Dear Christian Conservatives: I Want to Thank All of You for Making Me a Better Person

1499697_10152114241407489_2079435958_nDear Christian Conservatives:

I finally understand, I really owe all of you a gigantic apology.  I hadn’t realized until fairly recently how big of an impact you all have had on who I am, what I stand for and the type of Christian I want to be.

So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

For a while I had drifted away from Christianity.  Not that I stopped considering myself a Christian, but I had stopped really thinking about faith in my life.  While I’ve never been a big church attendee, once upon a time I did spend more time focused on my faith and incorporating it into my life in my own ways.  However, the last few years, I had somewhat moved away from that.  I’m not really sure why.

Well, thanks to all of you Christian conservatives, I’ve now come back to the point where my faith has become a greater focal point in my life.

See, if it wasn’t for the ignorance, hypocrisy and utter hatred that seems to emulate from many of the “Christian right,” I might have never decided to stand up to reclaim my faith from the tens of millions who have so ignorantly distorted its true meaning.

I found that in my current mission to correct the wrongs many of you people have inflicted on my faith, I’ve developed a stronger devotion to real Christianity.

You know — helping the helpless; defending the defenseless; giving to the needy; assisting the poor; accepting each other; forgiveness and hope; love and compassion.  Those things Jesus Christ actually spoke of.

Values for which many “Christian” conservatives tell themselves they stand for, but by their devout relationship with the Republican party, undoubtedly prove that they don’t.

If it wasn’t for your blatant distortion of the faith that I hold dear — and my subsequent reaction to reclaim it from those who misrepresent it — I might have continued to stray further away from that very faith.  And who knows, I might have never returned.

But I have — with a vengeance.

No longer will I sit idly by while you people pretend to be followers of Jesus Christ by representing values which are complete contradictions of his teachings.  I’m not going to sit here and let you people call yourselves Christians, misrepresent my faith, and do nothing about it.

I will no longer sit silently by while my faith is represented by people who continue to drive more and more people away from it with your intolerable distorted system of beliefs about Christianity.

And trust me, I’m not the only one.  Millions of liberal Christians are beginning to awaken and fight back against your distortion of our faith.  We’re sick and tired of your ignorance being tied in with our religion.

Your despicable reign over our faith is coming to an end.

So, once again, thank you.  Because if it wasn’t for all of you and your intolerance, bitterness and hateful attitudes, my eyes might not have been reopened.

Sincerely,

Allen Clifton

Co-founder: Forward Progressives 

Founder: Right Off A Cliff

Twitter: Allen_Clifton 

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Jim Bean

    Allen, I’m not a Christian, I’m agnostic. But you need to remember that humans were naturally and spontaneously adopting anti-gay sentiments long before Christianity even existed. It’s either disingenuous or (forgivably) ignorant to blame them for it now.

    • Mike Riley

      Jim,
      That is absolute bullshit! Native Americans, who were not inflicted with Christianity until we got here, celebrated gay couples as the “two spirits”. You are the one who is forgivably ignorant.

      • Jim Bean

        “Two spirits” was short for “not of this world.” The bridge between “not of this world” and ‘anti-gay-sentiment” is an exceedingly short one. My point is, anti-gay sentiment has existed to varying degrees in all cultures throughout all of history regardless of the culture’s religion or lack thereof. And if, upon fully accepting this reality, you continue to blame Christians for causing it, then it is YOU who are the bigot.

      • You might want to go back and re-read some more Native American history, because these “two-spirits” had an important role within the tribe: raising children who were orphaned was one of them. Native American culture believes in balance. Man and woman, night and day, sky and earth. Two spirits are the counterbalance to straight people and have an important role in the tribe.

      • Jim Bean

        Ah, yes. “Beliefs”, “Spirits”. We come full circle back to faith and gods and we can start a new ‘your god/belief vs, my god/belief’ conflict.

