Right at the top of the page I am going to nail my colours to the mast – I am writing this as a Christian. Every night after our evening meal our father pushed his dishes away, took his King James Bible from the dresser behind him, and opening at random he would read a passage in his stentorian voice – mellowed to an extent by a slight but embarrassing stutter. Then we would all recite the Lord’s Prayer and then we’d listen to the news.
But I’m getting very concerned that so many people are using their Christianity as an excuse to attack anyone they don’t like.
First of all the Jews. For centuries the Jews lived in the Middle East in harmony with Muslims and Christians until the industrial revolution. Then money was need to build factories and businesses and roads and bridges. But many countries in Europe that were controlled by The Church had a very strict interpretation of the Biblical rules against Usury – lending money at interest. So if money was needed and couldn’t be borrowed it was because it was against the Biblical teaching of the Church. So you could go to the Jews. They won’t get into heaven anyway so that won’t worry anybody and what’s more they killed Jesus so they don’t deserve to get into heaven. However what people forgot to do was read the bit in the Bible where it said GOD sent Jesus into the world knowing full well what was going to happen. So it wasn’t actually the Jews fault it was God’s fault, which is not all together true because it was actually our fault. But because we don’t like what we know about ourselves it is always handy to have a scapegoat.
What about negroes? I’ve said enough in previous posts to have alienated a number of people. However a young graduate teacher from Iowa, who worked with me a few years ago – she was an exchange teacher – sent a link to an article about the US constitution, slavery, negroes and Abraham Lincoln. I don’t imagine any of you who were unhappy with my BLM post a while back will bother reading it, but some of you might. I was accused by a friend of being prejudiced against Donald Trump. That implied that I had made up my mind about him before I knew anything. The first thing I heard off him was his amazingly crude comment about what someone like him should do with attractive women. I hadn’t made up my mind before, but I did then.
Next: LGBT matters. I am absolutely certain the the evangelical right have done more harm to genuine Christianity by their anti-LGBT stance. Unfortunately all denominations of Christianity are affected by the Evangelical Right in the USA. In more than one of the schools I have taught in I have met a number of fellow teachers who would identify as ‘gay’. One was a very flamboyant drama teacher who taught me to wear a bright paisley waistcoat which I miss. Another was the Religious Education coordinator who was dedicated and learned and hid his light under a bushel. Unfortunately he was found out and he was dismissed. He wasn’t the only one in the school but he was the only victim. He died, unfortunately, a short time later. It is a matter of conjecture how he died.
The fact of the matter is that Australia now, in no longer a Christian nation. In the 2011 census only sixty percent claimed to have a Christian belief. Of that sixty percent less that half said they went to church. That brings it down to less than 30%. And the mainstream Churches claim it is down as low as 10%. Therefore the evangelical conservatives have little right to demand anything. I have no objection to them holding their ground. I won’t listen to them telling me how I am allowed to behave. Australia in not a Theocracy. There are seven countries that are true Theocracies and they include Saudi Arabia, Iran and Sudan. And Vatican City. And I don’t want to be like them.
Australia is multicultural and I am a strong supporter of that. At the moment I can count on my fingers only about ten people who I would claim as friends. They include a retired Presbyterian Minister, a raving loony atheist, a Jew, a Muslim (who will excuse himself in the middle of a conversation if he needs to pray – I have knowledge of prayer times and don’t visit him then.), a couple of Catholics, a Buddhist, and the rest are ‘none of the above’.
Finally, this:- I won’t pull down any statues but I understand why people do. I won’t put a ‘fish’ sign on the back of my car because anytime I accidentally cut in front of someone I will do damage to all Christians who do. I won’t ask people to post copies of the Lord’s Prayer on Facebook because that very act alienates more than half of the population. And Australia would be a small third world country if we didn’t have all the migrants who have come here in the last two centuries – Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Black, White, and brindle. I won’t answer a BLM statement with an ALM statement because that is meant to denigrate and diminish the people who claim BLM. I would like to see signs on statues that give a balanced story about the subject.
And Next Finally, I will repost a photo of the Australian Turkish friendship monument in Melbourne. Because we are a nation – I hope still – that holds no grudges. We might have been beaten terribly by the Turks in 1915 but we don’t get our togas in a knot every time we think about it. Unlike some.