Or, perhaps, the title of this post should be “The Wrong Focus.”
Some of the most fervent people pursue their missions from entirely the wrong standpoint, and so it is with many conservative, fundamentalist Christians, because they aren’t really as focused on the fundamentals as their descriptor would suggest.
See, my problem with the “fundies” isn’t so much that they want to promote biblical ideals and Bible-based behavior as it is that they put at the top of their agenda subjects on which Jesus didn’t really focus and/or that are only hinted at vaguely in the Bible…while also putting at the bottom of their priority list those things on which Jesus spoke most clearly and directly.
So, on the one hand, they’ll pick out a Bible passage about ancient punishments for hitting a pregnant woman in the belly and killing her unborn child, along with God’s words in the Book of Jeremiah “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” and say, “See! God hates abortion! Let’s go have a huge campaign against women controlling their own bodies and hijack freedom of choice and science while ignoring more pertinent issues that affect more people.”
Never mind that causing the death of a woman’s fetus in an act of violence or irresponsibility was a crime because it assumed the woman wanted to give birth and you took that away from her (i.e. took the life that she had charge of). Also never mind that the quote from Jeremiah is about foreknowledge and foreplanning on God’s part, not about when life begins. Never mind that Jesus never once mentioned anything about fetuses, and his words are the ones Christians should focus on most.
And then, on the other hand, with poverty rising, kids and adults going without food, healthcare becoming increasingly inaccessible and the rich hoarding more and more of the money just because they can (even though they don’t need that much), you’ll see fundies cringe at any notion that even hints at socialism or talks about fairness and sharing, even though Jesus spent huge gobs of his time talking about economic fairness and taking care of the less fortunate.
Not to mention the fact the early Christian church essentially practiced communism, or something very close to it.
But they’ll ignore that and point to his parable of the talents and claim Jesus was a free market capitalist even though the parable is talking about spiritual growth and responsibility, not wealth creation.
Shaking my damn head…
Good topic. People focus so much attention on fringe issues and use that as an excuse for why they can’t do the important stuff. We all do it in different areas of our lives, but it’s particularly irksome when a random holy roller does it.
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” -Matthew 5:44 (KJV) That’s a sentiment I don’t see a great deal of from “fundies”. (Yes, Westboro, I’m looking at you)
Nor this one: “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut they door, pray to thy Father in secret…” -Matthew 6:5 (KJV) I think many a televangelist has broken that request.
But, hey, these are only suggestions from Jesus, right?
@ Big Man
Yes, irksome is putting it mildly. 😉
Of course, I also know fundies and other religious types aren’t the only ones who get tunnel vision, but I suspect you and I both agree that they’re among the most hypocritical folks next to politicians. Activists of less religious or non-religious stripes (on the left or the right) may not be willing to see the big picture, but at least THEY are often consistent with their “dogma” which is all too rare among the most overtly religious, chest-puffing folks.
A couple of my favorite passages that you’ve quoted there and you’re right, they are too rarely heeded by the noisiest and most agenda-pushing folks. Hey, on the bright side, if such people didn’t exist, how would I get fuel for some of my rants?