“Christians aren’t perfect…just forgiven.”
That bumper sticker is one of those little things that years ago pushed me over the edge into atheism. It’s as if the whole message comes down to “As a Christian, I don’t have to take any responsibility for my own actions. I can pretty much do whatever the hell I want as long as I pray for forgiveness precisely one second before I die.” It’s like there’s a coupon for heaven and you’re all set as long as you hit the expiration date and follow the fine print.
Yes, I know this does not really reflect what most Christians believe, but it’s pretty much the impression I absorbed through my own pretty strenuous religious indoctrination as a youngster and I guarantee you a lot of other nonbelievers absorb this very same message. Let’s just say these stickers (and this particular message) may not be the effective outreach tools they’re meant to be.
More troubling, though, is that so many within the Christian right seem to be asserting a similar dismissal of personal responsibility in the public arena these days, suggesting that anything they say or do should have no repercussions whatsoever just as long as they’re “expressing their beliefs”.
One recent example is the very earnestly conservative talk show host in Texas who recently walked off the set when her more liberal colleagues said things she didn’t like. Granted, this show doesn’t seem to advance an especially high level of discourse on either side of the spectrum–the two “liberal” hosts kept using the word “racist” when they clearly meant “prejudiced”, for example–but it is illustrative of a bigger issue among mainstream religious conservatives. If Amy Kushnir is disciplined for this–and I very much doubt she will be–you can be sure this segment of the population will be up in arms because of the old paper tiger that she was persecuted for “expressing her Christian beliefs” rather than for the real issue: she behaved unprofessionally and abandoned her job by walking off the set in the middle of a live broadcast.
Think about it. If a cashier at Walmart or Target abandoned a line of customers at his register because one of these customers said something or bought a product he disagreed with, everyone would expect him to be fired or at least disciplined. Even the cashier himself would see it coming from a mile away. Can’t we expect at least the same level of accountability from someone who has made her way into a career as a public figure? Evidently not, if she’s “forgiven” and probably doesn’t even recognize that she did anything inappropriate or unprofessional in the first place.
I find it hilarious to watch today’s conservatives morph into the very same whiny victims they used to criticize liberals for being…and to see how quickly they abandon the whole “personal responsibility” thing they allegedly valued so strongly in the past.