Sometimes, when I think back on all the wonderful times I spent with people I loved so much in the Bible Methodist and Weslyan Methodist churches, I wonder, with sadness, how it is so many of them were so hateful? Some of them are still alive today, in their 80s, and facing death soon.
They claimed to love Jesus, most of them even claimed to somehow live without sin. I know better now. I know they were lying, either to me or to themselves. They gathered in black suited huddles and told racist jokes, on sacred ground. They set me down and had earnest answers about the inferiority of Black folks, about how either Cain’s folks were marked black, or maybe it was the wicked son of Noah, but somehow Negroes were the cursed people of the Bible.
I lost respect for them, especially when they stood around church vestibules or the fountain at God’s Bible School and crowed about how Martin Luther King was turned around at the Edmund Pettus bridge, or how sorry colored folks were about this or that, or how great a president George Wallace would be because he stood up to the feds and fought desegregation.
It saddened me when the preacher fathers of my friends did these horrible things. It saddened me when classmates, who families were high up in the church came to school talking about how they had terrorized some black folks, using rocks when they had them surrounded in a public space, or how they drove through “N—-rtown” with basball bats and swung at the heads of innocent black folks. And later, when a cousin I was very fond of starting telling me about my uncle hitting a black worker in the head with a 2×4 because he wasn’t doing something exactly as my uncle thought he should. And how when I expressed dismay, he said, too bad we cant do that anymore. It occurs a lot of this may have just been talk, if not, maybe I was raised in the midst of the KKK and didn’t know it at the time.
As the years wore on, for other reasons, I reexamined my faith and found I could not only not believe in the God I had been raised with, but that I really couldn’t believe in any God. I have come to the point where I do believe that like Schoderingers cat, there is both a God and not a God, and they are in the same box, and we cannot know which is true, and we cant even open the box to check. What I am certain of is that if there is a God, he/she bears no resemblance to anything any person has ever written down or spoken about God. Men are fools. Even the wisest of men know nothing. In fact, the wisest know they not only know nothing, they know they cannot know anything, they cant even know if they cant know anything. I know, that is getting a bit stretchy, but you get my point.
So as I have grown, I have taken what I understand to make sense, not as a Christian, nor as an atheist, but as a human. I have found I appreciate a good bit of Buddha, even more from Jesus, a fair amount of Ghandi, FDR and MLK2, a bit of Twain and a bit of Shakespeare.
Along the way, I had decided I could not hold the old ignorant generation of haters accountable for their beliefs. Not only was it not my job, I felt they were just beyond hope. Old people, who had been poisoned by their elders, and could not help themselves. I politely ignored them.
In the past few days, my relationship with the children of these ignorant old folks has been roiled as they supported the creepy guy from the duck tv show. Finally I had enough of people my age, and younger standing for the hate their elders had stood for 40-50 years ago. I posted a note on my Facebook page calling them all out as non Christian spreaders of hate.
One of the old ones piped up to say maybe my parents had not done a very good job of raising me. Good thing it was on line. If it had been face to face, I am pretty sure I would be facing assault charges for hitting an 80 yr old man! My parents are people of faith. But they taught me to follow the teachings of Jesus. This old codger wanted to say I had been raised poorly by people who had a much better grasp than this old Wallace supporting creepy preacher.
All I can say, he, and the living and dead relatives and “church leaders” of my youth better hope I am right about god, because if they are right, pretty sure they will hear this phrase when they meet Jesus:
Luke 13:27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.