Have you ever found yourself hating the mere mention of a phrase? A phrase that sends you scrambling for the other room, the next state, or perhaps a few countries over, when you hear it uttered? You know those phrases. The one’s that remind you of someone dragging their fingernails across a chalkboard. The words that have your spine lengthening, your lips curling, and your temper intermediately riled.
While I could make case for many annoying phrases, there is one that will always put my temper on edge. The two little words in question? “Good Christian.” Now let me start out by saying that I believe that everyone has to find the religion or non-religion that brings them a personal sense of peace. People need to find a personal code that guarantees they will treat others with respect and dignity. This post is not in anyway, shape, or form designed to demonize the Christian faith, as I know many people who are Christian for whom I have much respect and admiration. It is, however, my intention to specifically target a group of people who have made the lives of many difficult and at times almost unbearable. That group being the ones who spout venom and hate all the while proclaiming themselves to be “good Christians.”
I suspect you can ascertain from my need to address this topic that I am not Christian and you would be correct. For the last three decades I have identified myself as either Pagan, Wiccan, or simply a Spiritual Eclectic. The later probably being my label of choice, if I had to give myself a label. I don’t spend my days going about advertising my spiritual beliefs. It has never been that I am ashamed of them, I simply don’t find it necessary to wear them like a pair of designer jeans with the label prominently displayed across my ass.
The world is made of a hodgepodge of faiths and beliefs. Everyone seems to be trying to assign meaning to things and they are always on the lookout for signs that they are somehow right in their personal choices of faith and belief. The problem with that, is that in order to believe themselves “right,” they have to believe someone else is wrong. That, in and of itself, is not a problem. The problem appears when those people start arguing over who is right and wrong. The conflict develops when one people decides that they must inflict their beliefs on others.
This brings me back to those two teeny tiny words. Why do they inspire a rage in me? The simple explanation is that they imply a superiority of the person who utters them over others. Rarely can you compliment a “good Christian” by calling them a good person, as they will frequently correct you. It is as if being a good person is somehow not sufficient. They can’t take credit for their actions without attaching their religion to it and with that they are somehow proclaiming their religion as being the cause of their positive actions. Their religion is the basis of all good and the implication is that a person cannot be good enough if they are not of that religion.
With the current social climate these beliefs are ever present and seem to be saturating the actions of many politicians. Today, as I was scanning through the articles running across my news feed, I found one that mentioned a group who are determined to bring “good Christian” beliefs back into the classroom. Admittedly my initial reaction was a muttered string of expletives. Why do people feel the need to dictate religion to others? Public schools serve people from a variety of faiths and when you proclaim that you want to carry those schools back to “good Christian” beliefs you are declaring that other faiths are NOT good and NOT worthy. It’s offensive to make such claims.
Every day we are subjected to the “good Christians” need to convert the world. They cannot seem to accept diversity and they demonize differences while they proclaim they are simply being “good Christians.” They only want to save everyone and in order to do that they have to tell you everything that is wrong with you (in their opinion, of course). Call me crazy, but I have never felt the need to stick my hand on a hot stove… but when a “good Christian” gets to spouting off their hate and judgment that stove seems the better alternative to their ways and beliefs.
For years I have had to listen to people spout off about how Christianity is under attack. Do you know why people of other religions rarely utter such moronic statements? It’s not because they are ashamed of their faiths or beliefs. It’s that they simply do not feel the need to wave their personal faiths around like a flag. They desire respect in their choice of faith, but they do not need to have it become some universally accepted proclamation. They do not need to force it down the throats of the public at large. Not once has it ever occurred to me that I should be out converting others to my personal spiritual truth.
Generally you could say that I am tired of being the one who sits silently in the room as those around me talk about their faith and religions. I am exhausted by burden of having to validate their right to believe as they choose, while denying my own right to be as expressive. I am disgusted by the fact that the word “good” has been commandeered as a label to be applied to those of a particular faith and belief system.
Perhaps we should let them have that word… instead let us choose something more splendid for our personal identification. Let us be magnificent Muslims, marvelous Jews, wondrous Wiccans, and just generally phenomenal people. We don’t have to allow them to inflict their “good Christian” ideals on our classrooms, in our personal lives, and throughout our government. Instead we need to demand that they demonstrate that they can be spectacular human beings and embrace all of the world’s diversity with a breathtaking wonder.