When Religion Promotes Hatred & Violence

There are those who would say that since I am not a Christian, I have no right to comment on the religion or its adherents.  In most cases, I would agree with them, but … it seems I just cannot keep my nose out of this one.  In no way am I criticizing Christianity or its followers as a whole, but rather certain elements that are doing more harm than good to this entire nation, and that are giving Christianity overall a bad image, a reputation that Christians won’t find easy to live down.

While I find ‘evangelicals’ to be particularly narrow-minded and offputting, my current target is two specific evangelical pastors, men of the cloth who are supposed to be preaching peace, love, and all that sort of stuff, but instead are promoting hatred and violence.  I might not care if they were one-offs, if nobody much was listening and most people took their rantings with a grain of salt, but as it is, both seem to have a fairly large following and thus they have the potential to inflict great harm in this nation.  And in that, I find justification for offering my two cents worth.

The first is Pastor Mark Burns who is running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from South Carolina’s District 4.  Now, I have a problem with Burns’ platform, with some of his recent statements such as …

  • “We need to replace God at the center of American politics. The separation between church and state was not designed to keep the church out of the government, it was designed to keep the government out of the church.”
  • “I will fight to restore law & order, election integrity, secure our borders, protect our God-given & America 1st agenda!”
  • “Life begins at conception, marriage is defined as between one man and one woman, our right to keep and bear arms is INHERENT, given to us by God almighty — NOT by any man.”

Feeling sick yet?  This is the type of rhetoric that is often used by the Republican Party these days to rile the uninformed masses, to play to their religious beliefs, and as I said, if he only attracted a handful of people, I wouldn’t waste my time writing about him.  But he has a fairly large following and he has the support of the former guy which, sadly, counts for a lot among some fools.

Mark Burns lied through his teeth about both his military service and education, lies that were easily disproven and he later admitted to them, but used the pathetic excuse that he was attacked because he is “a black man supporting Donald Trump for president.”  Oh yeah … minor detail, he still claims to believe that the election was stolen and that Trump is the rightful president.

But what raises my hackles is that he is urging his supporters to commit violence.  Our friend Scottie did a post on this with a couple of relevant videos a week or so ago, but in summary, Mr. Burns, while speaking at a rally in Oregon, told the audience to smash the car windows of anyone they believed was ‘antifa’.  Now, I am 100% against fascism, so that makes me an antifascist, but I am not a member of any group called antifa, and from everything I’ve read, it is a very small, unorganized group that gets far more credit than it deserves.  But to the point, when a candidate running for office advises violence, he should be removed from the ballot.  When a religious ‘leader’ calls for violence, he should be thrown out on his ear.  Instead, the crowds love him.  There is something pathetic about that.

The second is Pastor Greg Locke whose message is one of hate rather than peace and love.  Locke is a white supremacist and pastor of Global Vision Bible Church in the small town of Mount Juliet, Tennessee.  He participated in the events of January 6th at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and the Proud Boys white supremacist organization often provide security at Locke’s events, if that tells you something.  To me, it speaks volumes, but even more so are Locke’s words.  He is against the COVID vaccine, saying …

“If you’ve had the covid-19 shot, I’m telling you you’ve got poison in your veins. We call out the covid-19 vaccine out right now. Keep that demonic spirit out of you right now in the name of Jesus!”

Just words, you might say, but when words are believed, as Locke’s often are, they can cause great harm.  How many people, listening to Locke’s words, have died of COVID because they believed his spiel?  He has a large online presence … he claims millions of followers, but even if it’s only thousands, he is a dangerous firebrand.  Two months ago he held a massive book burning, throwing in copies of such beloved books as the Harry Potter series among others.  He promotes hatred against the LGBTQ community and against people with mental disabilities.

I find it disturbing that according to an article in The Washington Post

“Locke has a social media following of 4 million across multiple platforms, and attendance at Sunday services has grown from 200 before the pandemic to more than 1,000, spilling out of the church building and into an enormous climate-controlled tent, which Locke calls a ‘canvas cathedral.’”

