by Charles S. Garabedian
Many Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are filled with hatred. We all know it is true.
We have seen it numerous times. We have seen it in action in the lives of our friends, neighbors, and family members. We have seen it in our acquaintances and complete strangers. We have seen it in thousands of churches. We have seen it in the sermons and writings of many pastors and religious leaders. We have seen it in the speeches and writings of the so-called Religious Right.
Journalists have written about it. Mainline Christian pastors and other nonfundie pastors have observed it thousands of times across many years. One world-renowned Anglican priest and theologian has even posed it as a serious question in a public speech. It is all too evident to anyone with ears to hear and eyes to see. It is not a matter of imagination, and no amount of equivocation or gaslighting will ever make something so plainly obvious go away. Therefore, its existence and its vast sweep here in the United States and around the Earth are not in question. Only one thing about it is in question, so I will ask my own slightly expanded version of the question asked by the great Anglican priest and theologian:
Why are so many Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals filled with hatred?
I am now going to provide you with a few typical examples of the millions of hate mail statements devout Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals have made over the years in e-mail messages, U.S. Postal Service letters, and various unmoderated religious commenting venues on the Internet. Messages such as these are not extremely rare exceptions. They are commonplace. I have seen numerous items such as these in all sorts of media venues since the Internet first became widely available and popular in 1994.
Famous American journalist Sally Quinn writes in The Atlantic about the numerous items of hate mail she received after writing a few articles on current American spiritual issues:
I can’t tell you how many people wrote in to say that I was a whore and a slut and so much worse that I can’t even write it here. And these all came from Christians. I was going to hell. I had made a pact with the devil. Jesus and God hated me. One man wrote that he hoped I would get in a car accident, that the gas tank would explode and I would be burned alive. He was a God-fearing Christian, and he ascertained that I obviously was not one.
Mr. Michael Weinstein is a very nice Jewish family man who was once an officer in the U.S. Air Force. Today he is the founder and director of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) [Footnote 1]. The MRFF is an organization dedicated:
…to ensuring that all members of the United States Armed Forces fully receive the Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom to which they and all Americans are entitled by virtue of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
Check out these three items of MRFF-related hate mail. They come from a compilation of such fundie hate mail by clinical psychologist and author Valerie Tarico. The MRFF has received this hate mail because it stands up for traditional American religious freedom in the U.S. military. Notice the numerous signs of poor literacy these messages almost always contain:
Fuck your crybaby slut ass wife and fuck your crybaby spoiled children. Who got their fancy air force academy educations all paid for by the GRACE of Amercan CHRISTIAN taxpayers. And just look what we got for our tax money. The family Whiningsteen jew traitors from HELL. Cry cry cry cause you have it so bad in a CHRISTIAN made country. You know what you all happier in North koria or back in Jewsrael. get OUT of our country! Here Jesus is KING and if you dont like it than fuck you.
Mr. M Weinstein I am a spirit-filled ordained pastor of The Gospel from the great state of Nebraska. Stop your attack on God Almighty and His only Son our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Stop your attack on His holy Christian wariors in our armed military forces! My congregation includes many military from the nearby air force base. We pray as one for you to die tonight in your sleep leaving a bloody mess for your family to find at daybreak.
Athiest jews are servents of satan. They do not deserve America. Mikey weinsteen does not deserve life any place but espcialy in the USA. He is THE leader of all which is wrong in America and all who fight Jesus Christ which is the only true God in the universe. Weinsteen will destroy our military and the whole country if he is not deported. Send him to Cuba which niger Obummer loves so much. Or send him and all the other athiests to North Korea to rot and starve.
I shall close with the original question posed by famous Anglican Priest and theologian Keith Ward in his talk at St. George’s Cathedral in Perth, Australia, and follow it with some thoughts on President Trump and his fundie supporters. Here is what Reverend Ward said:
Love is not something that you write down as a law. Love springs from a heart which is transfigured by the knowledge of the presence of God. It’s the Spirit!!! So, you live by the Spirit. That’s true!!! But it doesn’t tell you what to do. What? How do you love God? How do you love your neighbor? And I’d say immediately: “You love your neighbor by caring for their welfare. By caring about what they want. Never, never by hating them.”
Why are [Christian] fundamentalists so filled with hatred? I can guarantee that they are because the only phone calls I have had this week….so you get letters from people saying: “You are going to Hell!!!” That’s not very loving, is it? Or letters saying: “If you believe that kind of thing, you are excommunicated from the true church.” That’s not very loving either, really. You’d think: “Well, at least they’d be sorry for me. That’s the least you could expect!!!” So, you know, if love is the fulfilling of the law, let’s make it a test of of Christian faith that people always speak in loving ways of people they disagree with and never say: “You are condemned!!!” And I’m not condemning [Christian] fundamentalists. When I say they are wrong, I think God will forgive them immediately.
Some American journalists are now calling summer 2018 The American Summer of Hate. It is a direct reference to President Donald J. Trump; his numerous words and actions of bigotry and hatred; the millions of American Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals who support him without question; and his many so-called “white Christian” followers in hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. Where is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in all of this fundie hatred——-nowhere that I can see.
The comments are open for this main blog article. To make a comment, please click on the title of this post and then scroll down to the comments box. However, as usual, I am enforcing some firm limitations here. One of those limitations is zero tolerance for gaslighting of any kind. In other words, I shall not accept gaslighting language and deflection statements along the lines of these:
- The things you call “hatred” are really “love.”
- You must be imagining all this hatred.
- I have no idea what you are talking about?
- The statement: “You are going to burn forever in Hell” is love in action.
- The Flee from Christian Fundamentalism blog is a hate website.
If I see any of this nonsense or anything even close to it, your whole comment goes straight into the trash can. Capiche?
Footnote 1: You may be wondering why Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are so hostile toward Michael Weinstein and the MRFF—and their stand for religious freedom in the American military. A number of commissioned officers and noncomissioned officers in the five branches of the American military are rabid Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. Some of them are bullies who manipulate the rigid military command structure in an effort to coerce the officers and enlisted personnel under their command into becoming fundies.
As a hypothetical example, and this kind of thing actually happens, a young officer may be matriculating through a training program to become a military pilot. Back home, this young officer was raised in an Evangelical Lutheran Church—and he is still a devout Lutheran. (Fundies hate the ELCA denomination because they think it is too liberal.) Christian fundamentalist military officers believe such denominational Lutherans are apostates—meaning false Christians traveling the highway to Hell because of the church they attend.
Fundie officers in command of such training programs often bully and harrass nonfundie trainees (like our young Lutheran trainee) and make it clear to them that they will never pass the training program if they do not leave their Lutheran Church and convert to Christian fundamentalism or conservative evangelicalism. With tears of desperation from the abuse, young military trainees (often with the help of their parents) reach out to Michael Weinstein and the MRFF to get this bullying and corruption stopped—-just so the trainee can maintain his religious freedom to remain in the Lutheran faith he was raised in from childhood—and be treated fairly and without prejudice in the training program. Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals despise Michael Weinstein and the MRFF because they stand up and fight for the American religious freedom of individuals like our Lutheran trainee.
What’s that? You were not aware that this sort of fundie bullying goes on regularly in the American military? The MRFF has more than 57,000 officer and enlisted personnel complaints about various kinds of within-service threats to soldier religious freedoms—and the case load is still climbing.