I just want you—the American people—to know something very important that you may be missing in the daily news. Hold onto your hats because I am going to be doing some high-pitch shouting on down the page. I am not normally a shouter in my writing, but the shouting below is done to emphasize in unforgettable terms what I have to say in regard to the title (above) of this main blog post.
Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals like Franklin Graham, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Jr., and hundreds of other fundie leaders of that ilk DO NOT SPEAK FOR us Mainline Christians. Who are Mainline Christians? We are the many millions of people who are members of the United Methodist Church, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church, Presbyterian Church USA, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Church, Disciples of Christ Church, United Church of Christ, Congregationalist Church, American Baptist Church, Northern Baptist Church, Quaker Church, Roman Catholic Church, Greek Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Russian Orthodox Church, Unitarian Universalist Church, and many thousands of other nonfundamentalist and nonconservative Christian denominations and churches here in the United States and around the world.
Why am I concerned about this? In recent weeks, more than just one famous Christian fundamentalist or conservative evangelical leader (or sympathizer) has stood up on the American stage in the midst of some high-profile scandal, like Joy Behar’s on-air criticism of Vice-President Mike Pence’s religious leanings, and pretended to speak to the issue on behalf of ALL AMERICAN CHRISTIANS.
People like Franklin Graham DO NOT speak for us Mainline Christians. They ARE NOT our religious leaders. They DO NOT occupy high positions in any of our Mainline Christian churches. More often than not, Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are more than happy to state on any American stage that we Mainline Christians are not even Christians at all—AND CLAIM THAT ALL OF US ARE GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL RIGHT AFTER WE DIE BECAUSE OUR BELIEFS ARE NOT EXACTLY LIKE THEIR BELIEFS.
American citizens—this is what I want you to know—so read it slowly and carefully:
PLEASE GET THIS MESSAGE DEEP INTO YOUR SKULLS AMERICAN CITIZENS—ALL 326 MILLION OF YOU—AND LET IT REST THERE FOREVER. AMERICAN CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISTS AND CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICALS DESPISE MAINLINE CHRISTIANS JUST AS MUCH AS THEY DESPISE THAT BEER YOU ENJOY WITH YOUR HOTDOG AT YOUR FAVORITE BASEBALL GAME. THEY DESPISE US MAINLINE CHRISTIANS JUST AS MUCH AS YOU DISLIKE THEM WHEN ONE OF THEIR HOT-HEADED STREET PREACHERS HARASSES YOU ON A PUBLIC SIDEWALK. THEY REGULARLY REMIND US MAINLINE CHRISTIANS THAT WE ARE NOT MEMBERS OF THEIR TRIBE. THEY MAKE FUN OF US, CALL US VILE NAMES, AND TELL US WE ARE NOT REAL CHRISTIANS. THAT BEING THE CASE, FUNDIE LEADERS, PREACHERS, AND CHURCH MEMBERS DO NOT SPEAK FOR US MAINLINE CHRISTIANS ON THE AMERICAN STAGE—JUST LIKE THEY DO NOT SPEAK FOR MANY OF YOU ON THE AMERICAN STAGE. AMERICAN CITIZENS—DEEP IN YOUR HEADS—PLEASE QUIT LUMPING US MAINLINE CHRISTIANS TOGETHER WITH THE CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISTS AND CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICALS. WE ARE NOT THE SAME AS THEM. YOU NEED TO KNOW THAT—UNDERSTAND IT—AND ALWAYS REMEMBER IT. THEY DO NOT SPEAK FOR US MAINLINE CHRISTIANS.
Why is this important for me to say today? Well, let me put it like this—and I hope you will take this seriously. One of these days, some hot-headed, out-of-control leader in the Christian fundamentalist or conservative evangelical movement is going to say something or do something bizarrely dangerous and provocative. As a direct result of it, outraged American citizens, like those mob people with pitchforks and torches at the end of the 1930s Frankenstein movie, are going to have one word on their mind in the midst of their outrage. That word will be Christian. Like most people who are overheated with anger, the members of this citizen mob are not going to be thinking straight. If doing mob violence to Christians is on their mind, they are not going to be sorting out IFB Baptist nutjobs from United Methodists. Anyone to whom they can easily attach the word Christian will be a target to be dragged out of their home, beaten to death, and strung up on a tree. That is what angry citizen mobs do.
I just want the American people—all 326 million of you—to know that Franklin Graham and the other Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical leaders DO NOT (officially or unofficially) represent us Mainline Christians. They DO NOT speak for us on the American stage. I do not ever want the members of my Mainline Christian family or your Mainline Christian family to be dragged from their homes, beaten up, killed, and strung up on a tree by a rioting mob that has just been provoked by the insanity of some fundie leader who pretends to speak “…on behalf of ALL Christians.”
No one wants to die—not really. However, I and the members of my family would die for Jesus alone—simply because we love him so much—were it necessary. Neither I nor the members of my family are willing to die at the hands of a violent mob ticked off by some insane fundie leader who has spoken provocative evil on behalf of ALL Christians—when that fundie leader does not represent us Mainline Christians and does not have any authorization whatsoever to speak on our behalf.
In summary, American citizens—all 326 million of you. Please. Never forget it!!! Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical leaders, preachers, and church members DO NOT speak for us Mainline Christians. They DO NOT represent us Mainline Christians or our Mainline Christian churches in any official or unofficial capacity. They have no authorization—official or unofficial—to speak publicly or privately on our behalf. Fundies do not consider us Mainline Christians to be members of their tribe. They regularly tell us so, throw derogatory shade at us, and even call us names. They love telling us we are not authentic Christians—and because of that—we are going to Hell forever when we die.
Why do fundies pretend to speak on behalf of us Mainline Christians and all other Christians? They do it to fool you—the American people—into believing that their little fundie tribe is much larger and more powerful than it really is. DO NOT BE DECEIVED BY THEIR GUILE.