Again, the real danger is that so many people, for whatever reason, listen to and hang on Locke’s words – words of hate, words of dissent, words that incite violence against any and all who view the world through a different lens than Pastor Locke.

I don’t know the solution to counter the hate of both of these men, Mark Burns and Greg Locke.  I only know that they are a threat to us all in one way or another.  The 1st Amendment that guarantees free speech enables them to spread their message of hatred and violence unchecked, and those without the ability to think and reason may well become their private army against the rest of us.

49 thoughts on “When Religion Promotes Hatred & Violence

  1. Thank you for sharing!!… I am not into religion or faith based ideologies either, I prefer to venture through life with an open mind, but everyone has a right to believe what they wish… I believe the wisdom of the founding fathers of this nation to declare a separation of church and state for a good reason… 🙂
    There are closed minded elements in today’s world societies that use faith based ideologies as justification for their actions, to impose their ideology on others and to further their personal agenda and has created many conflicts worldwide in the past and currently in the present….. those elements use “fear” as a weapon to gather followers…. 🙂

    Until we meet again…
    May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons
    bring the best to you and yours!
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly so. Some, maybe most religions try to mold everyone into their narrow box and this has led to wars, mass killings, and more. It is the basis for every form of bigotry and has done far more harm than good, in my book. I agree that the Founders had wise vision when they wrote a separation of church and state into the Constitution. I much prefer your philosophy of venturing through life with an open mind … if only more would do that! Thank you for the wonderful Irish Saying, my friend!

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  2. You rant on against them, with my blessings Jill.
    When I am doing my stint in Purgatory for my manifold misdemeanours, and am sitting at the processing desk for those going to ‘The Bad Place’, part of my penance will be having to listen to this sort, bellowing and wailing that they should not be going ‘There’, and I will be under strict orders not to comment or feel good about it.

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  3. “There are those who would say that since I am not a Christian, I have no right to comment on the religion or its adherents.” Since Christians regularly comment on each & every & all other religions, I see absolutely no reason why anyone should not comment on any sect of Christianity at all. Keep ranting away, Jill!

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    • Thank you, my friend! I do try not to tread into religion often, for I do not wish to offend the many Christian friends I have. But sometimes one just has to speak up, and these two bozos I wrote about do NOT represent most of the Christians I know! So yes, I will keep on ranting! Thanks again!

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  4. Both of them are extremists, and fundamentalists, who have no idea of the harm they cause. Nor do they seem to be aware of their hypocrisy. Then again, they follow Republican Jesus, who often diverges from what Historical Jesus is meant to have said.

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    • No, they have no idea and it appears they don’t care. They have twisted and deviated their religion to suit their own needs or desires and have forgotten that the basic premise of Christianity was once peace and love.

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  6. You are quite right both these maniac deserve to be thrown out of the fields they have chosen. and neither can claim to be real men of God…any God unless it’s an old testament God of vengeance that has no place in the New Testament society .It’s people like these that are the problem to society not those they would raise their flock against. Those that follow them are just too lazy to think for themselves and would rather follow than apply thought to the hate they cause..

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    • These sort of people would be laughable if it were not for the utter stupidly of those that follow them. The very notion of ‘God Given Rights’ is ridiculous enough without tying it in with the misinterpreted constitutional laws of a single nation.

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      • Interestingly, I heard a person the other day claim that gun rights were ‘God-given rights’ … I suppose next they’ll claim it is their God-given right to drive their car through a parade and kill people? You’re right … it would be funny, if these people weren’t so dangerous.

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          • Agreed. People seem to mold the religion to suit what they WANT it to mean, to “put words into” their god’s mouth. And then they expect the rest of us to believe and abide by their version. Could be why I tossed religion out the window at a very young age!

