Reaching Out and Touching Others

It’s really easy to look at big-time TV preachers or “Christian” commentators on Fox News or something…or to look at congregations large or small that discriminate or focus on trying to legislate morality…and to say Christianity is oppressive.

It would even be easy to look at the headline I have for today’s post and to make some joke about Catholic priests and altar boys.

What is harder for critics of the Christian faith to deal with, and painfully easy for them to ignore, are commercials like these:


Now, I’m not saying every United Church of Christ-affiliated congregation is wonderful and perfect. I can say that what I’ve seen of them overall is pretty cool and truly uplifting and inclusive, very much along the lines of those commercials. The church I and my wife and children attend (and which is UCC) is one of the largest in our area (though by no means is it huge) and it is heavily involved in community efforts, relief efforts in other states and countries, and inclusiveness. The message of Christ is clear and strong (unlike at a Universalist/Unitarian church, where it’s more melding of “all faiths”) but so too is a real love of people and supportivness of them in times of trials and needs.

For all the vocal nature of some of the more unpleasant and ill-tempered Christians, they aren’t the majority. I daresay that the majority may not be folks like the UCC congregation I enjoy. It’s probably somewhere between UCC and apathy on the spectrum, I’d say. But overall, there are a LOT of Christians in this country and believe me, if the loud-mouthed assholes spoke for the U.S. Christian population as a whole, Roe v. Wade would have been toast long ago, prayer would be mandatory in schools and no one would be distributing condoms to teens.

I would like to see more critics of Christianity give play to the very good works that have been done and continue to be done, and to look at ads like the ones above, instead of focusing on the hateful folks.


9 Responses to “Reaching Out and Touching Others”

  1. 1 Big Man
    May 24, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Deac, I don’t think critics have to give play to good works. They should acknowledge them, but I don’t expect that to be their focus. It’s just like me and racial issues. If I truly believe the bad outweighs the good, then it would be hard for me to focus on the good.

  2. 2 Deacon Blue
    May 25, 2010 at 1:55 am

    True, but my concern is more about the critics who paint Christianity as flawed and evil, and they are a relatively abundant group. The bad practices must be highlighted, certainly, but they shouldn’t take such center stage that one starts painting the whole as inherently bad.

    To take the racial issues example, oppressive forms of racism are bad, but that doesn’t mean that white folks are inherently flawed and evil. And so you call out the problems with race relations and the ways in which many whites may tend toward certain behaviors, but I’ve never sensed in you a desire to demonize the entire lot of “melanin challenged peoples”

  3. 3 thewordofme
    May 25, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Hi Deacon, how the heck are you?

    You write:
    “I would like to see more critics of Christianity give play to the very good works that have been done and continue to be done, and to look at ads like the ones above, instead of focusing on the hateful folks.”

    Have you heard of the militant Christians who organize like armies and go around terrorizing unbelievers? How about people like Pat Robertson and his minions of hell. What do you think of the Dominionists who are a real presence in American evangelical fundamentalist (fundagelicals)circles and truly are advocating and working to bring about Biblical laws and morals to mainstream America.

    They are looking at laws where they can stone adulterers and homo’s,and non-believers there will be no dancing, makeup, liqueur, smoking…actually all of the Old Testament laws and then some. And of course they want to control reproductive rights of all women…whether raped or victim of incest or whether the mothers life is endangered…further humiliating and diminishing woman’s place in the world.

    We all know that the Catholic Church does good works in this world and have for awhile now, but those damn priests just keep f__king over everybody and they tend to want you to live in a certain way…or else…just words or excommunication now, but it used to be lethal force not too long ago.

    I sound like I hate the church, but I truly do not. Most Christians I know (such as yourself) are good people and I like them, but there is an undercurrent of evil running through Christianity today and I’m scared that they will get too much power like they had in the Dark Ages and go back to their old ways of killing and controlling every thing they have power over. So I work to keep the religious in check, to make sure they don’t overpower secular control of our society. They are using their considerable influence in world powers today to achieve their stated goals, I use my puny words to try to stop them…a mere whisper in the wilderness. 🙂


    These people are crazy and very scary and I really don’t want any one of them to be in power, but the Republicans will probably send one in to battle in 2012 (Sarah Palin is also one)

  4. 4 thewordofme
    May 25, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Sorry about the orphan paragraph at the end…somehow it got misplaced and kind of left out.