      • Stephen Barlow

        or we could respect that Native American life seldom persecuted their own tribesmen. All parented, nurtured and taught all the children. Just like ANYWHERE ELSE BUT western christian cultures.

      • Marcia Walden

        Exactly! The world worked very well until Christians “civilized” it. IMO these people are no different in their ravings than radical Islamists. Same ideas, different holy book.

      • Marcia Walden

        I didn’t get anyone was blaming Christians. What I heard is that right-wing ultra conservative Christians are the ones today who are hard at work making laws in America that are based on religion, their religion! They are conveniently ignoring the First Amendment which states “congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. Sarah Palin just made the comment that we need to “create law based on the Bible and the ten commandments”! Do these people even read the Constitution they swear to uphold?

      • Jim Bean

        ‘Thou shalt not kill’ came from religion and we’ve established it as one of our laws. Must we remove it from our laws?

        In order to correctly under stand the part, “congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” you have to understand the relationship between the Church of England and the government of England in the 1700’s when our nation was born. Its’ intent was not to remove all religion-based influence on our government. Its intent was to prevent government from endorsing any particular religion over another thereby allowing for freedom of religion.

    • Michelle Rhoades

      That is in essence his argument. Using your religion especially one which is supposed to be base on love and forgiveness to justify long-standing prejudice and hate is not just wrong it’s ridiculous. True followers of Christ don’t think like the Christian right. If you don’t believe me google the Christian Left or Christians Tired of Being Misrepresented. Two groups who give me hope.

      • Jim Bean

        We agree, to an extent, but not the way you might think. When we give religion any authoritative role in this debate you enter the endless forest. You’re own comment reflects how religion simultaneously fuels and attempts to extinguish anti-gay sentiment, depending upon which page of the scripture you happen to be reading.
        We can’t begin to find social peace on this issue until pro-gays and anti-gays alike first accept that religion (Christianity, Islam, whatever) is not the source of this anti-gay sentiment – its a record OF it. Religion is a record of sentiments adopted naturally and spontaneously, and pretty much unconsciously, by humans throughout their existence. Those sentiments derive from the fact that there are only two sexes, male and female, and that each have differently designed genitalia that effectively interface and provide the means of creating new humans. ANY and ALL use of the genitalia for other purposes or in other formats fall outside that box. That includes masturbation, oral and anal sex between heterosexuals, homosexuality, and beastiality. (if the critter doesn’t run away, its consensual :).
        Once you are outside that box and religion doesn’t have a say, there are no ‘rights’ or ‘wrongs’. Or better yet, there simply are no ‘wrongs’ – short of something nonconsensual.
        When pro-gays become adept at articulating this argument – especially when they become adept at demonstrating why heterosexual oral sex is no more or less ‘deviant’ than same-sex – Christians will disappear into the weeds so fast you’d think Christ performed another miracle.
        So, you see, I’m neither anti-gay or anti-Christian. I’m simply anti-either-of-you-bashing-each-other-on-the-head-over-preconcieved-misconceptions.

        And since I’m no longer at any risk of being too long-winded I will add that when you seize upon the to opportunity ‘shut someone up’ (A&E/Phil Robertson) you forfeit another chance to ‘work it out.’

      • Stephen Barlow

        Since the Constitution calls for private, individual practices of Religious beliefs, the ORGANIZED, PUBLIC activist religious demonstrations need to be regulated to PROTECT the faith of private individuals from Government Supported (therefore endorsed) religious groups.

        A special law giving tax exemption to any religious GROUP abridges My religious rights as an individual.

      • CherMoe

        What amazes me is that there are a number of states who still allow humans to have sex with animals … yet will allow a man to beat or kill a person who is homosexual and to encourage violence and prejudice against them. Outside of any religious arena that you may refer to, although it is almost always a self-proclaimed “Christian” who is the most hateful and bigoted and homophobic.

