“I’m sick of people being mean for Jesus” Skip to content

“I’m sick of people being mean for Jesus”

Too many Christians are intent on being religious and ignoring Christ – including some legislators.

3 min read

Back in the late ‘80s, I served as minister of music and education in a Southern Baptist church in Chattanooga. This was during the time when the so-called “fundamentalists” took over the Southern Baptist Convention.

If you know anything about that time in the SBC, you know how traumatic it was. One side was all-in on “the end justifies the means,” so you had scenes like armed guards hired by that side keeping people out of meetings. Churches were split, friendships shattered.

In Chattanooga, there was a pastor’s meeting every Monday at the local SBC headquarters. Our pastor attended most weeks, and occasionally I tagged along. There was a lot of hand-shaking, a lot of jokes told, some serious stuff shared, and a general sense of camaraderie. The turmoil in the convention was, for the most part, kept outside the room.

One Monday, our pastor went alone to that day’s get-together. He came back in a mood that mixed anger with disgust. When I asked him what was wrong, he replied vehemently, “I am so tired of people being mean for Jesus!”

I don’t remember what event at the pastors’ meeting caused that reaction. I suspect the fight in the convention had finally come into the room. What I do remember is that expression – because it perfectly encapsulates so much of what was happening then, and what is happening in our state now.

Across our state, we have pastors and church members who are determined to be “mean for Jesus.” They have fully bought into the belief that because they are standing up for God, the end justifies the means. So passing a bill that de-humanizes one segment of our society is seen as a victory for God and God’s laws – and how it’s done, whether it be breaking the rules or ramming it through in one day, doesn’t matter.

There is a picture in the Teri Carter story that just gave me chills. It shows a collection of lobbyists and legislators, all of whom proudly claim the word “Christian,” praying for the passage of the harshest anti-trans bill in the country.

I’m sure they prayed in the name of Jesus. I’m sure they asked God’s blessing on their work. I’m sure they saw the passage of the bill as something that pleases God.

And I’m sure they see no conflict between calling on the name of Jesus and passing a bill based on hate.

But here’s the thing: I don’t recognize the Jesus they are praying to. And I don’t see any sign of Jesus, or God, in their bill. I don’t see the “love” they profess to have for all humankind, and I certainly don’t see that love anywhere in their bill.

Instead, when I look at the persons who voted for this bill, I see two things:

  • People who believe standing up for God means bringing hell on earth to people who are different.
  • Politicians who are willing to make life hell for a group of children if it means beating Democrats in the fall.

It’s one thing when an individual is mean for Jesus in their relationships. It’s another thing when an entire church decides being mean for Jesus is how they are going to approach their faith. And it’s yet another level of bad when a state legislature bases our state’s laws on being mean for Jesus.

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, once had a confrontation with another theologian who believed Wesley’s preaching of the love of God was wrong. The other theologian preached that God was a god of judgment and of punishment. Wesley’s response?

“Your god is my devil.”


Print Friendly and PDF

Bruce Maples

Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. (Read the rest of his bio on the Bruce Maples Bio page in the bottom nav bar.)

Twitter Facebook Website Louisville, KY