Who Gets To be Christian

Okay, Christians, I’m sorry, we have to talk.

I know you don’t like Fred Phelps. I know you don’t like the horse-ass Americans who interpret the Bible to say the world’s only six-thousand years old. I know you don’t like the Americans who use the words of Jesus while they slash benefits for the poor and threaten military brinksmanship in the Middle East. I know you don’t like those people.

They are still just as Christian as you.

Find me one of those people, and chances are, they can justify their position with quotes from the Bible. Hell, odds are they can justify them with quotes you didn’t know existed, but there they are. I’ll bet whatever it is they believe, they can find as many verses that support them as support things like the trinity or salvation.

The nature of the Bible is a work of constant interpretation. It’s actually one of the reasons I dismiss it so readily as any kind of ethical model, because you can interpret any book to gain life lessons, but this one just seems to have some sort of strange public prominence despite all the nasty stuff in it. The thing is, that nasty stuff means that when someone comes up, wearing your club shirts, you can’t say they don’t count. If you want the power that comes from being a cultural hegemony, with all the weight and value that brings, then you have to own all the parts of it.

The strangest thing is, this sort of thing is practiced by the people who also want to tell me that Atheists are all Reddit Atheist Fedora Men, with their transphobia and biological essentialism and sexism and rape culture, but that they are not in any way connected to the other people who hold up their own holy book as a source of inspiration. Ignoring for a moment that atheism does not draw from a common source, isn’t that trying to have things both ways? Unique context for thee, but not for ye?

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