      • Jim Bean

        25 million have died from HIV and another 35 million are in the process of dying from it. Nearly all those cases ultimately trace back to male/male sex. You don’t need a bible to come up with some a good practical reason to be a smidge ambivalent about it.

      • Nathan Marcy

        Oh. So you’re a non-religious homophobe then? Like Clifton who objects to conservatives speaking for Christians, I’m glad conservatives like you don’t speak for the atheist and agnostic movement.

      • Jim Bean

        Its a personal choice. I can either choose to unapologetically address the facts head-on and be called a homophobe, or I can choose to be a coward, hide from the realities, and be part of the problem.

      • Nathan Marcy

        Or, we can treat HIV/AIDS as a health issue and be fine or treat it as a morality issue and be as asshole. I’m choosing the former. You’re choosing the latter.

      • Marcia Walden

        Right! Good response, Nathan!

      • Patrick T. Hendrick

        You need to do further research into HIV and its source. It is predominately a heterosexual disease world wide and sourced in the heterosexual world. It started in Africa in the heterosexual population. It is a mutated disease that has been there for who knows how long and has mutated over the millennia. Your conclusions are erroneous.

      • Marcia Walden

        Ahhh, now we get to the heart of your message.

    • Clevelandchick

      In the United States, the justification for treating gay people like second class citizens or worse has always been religious and bible-based. It’s disingenuous for you to pretend it hasn’t.

      • Jim Bean

        See my response to Michelle Rhoades.

    • karlschneider

      That might just be the most idiotic statement I have seen this year.

      • Jim Bean

        It wasn’t tailored for your consumption.

      • Marcia Walden

        Then why post it in a public forum? Whose consumption was it tailored for?

    • CherMoe

      People often DO evolve from a state of ignorance. To want to stay behind is where the stupidity lies.

    • charleo1

      I think you make a fair point, as one need not be affiliated with
      Christianity, or any religion at all, to agree with discriminating
      aganist a minority. As you correctly point out, people have been
      singling out those who are different within their societies, long
      before Jesus Christ came along, and condemned it. Which is
      the reason I thought, that as a Christian I am supposed to be
      aganist such things. Irrespective of the probably hard wired
      inclination people have always had to ostracize, enslave
      scapegoat, stereotype, mock, or just generally take out their
      frustrations, by bullying a group they feel very confident is not
      strong enough to ever do anything about it. So, yes. I think why
      some Christians are being pushed very hard on any number of
      issues today. Is because other Christians, and Non-Christians,
      agnostics, and even atheists, respect the Christian Church for
      it’s inspiring values, that call upon man to resist all those selfish,
      and divisive inclinations we all naturally have. And, be better than what it is easy for us as humans to be. In other words, one may
      not get into heaven, if they don’t go to church. But, most everyone can understand, and agree where Christ was coming from, was
      a very good, and wise place, indeed. And, a lot of us are just wondering, why we don’t see more of that, in the politics of the Fundamentalist Right? So, it’s not about denying a student in
      school to openly display their Christianity. They may. And it’s not about silencing, or persecuting, or attempting to violate the First Amendment. It’s about something much more personal, and human. Disappointment.

      • Patrick T. Hendrick

        Prejudice and bigotry is learned behavior. Adults teach this and further the hatred. All you need to do is watch small children to see this.

  • michael sterling

    Allen, I’m very curious. Are you for or against homosexuality? If you are against it could you explains your position for me?

    • J. Waffle

      In. what way. is allen. clifton. accountable to you. sir?

    • atunionbob

      Does it matter Michael, I know he is in favor of Equality and equal treatment before the law. So why would it then matter?

    • Marcia Walden

      I certainly don’t speak for Mr. Clifton but from his writings I’d wager he is not against homosexuality. Nothing he writes indicates that.

      Michael, why do you even bother to ask that question? If someone is against homosexuality it’s only about a few things: fear of the unknown, fear of being gay themselves and not knowing how to handle it, or just plain hate and bigotry. There is no valid reason for excluding any human being from society for being “other”; it’s fear based ignorance.

