Religious Extremism And Misconceptions: How Current Christian Controversy Has Marred the Faith's Beauty

 

Full Disclosure:  I view myself as a proud and devout Christian and identify with the Episcopal denomination.  

Recently, a lot of controversy has been associated with several different "sects" of Christianity.  Most who are reading this have probably already heard the news regarding a "Christian Militia" based in places like Michigan, Ohio, Indiana etc.  These self-proclaimed "anti-Christ fearing militants" were all eventually arrested after information over a plot to kill a police officer emerged.  They call themselves The Hutaree, which accoring to Rachel Maddow is a made up term that they thought sounded good.

Beginning Saturday evening, the FBI staged multiple raids across Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio to arrest nine members of an apocalyptic Christian militia who were allegedly conspiring to murder police officers, carry out terrorist atrocities, and initiate a war against United States. The initial raids captured eight of the suspects. The ninth was captured on Monday. Fortunately, every member was detained without bloodshed – no Ruby Ridge, no Waco, no pretext for revenge along the lines of Oklahoma City.

Source:  The Guardian (UK)

This is unfortunately only one of the many Christian extremist groups making headlines today.  

Another group, which no doubt more people are familiar with as opposed to The Hutaree, is called the Westboro Baptist Church.  (This church doesn't have any formal ties with the actual Baptist denomination that most can associate with and therefore considers itself an independent Baptist church)  

The reason I bring this up is because they have personally hit home with me.  Their picket schedule coming up has them landing their homophobic butts in my home state of West Virginia.  They apparently are prepared to picket the University of Charleston and The Capitol building, both located in the state's capital of Charleston, WV.  

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Pickets from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., plan to visit Charleston early next month.

Source:  The Charleston Gazette

These people are the scumbags who protest the funerals of fallen soldiers that come home from war, and who have given the ultimate sacrifice for this wonderful country we live in.  They are the ones who carry the "god hates fags" signs, and even has a website with the same name.  

Fortunately, in wake of such planned pickets, many people on facebook are organizing peaceful protests for these so called Christian extremists.  I personally cannot bring myself to even associate such blatent hatred with Christianity, but that is what they call themselves and therefore what they are referred to as by others.  

Both of these situations, along with the current mess in the Catholic church, I'm afraid have hurt the public view of Christianity.  The crux of this diary isn't meant to preach religion towards anyone, so please don't take it as such.  This is merely to show that it is unfortunate how bad the religion has been portrayed in the media.  

The same, however, can be said for the Muslim faith as well.  We as Americans should embrace religious diversity, not discourage it.  Unfortunately, due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the constant misconstruing of the Muslim faith by several different outlets, much fear and skepticism is associated with the faith.

I hope that in time, better perceptions of both faiths will be displayed for everyone to see, and not these negative and embarrassing ones.

Tags: Westboro Baptist Church, Hutaree, Christian Militia, Michigan, Indiana, WV, Charleston Gazette, The Guardian UK, 9/11, Episcopalian, Rachel Maddow, anti-christ, christianity, muslim, charleston, University of Charleston (all tags)

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