I am a southern pastor and an educated professor who lives in rural Arkansas amidst folks who own guns and vote Republican. I hold college degrees, I preach in two churches, and I teach history in a respected four year college. I am not stupid. But I am not allowed to put political signs in my yard or stickers on my car because it will offend my students and my congregants if they know how I truly believe, even though my gun toting friends can post all the memes promoting ignorance and violence they want, without fear. So instead, I will write an article and tell the whole damn world the truth:
1. I am a proud member of the Christian Left. Not only that; I find it very hard to believe that you can read the Bible and vote Republican right now. Intolerance and hatred are not in the teachings of my Christ.
2. I vote for Democrats. Every time. I would vote for a yellow dog before I voted Republican, just like my Ma and Pa before me. I do not find good in both parties like I say I do to keep you happy. I think Republican candidates are mostly ignorant and ridiculous in everything they say, and they absolutely do not represent my Christian values of love and mission.
3. I believe in freedom of speech, for everyone, even when they don’t agree with me, even when they are stupid.
4. AND freedom of religion, for everyone, even when they don’t agree with me, and aren’t Christian. I have friends who are some of the kindest people I know and they follow a different sacred text. I honor their faith, as they honor mine. To do otherwise, would not be Christ-like of me.
5. I live my life for God, but I do not think God belongs in our Constitution. Separation of church and state; It’s a thing. Look it up.
6. You cannot be both prejudiced and Christian. One prevents the other. No exceptions. If you are Christian, you don’t hate.
7. There is too much hate and there are too many guns in this country. And, I believe those things do not align with Christ’s command to love our neighbor. You cannot believe that guns are the way to save the world if you study Christ’s teachings. Peace, love, giving, acceptance, forgiveness; Christ taught all these things. I find no red scriptures on gun ownership or arming for peace. They just aren’t there. Get over it. You are not being a Christian if you put your faith in guns. How dare you post pro-gun propaganda after a school shooting. It is insensitive, and offensive, and immoral. Christ would NOT approve. People carrying guns are NOT saving lives. But the free availability of guns in this country is causing deaths which are reaching viral proportions. Enough is enough. I don’t care about your damned right to own guns. I am tired of children dying in this great country.
8. Consenting adults have a constitutional right to get a government document certifying their legal marriage. The 14th amendment guarantees it. Not only that, marriage is love, what this country is needing to combat the hate and violence we are infected with. Love and marriage are not what we should be focusing on. Starving children, mass shootings, immoral lobbying firms, planet destroying, violence, and hate, those are our problems.
9. Traditional marriage in the Bible is polygamous. Get a Bible and read it before you try to use it to support your hatred and intolerance.
10. The confederate flag is racist. It was flown by treasonous terrorists who fired on their own country and supported the enslavement of human beings. They lost that war and it is time to move on. If you want to show your southern pride, fly an American flag and be the true patriot you claim to be. Eat some biscuits and gravy and visit your dear old grandma. Go put flowers on the grave of your grandpa who probably fought for your right to grow up privileged. And show some appreciation for the great country you live in.
I am tired of thinking I can’t be openly honest about any of these things. Now, I am going to go pray for this great country I call home. And then, I am going to do what Christ would do. I am going to act. I am going to write my congressman, donate money to the candidates I support, and read real scholarly work on the issues of this country, so that I can form educated, rational opinions and be a contributing member to real change for the better in this rural paradise I love. We are not all stupid here in rural, southern America. And it is time for the Christian Left in the South to stop being afraid to speak out.