My post yesterday saying that this is not a Christian nation triggered some interesting responses. Anne wrote very politely saying she felt my article was divisive. She said many of my blogs divide Christians, instead of calling them together. She said that while she personally believed the Bible condemns homosexuality, that she also believes in full civil rights for GLBT citizens. I wrote back that while we disagreed on scripture, that my article was not meant to criticize Christians who didn’t impose their religion on others.
Craig said that I was being a coward. He quoted my response to Anne:
“I never put you in any category and I certainly don’t assume you are evil.”
And then he responded:
“No, Jim, you didn’t. You simply impugned an entire group of people that may have _included_ Anne and then hid behind the “I didn’t say that about _YOU_” defense. It’s pretty shameful and cowardly (not to mention obvious). If you’re going to have the false-courage to call an entire group names at least have the intellectual honesty to claim it when you’re called on the carpet.”
He then quoted from my post: “Example: if I wrote, say (emphasis mine), “When people say the US should be a “Christian nation,” they _never_ mean that we should feed the poor, clothe the naked or, God forbid, turn the other cheek. What people usually mean by the term “Christian nation” is that their own _primitive ideas_ of creation should be _imposed_ upon science classes and that their almost perfect _ignorance_ of human biology should become law. Unlike Peter, many Christians only lay down the sword so they can take up the gun.”
Then he continued with his comment: “I would be intellectually dishonest if I then claimed that a specific member of that group did not have “primitive ideas”, was “ignorant”, or “imposed” their ideas upon other people, as you have quite clearly done. Or don’t you get that?
Words, Jim. Words have meaning. You cannot use them to tear down a group and then claim “oh! I didn’t mean it about YOU, stranger” when someone raises an objection. That kind of sloppy thinking is very indicative of the sort of common intellectual dishonesty that wants to have their opinion without any repercussions.
Either stand up for what you say or don’t say it. Coward.”
Here is my response to Craig:
When you say that criticizing a group necessarily includes every single member of that group, you miss the fact that I consider myself a Christian, too. The group I was criticizing was not Christians in general, but only Christians who bully. Groups can be do bad things without all of the members of that group participating.
If you can find an example of any place in any of my writings where I have actually called someone a name please point it out to me and I will apologize. But what I actually did was describe a type of bullying behavior and you took it personally. I will say what I said to Anne, as long as a you aren’t trying to impose your religion my neighbors, we don’t have a problem. If you are not cramming your version of Christianity down other people’s throats I wasn’t talking about you. But if you are, I need to stand in defense of the people you are attacking using the name of Christ.
You illustrated the difference in criticizing and name calling in your comment. When you said my actions were “cowardly” that was not name calling. When you called me a “coward” that was name calling.
I agree that words are important, but so are people. This is a nation of Jews, Muslims, and atheists as well as Christians. Lots and lots of Americans are not Christian. This is their country too. When anyone says this should be a Christian nation they are saying that non-Christians are second class citizens.
And calling this a “Christian nation” is a dangerous lie for another reason. If God gave this land to anyone, it was the indigenous people. The “Christian” founders of this nation robbed that land and committed genocide on the inhabitants. When the “Christian” founders built this nation, they did it with people kidnapped from Africa and enslaved for that purpose. What does it mean when we call these things “Christian?” To say God gave us this land and leave out these atrocities muffles the voices of our victims and masks one of the most heinous crimes in history.
If we ever meet in person I will be happy to take you to coffee and have a Christian to Christian fellowship. But if you attack my GLBT or my non-Christian neighbors, you will find out that “coward” isn’t a very good description of me.”