By Wil Forbis
Several years ago, I wrote a piece entitled "I'm Tired of Christian Bashing" for a small Seattle zine that went by the name of "Free Beer." It was a wholly entertaining work and I'm quite sure that the seven people who read it were impressed with my response to the many unfair attacks made upon Christians in America. I assume they were also amused by the fact that I spent a whole paragraph on the various reasons I like to use the word "Satan."
Now, many people may be
surprised to hear me defending Christianity. I'm hardly the type of
guy who would label himself a Christian. I'm more the type of guy who
dresses up like Gene Simmons of Kiss and waits in the bushes for Christians
to walk out of church, then leaps up spitting blood and singing the
lyrics from "Strutter." Though I technically label myself an agnostic,
I've yet to find anything convincing about the arguments Christians
make for the existence of this God chap, and feel, that if he does exist,
events such as the Holocaust, Cambodian massacres and Limp Bizkit illuminate
the fact that he's been asleep at the wheel for quite some time.
Despite all that, occasionally
I find myself in the odd position of actually defending Christians from
what I feel to be unfair attacks against them. I can't count the times
I've sat and listened to some whiney college student at a beer party
complain about how the world is falling apart and how it's all the fault
of Christian conservatives. (Well, actually, I can count the times:
One. But I'm pretty sure it's happening all over the world.) And I dread
to think back on the numerous articles I've read in underground newspapers
placing the blame for everything from homelessness to urban expansion
on the backs of Christians.
But the truth is, while
most of those whiney college students go home and snort modeling glue,
and most of those newspaper authors spend their free time scoping the
local youth hostel for dates, Christians actually have a track record
of trying to improve the world. Every metropolitan city has a homeless
shelter or two funded or operated by the Church. Every starving third
world nation has an armada of concerned missionaries trying to feed
them and thus create those annoying "Save Our Children" Sally Struther's
commercials. The church my atheist dad goes to (Yes, there's a woman
involved) operates an orphanage for children in Mexico. Even Pat Robertson
donates a large portion of the income he bilks from his flock towards
providing food and shelter to people on foreign shores. (Often brown
and black people, which is a fact that should be chewed by those who
instinctively associate the word "Christian" with "racist.") I personally
can think back to the time I was hitchhiking to Olympia with my friend,
Conrad, and we were picked up by several Christians who not only drove
well out of their way to get us to our destination, but also treated
us to a fine meal at Denny's.
Of course, the obvious retort
to this is that Christians are historically responsible for a vast amount
of the death, pain, social intolerance, ecological damage and child
molestation that has occurred throughout human history. And undoubtedly
this is true; there are bad Christians, there are bigoted Christians,
there are Christians with no fashion sense. But Christian beliefs have
also been at the roots of many of the social movements of American history,
movements we generally regard as having had benefit on humanity. There
would have been no civil rights marches without the tireless crusading
of the Southern Black Churches. (You may recall a guy named Martin Luther
King Jr. who went by the title of "Reverend.") The Women's Suffrage
had religious underpinnings as detailed in Susan B. Anthony's famous
line "Resistance to Tyranny Is Obedience to God." Striking workers who
fueled the American labor movement often found themselves defended
by men of the cloth.
Do the works of good Christians cancel out the damage of the bad? Probably not. But ultimately, people must be judged as individuals. And most critics of Christianity seem unwilling to put any effort to distinguishing between good Christians and bad Christians
Sometimes, I try and muse
on ways to bring together the Christian and atheistic elements of our
society. I try and focus of what unites as a nation: our love for The
Simpsons, our respect for the Beatles, our shared hatred of foreigners…
But try as I might, I can't help but feel whatever divides us theologically,
is going to continue to divide us for a long, long time. It will be
a far off and cherished day when we can all don our Gene Simmons uniforms,
bite down on our blood capsules and prepare to walk the streets arm
an arm while singing "Calling Dr. Love"
P.S. As a side note, I'd like to mention that around the time I was writing this article I read a column in Sacramento's vaguely leftist and punk newspaper, Alive and Kicking. The column was entitled "Every Little Thing You Do" and purported to be a listing of charitable acts local musicians had devoted to causes of social justice and anti-consumerism. As I was simultaneously researching the long list of noble activities Christians had committed to left causes, I was curious to see how musicians would compare. Now some of these acts were indeed charitable, but some of them were quite frankly, bullshit. One character from a band named Grubdog stated that his contributions to progressive movements included "being cool to people in the service industry" and putting items back on the shelves that he got them from*. A fellow named Naked Nathan refused to go the Metropolitan Museum in New York because it had a picket line in front of it (Basically, his act was walking past a museum.). Another group said that they took recycling "one step further" by restoring old cars. Whatthefuck?!
We've come a long way from Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.
*I swear to God (whom I don't believe in) that I am not making this up.
What do you think? Leave your comments on the Guestbook!
Wil Forbis is a
well known international playboy who lives a fast paced life attending
chic parties, performing feats of derring-do and making love to the
world's most beautiful women. Together with his partner, Scrotum-Boy,
he is making the world safe for democracy. Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Wil's web log, The Wil Forbis Blog, and receive complete enlightenment.