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            • I don’t think that there is any real argument that Man created God in his own image, and not the other way around.
              But I could be wrong. It could be that God did mention to Moses that good-ole-boys driving around in pickup trucks with semi-automatic weapons terrorising the neighbourhood quoting small snippets of federal legislation that they could have no hope of understanding was a right that he had given them.
              He might have said, “Come on Moses, loosen up a bit, …. they normally only shoot suspected communists and blacks and gays. Where’s the harm in that? Put it on the list just below that coveting neighbour’s wives thing that we talked about.”
              “And, by the way, that stuff about other guys wives …. what was the final decision on that? Yes or No?”

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              • You’re right. And the bible that is so oft-thumped was written by … men. And interpreted by people in whatever way makes their lives more convenient. Which I wouldn’t give a thought to if they weren’t trying to mold our very government and all of our lives to fit the shape of their own ideology. I do love your sense of humour when you envision the conversation that might have been held between God & Moses!

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    • Their ‘chosen profession’ relies on them being able to convince people to buy into their words and to act accordingly. Thus, charisma is more important to them than actual knowledge or intellect, and while I don’t see these two (or most others) as being charismatic, apparently some do … far too many, actually. I agree with you that some who follow them are largely uneducated and never learned to think logically. But some, I think, look around at the world today and want to find a promise that somebody, somewhere, is in charge, that it isn’t simply all chaos. Just my thought on it. But they are a danger to us all, for they will ‘follow their leader’, perhaps into the Capitol in January 2025 to overthrow the government, or perhaps by electing lawmakers who will write laws based on their beliefs. Sigh.
      Cwtch

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  7. You are right Jill, it is very scary and sad at what these 2 leaders are promoting and most definitely gives Christianity a bad name!! These 2 men may call themselves a Christian, but that’s all it is! They don’t have the heart of a true Christian!

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  8. While Christianity is an umbrella term that covers hundreds of denominations, sects, and fringe groups, in the past there were two primary sub-groups into which all of those denominations etc. were divided: those that saw the Church as having replaced the Old Testament nation of Israel and those who saw a clear distinction between the two entities. Those within the first group were much more likely to try to blur the lines between church and state and even to merge them together–as with OT Israel. Sadly, organizations like Wall Builders, Family Policy Council, and Focus on the Family–where I worked for five years–have carried that church-and-state-as-one doctrine into many denominations and churches that historically opposed such a notion. Unfortunately, the number of churches and congregants that buy into this dangerous church-state marriage continues to grow. I repent of the part I played in it in the past.

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    • That’s a good summation of where Christianity is today, Jerry. In my view, we cannot have a nation that is fair and just for all if we allow religion to be the basis for government, for law, because though some Christians may not like to admit it, there are many other religions, and those of us with no religion, in this nation. We pay taxes just the same as Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Falwell, and so many others. Question for you, since I believe you are one of the most intelligent Christians I know, and since you have experience with the evangelicals: Where do you envision this going in, say, 100 years? Do you think this nation will actually become a Christian rather than a secular nation at some point?

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    • It’s one that has been weighing on my mind for a while, but I hesitate to tread on religious ground. But after reading about these two men, I knew I could be silent no longer. My weekend was okay … nothing special, but peaceful. These days, peace is all I ask for! Now Michael … you know I’m at my best when I’m ranting! 😊 xx

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    • Thank you, Keith. I read Pavlovitz’ piece this morning and found it incredibly sad, but also very much spot on. Christianity, from an outsider’s view, is not as it once was. It is hate rather than love, violence rather than peace. Pavlovitz is one of two religious leaders I follow, the other being Padre Steve, and I find his current views sad, but yet I’m also encouraged that he sees through the hoopla, sees that this is not what his faith is about. Perhaps his views will win the day at some point.

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      • It is a good piece. We must remember not to paint all Christians by the actions of the more strident evangelical groups. Yet, we must also point out those who are not following WWJD. Keith

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        • Agreed. I try to remember that … unfortunately, it’s easy to forget when the most rabid of the lot are the most vocal as well. But, the majority of my friends are Christians and I fully respect their beliefs. Those I know are not radicals, but are kind, caring people for the most part. It’s a sad state of affairs that the radical ones seem to think they speak for ALL Christians.

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