  • Pat Seruntine

    Wow, you sound like me. TY

  • Jillz

    Allen, thank you for this. I too identify with Christianity, however walked away from organized religion a long time ago due to hypocrisy in churches and becoming sick of people calling themselves “Christians” then acting like anything but. Like you, my distaste for what the fundamentalist and right wing “Christians” have been spewing as Christianity has had a very negative impact, but a positive result – I too find myself standing up for Christianity in the face of the despicable, hate-filled assaults on it from right wing fundamentalists.

  • Given Up

    As a gay middle-aged woman who was raised Catholic and spent 4 horrid years in a Catholic charismatic group during undergrad, the hate-filled people who think they are the real Christians have done me one favor, which is to make me realize that my upcoming conversion to Reform Judaism has already made me a far much better person than I ever was when I labelled myself Christian.

    • Marcia Walden

      I had a similar experience and I, too, converted to Judaism. The message is a good one and in reform they accept all people. Here in Berkeley we have a synagogue with a gay rabbi and a gay cantor. In Alameda where I attended synagogue we had a woman rabbi. Much more accepting.

  • Omi

    So maybe you all need to realize no one is perfect except Christ. I mean NO ONE. So maybe when you get over that you will realize that is why we go to church to try to walk closer to God and learn to be more like him. So realize we are all humans and not God!

    • Stephen Barlow

      If Christ were perfect, why has he so completely failed to change the world to match his teachings?

      The Church of St Paul, Catholics, the 700 flavors of Protestantism… They all fail to instill the 2 new commandments, “love God and Love thy brother as thy self” into any part of society EXCEPT into the Gay Community.

      The abortion bombers, the doctor murderers, the gay bashers, the condemning churches of all sorts… they ALL FAIL! So Christ is proven NOT PERFECT as his mission to forgive the sins of all has failed.

      Unless you are willing to admit that the Resurrection forgave all future sins and no one need heed the commandments any more?

      But why would anyone need a church if THAT were the truth.

      • You should try the Episcopal Church this morning and join us for coffee hour afterward.

      • Stephen Barlow

        Thanks for the invite. BEcause i have developed a DIRECT relationship with what you would call ‘God”, i don’t feel the need for an organization of intercessors. I also find that the MORE organized a religion, both A) the more judgement and derision I receive for thinking and not obeying and B) the less actual communion i enjoy as everyone is interested in getting me to sing for there choir.

  • naught moses

    “The nature of the
    problem is not the beliefs we have.
    It is that we have beliefs.”

  • CherMoe

    Thank you for a BEAUTIFUL article and for echoing my sentiments so perfectly!

  • A reaction not unlike mine to Conservatives in the Republican Party. I had resigned myself to being a Populist on the outs with both major parties. I was even unaffiliated for a while. However, the constant harping of Conservatives on what constituted a real Republican, and their equating it with a privatization conservatism, so conflicted with my sense of etymological correctness, that I started referring to Conservatives as Reprivatans. Then, when I completed my magnum opus, “Popular Capitalism”, with its strong communitarian and civic undertones — which form the very basis of the Republican virtue and its antithesis to the racist-nationalism of the Democrats — I could stand the cognitive dissonance created by the Conservatives no longer. It also did not help to hear the hypocritical inanities of the Democrats, based solely on Conservatives. Nelson Rockefeller’s words resonated deep within me: “These people [the Conservatives] have nothing to do with Republicanism!”

    Thus, I have returned to the Republican Party with a vengeance, determined to reclaim my party and to send the Conservatives packing. Let them go back to the Conservative Party where they belong.

    And thanks to the Conservatives, and the Democrats, for pushing me to this.

