So I decided to go to the State Fair this year. Among the sea of booths were the usual Christian booths. I looked at them with new eyes this time. Almost every one of them had signs and literature about … wait for it … abortion, homosexuality and evolution.
I approached a booth with a big banner that read, “Evolution is a lie.” I walked right up to the two gentlemen and said, “What if God used evolution to create us? We don’t understand God’s ways. We don’t understand God’s concept of time. I’m saved because Jesus took the blame for my sins. It doesn’t matter one little bit if the 7 day creation story is an allegory or not.”
They knew they couldn’t disagree with much of what I said except to say, “We take the Bible literally and when it says a day we accept it as meaning a day.” Of course I had to tell them that to God a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. Jesus spoke in parables while on earth, who is to say, being the Word in the OT, the same doesn’t hold true before the Word was made flesh?
One guy said he was happy I stopped by to talk. The other guy wasn’t having any of it. Then we moved on to abortion and homosexuality. I didn’t bother touching the abortion topic. There’s no getting through to these folks on that one. They would have to read the whole history (with an open mind to actual learning) on how abortion was invented as a flagship, red herring political issue to begin to understand. It wasn’t always viewed the way it is by militant fundamentalists now.
I did go through the clobber verses with them on homosexuality and explained that none of them referred to sexual orientation. I explained that Jesus said God intended one man and one woman BUT, he also said in the same sentence, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way ...” I explained that eunuchs during that time were guardians of the harem. They had no desire for women. They wore makeup and jewelry and behaved and dressed in a feminine manner (a giant stereotypical generalization, I know, but I was trying to paint a picture for these two guys in a way they might understand). Born eunuchs were gay.
They brought up Sodom. I picked up one of their Bibles at the booth, turned to Ezekiel 16:49, and read them the following: “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” Neither one of them had ever heard that verse. All they could do was bring up the fact that some of the men of Sodom wanted to rape their visiting guests.
I asked them if either one of them ate shrimp or wore blended fabrics. One guy spoke up and said Jesus changed the eating laws. Neither had anything to say about blended fabrics.
The point of this story is this, and it’s always baffled me. These guys obviously think not taking every word of the 7 day creation story literally is a lie and a sin. They obviously think abortion and homosexuality are sins. Fine. Whatever. But why do these folks always obsess on these three perceived “sins.” Why do they set up booths, publish literature, rent spaces at public events and hang signs about these three particular subjects? It made no sense to me for a long time.
If they’re so obsessed with the topic of the sins of humankind it seems there are better booths they could set up, better signs they could hang. What about how we kill each other in the name of religion every day? What about the way we treat the weak, the poor and the sick in this country, many times branding them as “lazy freeloaders?” The list could go on and on. We could have hundreds of booths at every fair, one for each perceived sin. "Are you fat? You better lose weight. Gluttons must repent or go to hell." Just kidding but you get the picture. I'm a foodie of sorts and if that's the case I'm bound for hell.
I’ll tell you why they choose these three, whether they know it or not. It’s a little brainwashing technique called a hook. They hook people in using a small number of manufactured hot button issues and then they obsess on them endlessly, in this case for decades. They sing the siren's songs day and night. They build up entire industries around obsession with these “sins” -- books, pamphlets, sermons, TV channels, conservative political parties and platforms, radio shows, you name it. They target and villainize groups they think they can dominate and won’t fight back (liberals, women, gay people, intellectuals). They convince people that if they don’t agree with their view on these matters they’re not one of them and they are apostates. Who wants to be an apostate? Most people don’t, so they go along with it. In the process they surrender their ability to think. They accept everything else they say no matter how evil and messed up it may be. Conservative ideology is diametrically opposed to everything Jesus taught.
It’s a clever scheme and it’s worked well for a long time. It has managed to lead a majority of modern Christians down the path that is wide. You know what Jesus said about that path.
For deeper analysis of all of the above topics click here.
About TCL Blog
We’re not about Dogma here. We’re just Christians who think the political and Christian right-wing have their priorities wrong.
Charles Toy is the founding member of The Christian Left. We're sure you will enjoy his passion as well as his wit. Guest bloggers featured often.