritual disonance between this and what Jesus teaches us about loving our enemy, praying for those who persecute us, and loving our neighbor? It’s unconscionable.

As if this isn’t enough, for the last decade or more we have been projecting our fears and insecurities on our children. A normalized culture of training our children to survive a shooter event isn’t enough. Teaching our children to do triage on their friends in the event a shooter assaults them in what has historically been treated as a place of unconditional safety, our public schools, isn’t enough.

“Christian” America has lost its way. Maybe it’s time we get back in touch with Jesus’s message of forgiveness and grace, and focus on loving each other, rather than training ourselves to kill each other.


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