Hate is like any fire – it doesn’t care where it gets its fuel.  Hate can burn in a fundamentalist and it can burn in an atheist just as easily.  Hate ignites where ever there is dry tinder and a spark.  Jesus knew this all too well that’s why He said; “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 16:35,36) Jesus isn’t the god of the ‘fundamentalists’ who lie when they say ‘God hates homosexuals’.  And Jesus  isn’t the god of those who blame all the world’s hate on religion and Christianity in particular.

An article in the ‘Daily Beast‘ presents a typical view:  “The first time I remember reading the name Fred Phelps was in 1998 when he, along with members from his Westboro Baptist Church, picketed the funeral of Matthew Shepherd, the University of Wyoming student who was targeted, tortured, and murdered because he was gay. As mourners grieved the loss of Shepherd, Phelps & Co. stood outside holding signs promoting their ‘God-inspired’ homophobia. Like many others, I was appalled that a so-called man of God would exploit a community’s tragedy and heartbreak to advance such a hateful message. But having grown up in Christian fundamentalism, I wasn’t surprised. As a child, one of the things I learned about Jesus-focused fundamentalism is that ‘God’s truth’ contained no compassion for the people it hurt, offended, or mocked.”

Since when does ‘Jesus-focused’ equal homophobia?  People read this and believe that all fundamentalist Christians are homophobic.  Yet a Jesus-focused fundamentalist would know what Jesus actually tells us (Luke 16:35,36).  But people rarely go to the bother of checking out what Jesus actually says.  Instead they rely on what others tell them.

King David was distressed by the death of his good friend Jonathan and was mourning him – but this little sign doesn’t tell you that. The sign is setting up a strawman to fool the ignorant. Is it working on you?

This is a problem common to Christians and anti-Christians alike.      Today, we can find all sorts of examples of how the Bible’s message to humanity is twisted and misrepresented.  Ignorance is dry tinder for hate.  

All that is needed is a spark. Albert Mohler writes about one Canadian politician; “Svend Robinson, the Member of Parliament for Burnaby-Douglas. Robinson is a notoriously liberal and flamboyant legislator, who also promotes himself as something of a symbolic leader for Canada’s gay community. Robinson’s animus toward Christianity has been evident for some time, and he has described Christian leaders as ‘ecclesiastical dictators’. Responding to one critic, Robinson showed his true colours: ‘You people are sick. God should strike you dead‘ [emphasis mine].” (Evangelicals Now) Hate doesn’t care who  you are, it will feed on anyone and grow.

Sadly, many are left with what has become a majority view of God and Christianity; “Fred’s hateful God left nothing to the imagination, and was easy to reject. But for countless American Christians, finding a God who doesn’t hate them for what they are is a long and painful journey.”  (Fred Phelps May Be Dead, But His Fundamentalist God Lives )   That journey is only as far away as an honest and open reading of the Gospels in the Bible; “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged . . . ” (John 3:17,18)

Many people who haven’t read or studied the Bible have come to hate it and often their ‘Bible hate’ is based  solely on what its critics  say; “The Bible may, indeed does, contain a warrant for trafficking in humans, for ethnic cleansing, for slavery, for bride-price, and for indiscriminate massacre, but we are not bound by any of it because it was put together by crude, uncultured human mammals.”  (Christopher Hitchens)    Here is what Jesus says in the Bible  about hate and love; “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” (Matthew  5:43-47)

I am a fundamentalist Christian.  I believe and live by the Holy Bible, not perfectly but I practice every day.  If that means that you hate me and believe I should be in jail my response as a fundamentalist will be to strive to do what Jesus tells me to do – Love you and pray for you.  You have nothing to fear from me – I won’t fight you because Jesus tells me not to.

Praise the Lord!