I’d quit my church if…

Flipping through the channels the other day I stopped briefly to watch a tattoo-covered “artist” rap about abusing women and hating cops while he grabbed his genitals to the fast beat of loud noise pretending to be music. His appearance was disgusting, the lyrics depraved, and his music was awful, but that’s not what upset me. What activated my indignation was what was hanging around the guy’s neck – a great big gold cross. Nothing the so-called artist said or did had anything to do with the meaning of this most sacred symbol of Christianity.

Rappers and other performers are not the only people on the stage of our society who like to wear their religion as an outward ornamentation. Politicians are one group that comes to mind.

They will take on the trappings of their denomination, stand on podiums with the leaders of their church, seek the counsel of spiritual advisors, and make sure the cameras are present when going into or coming out of a house of worship. Who can forget the photo of Bill and Hillary Clinton coming out of a church on a Sunday morning with Bill holding a great big Bible?

Now we have presidential candidate Barack Obama bragging about the fact that he’s been a member of a certain Chicago church for over 20 years. That is, he was bragging about it until various frightening teachings of his pastor were played over and over on television. He is now asking us to believe that he never heard any of those sermons and that he was totally unaware of his pastor’s angry, America hating message.

I’m having a hard time figuring out if Obama is a member of his church because of the life-changing message he hears every Sunday or does he just go there because it helps him in his political career? In other words, is he any different than the genital grabbing, woman abusing, cop hating rapper who wears a gold cross?

If he’s just wearing his religion like the rapper then he is a hypocrite. If he is living the doctrines and practices of his church then he is hiding something from the public. We need to know.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m no great spiritual giant. No one knows better than I do the difficulty of living out the teachings and principles of Christianity, however, I do know pretty much what they are. If some Sunday my pastor started spewing hatful messages about any particular group of people, and if he started saying things that were historically inaccurate simply to inflame members of our church against another class of people, and if he cursed our country with the vilest of words, then my wife and I would be very quick to find another church; very quick, indeed.

We would look for one that taught what Jesus taught: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 NIV

© Copyright 2008

Ronald D. Ross

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