There are so many subjects that I would love to talk about. Politics, religion, and of course Japan. The problem is those first two things tend to get people really heated. So, this is why I focus on the third so often. That is why I will be talking about all three! So, settle in. Grab a cup of coffee or tea...it's story time!
Shortly after I got back from Japan in 2008 I interviewed at a church to be their new youth pastor. I had been in contact with them a couple times while I was in Japan and they wanted to wait till I got back in the states before they made their decision. This way they could talk to me in person, ask me questions, etc.
I was still coming off my Japan high when I settled into the interview. Which, might I add wasn't just between me and the pastor. I sat down at a table 14 people...no lie. This is not a good idea. Mostly because it feels like you are on trial. It also gives people a forum to ask questions that shouldn't ask questions. (This is where the real story begins!)
As I sat down at the table I started to look around at the 14 or so people seated around me. All various ages, backgrounds, and personality types. There was a woman there who just scowled at me the whole time. Some youth who looked like they had been forced to be there. The head pastor was there, and then there was...lets call him Jim. Jim was an older man, I would say in his 80's. He had his own oxygen and was proudly wearing his World War 2 hat and bomber jacket.
I knew right away that Jim wasn't going to like anything I had to say about Japan. And, I was right. Towards the end of the interview (which didn't really seem like it went all that well in the first place) the senior pastor asked if there were anymore questions. This was Jim's chance. I shifted in his chair, sat himself a little more upright than before, looked at me, and asked, "Why do you want to live in Japan so much?" Everyone in the room could tell that this was going to turn ugly.
You see, Jim didn't ask me the question because he cared for the people of Japan like I do. Nor did he care that I had just come back from a completely life changing trip. But, to my surprise, Jim continued, "Because every time I watch them play baseball, all I can see is them throwing grenades and killing my friends!" At that point the interview was over! I was quickly escorted out of the room like I was the president heading for a bomb shelter.
Seriously though, this threw me. But, this wasn't the first time this has happened to me. After I returned from Japan the first time my grandmother told me that she was "glad my grandfather was dead, because he wouldn't have liked me going over there". For me people like Jim have the right to be angry. I'm pretty sure he saw a lot more than I will ever see. He was probably 18 years old when he was sent off to war. I thankfully have never had to do that and I honestly don't know if I could. He (and many others) have experienced a lot that I haven't. But, that doesn't make him better than me.
I'm saying all this because of one thing. There are a lot of politicians who want to use their religion as a means of pushing their hatred upon others. They see their faith as a means to change our country into this Christian utopia. They want to pass laws that make hate legal. They want to oppress people because they think that being gay is worse than whatever sin is in their own life. They want to invade other countries and kill thousands of people to make my life "safer". They want to pass laws that would allow the president to control everything we say and do (because I'm obviously not smart enough to think for myself). There are those who want to just throw endless amounts of money into inner cities instead of educating people.
I'm honestly not sure why I am posting this...I guess I'm just tired of Christians using politics and their religiousness as a way of promoting hate. Yes, there are things that are sins. But, lets show some consistency. Because if you are going to hold up a sign that says "God hates fags!" then hold up a sign that also says "God hates murdering innocent people". Or "God hates when we give billions of dollars to corporations who waste it on vacations" or "God hates when we think it's OK to leave 2 of our wives to marry the woman we cheated with".
Am I asking too much? Probably, but I will ask one other thing. That you donate money to me...I promise that 100% of it will go into my bank account to help fund my trip to Japan. And, I won't use it to promote hate or anything like that!