  5. 5 Deacon Blue
    May 25, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    There’s an undercurrent of evil running through the corporate world, too, but we should resist painting every business and every corporate leader as a greedy worthless bastard. And so we do sometimes lift up and highlight good examples of business leaders.

    Evil runs through politics, and yet we still find examples of good politicians to celebrate from time to time.

    I guess I just don’t see where the same consideration is given equally to religion, especially Christianity and Islam.

  6. 6 thewordofme
    May 25, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Hi Deacon,

    Yes, you are quite right about business and politics, there is major evil there. And there is always a barrage of hostility thrown at them, but it never seems to do anything, witness the BP mess…government in bed with big oil, the Wall St. fiasco. The little guy always gets it in the shorts, over and over again.

    Sorry, but you lost me there on Islam…it is the religion of death and destruction in today’s world. Just like America is the country of death and destruction. Pretty funny that ol’ Bush who’s a died in the wool fundagelical, prayed and prayed for guidance on what to do about 9-11 and god told him to attack Iraq. His words. I’m very sure that Osama and his crew of droids prayed for allah to tell them what to do about American Imperialism and was told to fly our own airplanes into the world trade center…how ironic…they prayed to the same god for death and destruction.

    Religion is too easy for men to use for diabolical ends. the people who follow it are easily led by propaganda disguised as scriptural references. God told man to have dominion over the earth and now millions of people are following the “Dominionists” leaders into chaos.

    But, I could be wrong…

  7. 7 Deacon Blue
    May 25, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    I sincerely doubt that the majority of Muslims, or anywhere close to a plurality, have destruction on the mind. Considering how many of them there are, if it were a totally pervasive feeling among all Muslims, of all kinds, all over, we’d be seeing a lot more terrorism and violence, a lot closer to home here in the West.

  8. 8 thewordofme
    May 25, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Hi Deacon,

    There is not a day that goes by that I don’t read about muslim’s somewhere in the world doing vicious things to somebody or some institution. More often than not they militarily take over government or by terror and intimidation in many of the countries they now rule. Every day that goes by a woman is killed somewhere in the world for some stupid transgression against allah. Women children are killed because they had the unfortunate luck to get raped. Young women are killed because they look at a man from another religion. Women are beat and put in jail for having a suntan. Mullah’s blame them for causing earthquakes when they flirt or look sexy…these are all signs of a sick and perverted culture, and that culture is directly caused by the Islamic religion.

    They are signs that one should not pass off as harmless or “Its just the culture we shouldn’t get involved.” The Islamic people are guided by crazy Mullah’s and crazy stupid leaders. If they were serious about being benign they would do what we do…oust the fuckers who propagate this sickness…sorry I cannot be polite and just look the other way when they do this crap they do…they have to be called out for it.

  9. 9 Deacon Blue
    May 25, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    Ok, but what about warlords in some African nations who do things just as hideous with no religion involved because it’s the culture they are promoting. What about some of the very anti-woman practices you’ll see in India in the news, some of them involving death or mutilation? Would you then decry all Hindus worldwide for that?

    Also, when you talk about a lot of the horrible things you do, it isn’t always about Islam. The things you talk about are a blight in many Arab nations. And yet, not all Arabs are Muslim.

    You can’t look at the news and say “Look, Muslims are more evil!”

    That would be like looking at crime reports on American TV and saying, “Blacks are more evil” because they’re so often highlighted getting arrested. Why are they so often on the news? Because the police target them more and harrass them more. Why are Muslims so often portrayed in a negative light? Because they are the current boogeymen. I remember in my more youthful day when it was the Nicaraugans raping nuns that seemed to always be in the news.

    Media plays to the audience, and news people get sucked into the same cycles as everyone else.

    The problem in Muslim majority nations may have a lot less to do with the religion itself than it does with the economics and politics. More stability and more citizen power would level out a lot of shit. But in many of those nations, things are way too destabilized for a healthy government to take root. And in richer Arab and/or Muslim nations, the entire world has turned a blind eye and not taken them to task for abuses because we need their oil.

    Religion doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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