Thursday, August 19, 2010

Do Ultra-Conservative Christians Help You Love Jesus?

"Why Can't I Own a Canadian?" and are conservative Christians leading people to Jesus or away from him? The first question is the title of a letter penned sometime before 2002 in response to Dr Laura Schlesinger's comments about homosexuality in the Old Testament. She is a conservative who once said she was an Orthodox Jew but supposedly distanced herself from orthodoxy later.

My friend Regis Auffray, a Canadian, posted the letter at AuthorsDen and told me about it in the wake of Dr. Laura's recently giving up her radio show. Apparently she couldn't handle the people who disapproved of her use of the "n" word as she talked to a black woman about the woman's marriage to a white man. She says she's giving up her show so she can regain her right to free speech, and I guess she's desperate to use that word.

Anyway, I decided to look up "Why Can't I Own a Canadian?" and when I did, I discovered the letter went viral long ago. While Dr. Laura is associated with the Jewish faith, however, I've seen responses that focus on Christianity, and I guess that's because in America, conservative Christians have become closely associated with opposing gay people.

My curiosity about this letter led me to a website called On the surface the site seems like a "Christian" website, but it's actually satire set up to ridicule conservative Christians.
The site frequently presents ineffective satire as a form of sociopolitical protest because it's hard to determine the joke and is more often mistaken to be actual conservative Christians objecting to liberals taking over the country. That is, some of its content is so close to the nonsense that comes out of some bigots and ultra-conservatives' mouths that the content is painfully not amusing.

For instance, the letter I came across "responding" to "Why Can't I Own a Canadian?" is written under the same title as the original but is supposedly penned by a woman named Amber who goes on about Mexicans.
Growing up in Southern California, my family was blessed to own three house Mexicans. Though they did not speak much American, they still had hearts of gold.

They would cook, clean, garden and tend to my siblings and me, all with a kindly smile and steadfast determination. At the end of the day, dad would give them a bit of money and usually some food or other nice things to take home with them.

The older lady of them, Dona Josefa, lived with us throughout a good portion of the school year. Memories of her smiling eyes and taco-scented hugs still fill my heart with warmth to this very day.
Technically, her response qualifies as a satirical composition because satire should go over the top for common speech and behavior, but sadly, her commentary doesn't go over the top enough to let the reader in on the joke. The problem is that it seems too believable. I've heard real people express the kinds of sentiments expressed in Amber's fake post who are racist but so seriously blind to their own racism that they make the same kinds of statements she makes. The comments about Mexicans in her post remind me of statements I heard blue-haired white women make about their black maids and gardeners in the south years ago.

So, it's not obvious Amber's letter is a joke until you read the comments section in which she responds to people angry at her and her racist-sounding statements. In the first comment, Amber seems offended that the person could not tell she was kidding. The more difficult it is for a reader to discern that "you're kidding," the more likely it is you've failed to deliver effective satire.

Months later, however, she's less defensive when she responds to, Rick, someone claiming to be an offended Canadian, with this:
Holy shit, I’m sorry. Seriously, I had no idea Canadians had access to the internet. My most heartfelt apologies… Thank god Mexicans still don’t know how to use computers, I’d really be fucked.
I guess by that time, her attachment to her work had dwindled and she remained in character.

As I visited this site, I pondered how much must a group of people despise conservative Christians to create a website ridiculing them. Is this hate really about hating people who profess to believe in Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ or is it about loathing a particular type of person who calls him or herself Christian and projects disdain for others?

After talking to people on Facebook and elsewhere who say they are Christians and embrace ultra conservativism, I observe how often such people talk about their hostility toward liberals, President Barack Obama, progressive ideology, and Democratic Party policy all the while declaring a deep love for love of America. They talk about how much they hate liberals and love America far more than they ever talk about Jesus, who supposedly they love with all their hearts.

What's wrong with this picture? Do politically conservative Christians seek to lead people to Jesus or to an ideology. There's need for distinction. I'm just saying.


Multi-Ainjo said...

I really enjoyed reading this article and I do feel that there is a defining line between believing in Christianity and patriotism. The fact that for many religious people that they can not be separated is a litte worrisome. Whenever anyone decides to demand their religious ideals on others and have the power to do so, it ends badly.

Anonymous said...

The Lord says, "you shall know them by their fruit." Which in turn means that love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control, longsuffering (patience) are the qualities that one human shall possess in their hearts and help others along with these if in fact they do believe that Jesus did walk on the face of the earth. He was born from God, the only begotten Son of God, born of a virgin, walked the face of the earth God incarnate, did not sin, hung on cross to take upon Himself all the sins of this world so people that would believe in Him, would have everlasting (forever) life with Him. Jesus has come as the One to help us bridge this gap of getting back to God without all the rules, law, regulations. It's all in Him and through Him that we move, live and have our being that have relationship with Him. We teach and love one another, forgive sins, though hating the sins, we love the sinner, so that they could experience forgiveness, a washing and cleansing and brand new start of everlasting life, forever marked out for His glory, not our own as we are not our own. We belong to Him in His Book of Life and you are appointed to live and die once to then have judgement after this which all men and women will confess that Jesus is Lord and all knees will bow to the Christ (Messiah) and Savior of this world that Our Heavenly Father (God of Israel) has proclaimed, spoke through the prophets to have us see and hear that He is Lord. Free will is a choice and we all make choices that could be good for Him (righteous, just and pure) or bad (sin).