This blog post has, until now, been of the type that I put on my Wall of Shame. However, I thought the content deserved to be highlighted.
Mr. Giles, the “pastor” of Clash (wonder why he chose that name) Church in Aventura, Florida is at it again.
This was a picture of a political button he posted on his Clash Daily Facebook page (which currently has over 28,000 likes):
Mr. Giles is a man who calls himself one of God’s shepherds and yet he is posting something that uses the word hate, and the purpose of his post is to apparently antagonize/insult half the country.
In my journey to get to a truth (my truth, a realistic truth, a truth anchored in intellectualism rather than hate) I would like to first look at definitions of communism from several sources:
First, a definition from Websters:
note: click on the pictures; it makes them easier to read.
Next is a definition from Encyclopedia Britannica:
Now the definition from Oxford/English Dictionary:
I would be remiss if I did not provide a “conservative” definition of communism, and so, here is one from Conservapedia:
Note the nice sickle and hammer logo and the use of words like left-wing materialistic and violently atheistic to introduce the definition; words none of the more scholarly definitions use.
But lest I be accused of ignoring the “progressive” definition of communism, here is a link to an entire “thesis” on what communism is as well as capitalism and socialism. I suppose you can at least applaud the conservatives for their economy of words. In any event, the following is a very interesting read:
If you are wondering, I do, in fact, have my own theories about our form of capitalism, but that is not really what this blog is about (though I will touch this topic). No, this blog is, once again, about Christians being hateful and ignorant. Let’s address the ignorant part first, because I just provided definitions of communism, and besides, the ignorant part ties in with the hatefulness later.
All of the definitions of communism refer to natural resources and industry being controlled by the government or the “collective”. Very few liberals or progressives I know advocate that form of government. In fact, most progressives I know (and I include myself in this category) would like to see a government that more closely adheres to what should be described as Christian principles; i.e., taking care of the widows and orphans (the poor), protecting our natural resources (being good stewards of the Earth God created), being fair (rewarding hard work and perseverance), and loving our neighbor as ourselves (no political buttons aimed at attacking those who believe differently). This does not mean a system that tries to ensure that each and every individual has exactly the same house, car, food and clothes (although a good system would be one where everyone HAS these things), but it also is not a system that concentrates wealth and power in a few elite on the backs of the overwhelming majority.
I’m sorry, but even in the watered-down intellectual and ethical society we live in now, many (if not most) people work way harder than what they reap in benefits. My dad used to come home with the skin peeling off his feet from walking around in the chemicals at the automotive factory in which he worked. He purchased a $12,000 house which he lived in. We never took a Disney vacation, but he managed to send me to university (though I still had to have student loans).
This was the same man who watched his own father gunned down when he was four-years-old because his dad would not gin cotton with the wealthiest cotton-ginner in the Helena, Arkansas area. Instead, my dad’s dad was trying to get the other cotton growers to co-op and gin their cotton together so they would not be economically taken advantage of by the guy with all the wealth and power. This, my friends, is an example of the worst kind of capitalism; one that fears people trying to better themselves. In fact, one that fears this enough to kill his neighbor to protect his fat piece of the pie.
My dad had seven siblings, and when his dad died, there were newborn twins. My dad had to quit school in 3rd grade to help take care of his family. My dad worked hard. He always left the house an hour and a half before he had to be to work. When he died, he had about $60,000 in the bank. Now, I realize that to most people that is a lot of money, but my dad was frugal (we often used the word “cheap” – sorry, Dad). He worked his fingers (and feet) to the bone from the time he was in 3rd grade and he only had $60,000 to his name when he died and he did that by denying himself pretty much any frills while he lived. That amount included proceeds from selling his house. Is that really the type of economic and political system we want in this country? The type of system that rewards really hard work with a relative pittance and peeling feet?
So, I hope you can understand why I get a little testy when I hear “communist” equated to “liberal” even if it isn’t coming from the Facebook page of a pastor. In my opinion, this is just another example of the anti-intellectualism I observe every day on the part of certain Christian fundamentalists. The “leaders” of this movement rely on the fact that their followers never fact-check anything, are guided by anger and hate rather than love, and are serial slanderers who mindlessly pass along hateful rhetoric and memes and who listen to Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck 24/7. These are the folks who bash media outlets like NPR but have NEVER listened to them. They are the ones who will read an Onion article (a satirical news magazine in the vein of Mad Magazine) and then tell their church friends not to let their children read Harry Potter books because J.K. Rowling is a devil-worshipper. These are the people who will post a picture of a hateful political button and then peek out from behind the curtain to watch as the hate-fest ensues.
And so, this brings us to the hatefulness I mentioned. Look at some of the responses to this “pastor’s” picture (these are actual screen shots. I have blacked-out the names because I don’t want some bigot suing me for calling them out on their bigotry):
“….rigger bastard….”? I don’t think the poster was inferring that Mr. Obama is a fatherless boatsman, do you?
You might be wondering if there was any moderation going on by Mr. Giles to try and stem this type of hate-filled speech. Alas, I didn’t see any.
I really want to know what is going on with Christians and the Church. I am at my wits end. I truly am. I would very much like to find a new way to identify myself as a follower of Christ rather than calling myself a “Christian”. How do I call myself a Christian and yet not be identified with Mr. Giles and his ilk? How about I drop “Christian”, which is not a word used in the Bible and which now means something totally different than someone who is a Christ-follower, and just refer to myself as a disciple of Christ , or a DOC. I’m open for other suggestions.