    • Marcia Walden

      More power to you, buddy! There was a time the Republican Party was respected by voters on from both sides. I’m a Democrat, always have been, but I would sincerely like the GOP to straighten this nonsense out and return to sanity. We need a two party system to balance us and to keep things on an even keel. What we have right now are a bunch of lunatics running the asylum, for God’s sake! Somewhere along the line people like Mitch McConnell got so powerful he was actually able to follow through on his promise not to work with Obama on anything……the Party of NO! And they succeeded in doing nothing for 6 years. Even not bothering to pretend to do their jobs by interviewing a candidate for the Supreme Court! When the hell did that become okay with the American people?

  • James

    Home Depot CEO says your crazy and a communist !!

  • James

    When Christian came they only had the Bible and we had the land. After a few year suddenly we had the Bible and they had the land. They claim we got the better deal. Native Americans

    • Marcia Walden

      James, it appears they were lying. That’s how men of the Bible always do things. They plant the fear of God into folks and then manage to use that to convince people they should give, give, give, until it hurts! Some of the snake oil salesmen Evangelicals like Pat Robertson is doing the very same thing to hundreds of thousands of innocent people looking for an answer. It’s the perfect opportunity to step in and tell them the answer is God….but that God speaks through them. Yeah, right!

      That’s exactly how we ended up with Trump in the White House. He manipulated people who’ve suffered a loss of the lifestyle they had when jobs were plentiful. He conned them into believing he is their savior when he simply wanted the power of the presidency to make even bigger deals! Some Christians have layed hands on him and prayed and are even suggesting he is the messiah!!!

      Trump is a con artist and played a sting on the American people like we’ve never seen before in the history of our country. And the GOP, in the words of Paul Ryan “were handed a gift”!

      In the past two weeks Trumps daughter Ivanka, her husband and their three children took a JetBlue flight, in coach! Then we hear Eric Trump has regrets he can’t continue his great charity work due to conflict of interest. When has a woman like Ivanka ever needed to go through the hassle of flying coach? Never happens! Eric, sad for his charity that most of the money went into Trump business, very little, if any, went to children. Trump, and his family, are playing America like a violin!

  • Cynthia Padley

    Very well said !!! That is exactly how I feel !!! Raised a Catholic…..Catholic grade school…Catholic high school, step dad was a northern Baptist so……..Sunday mornings we went to Baptist church, I have grown up learning all the religions so I can make my own decisions in life. I left the church as most kids do, but found myself in a Christian church that I love. I am a religious person but ,The Gop have been spouting all their bullshit in the name of the LORD for years now and nobody is stopping them !! What about separation of church and state ??? I am a Christian, but I don’t want religion is my politics !!! I don’t think any man should be making my medical decisions for me either !!!

    • Marcia Walden

      I agree, what about separation of church and state!? It’s maddening that many of these politicians, always Republicans, insert their beliefs into their decisions far too often. This is getting ridiculous! Especially when everyone has fits if we even consider passing safer gun laws, then it’s all about the Constitution. They cherry pick the Bible and the Constitution to suit their narrative. That needs to stop!

  • Kathryn

    Beautifully and intelligently expressed!

  • CwbyT

    Thanks you Allen for this great piece! I just had this conversation with a new friend who, in the process of getting to know each other, asked if, based on some of my statements about religious bigotry, when I stopped having faith. This is almost verbatim how I answered her. Nicely done!

  • Nathan Marcy

    You’re a good person in spite of Christianity, not because of it.

    • Marcia Walden

      Agreed!

  • Dean S Horak

    Not to be pedantic, but I think you meant “emanate”, not “emulate”.

    Re: “hatred that seems to emulate from many of the “Christian right,”

    Nice piece though… thanks

  • Marilyn Olsen Scheffler

    That is EXACTLY how I feel! I have a real problem with the hatred spewing out of the mouths of so-called Christians as they try to manipulate the words of the bible so that they can “prove” whatever point it is that they are trying to make. It is embarrassing to think that any church would justify or condone this type of thinking.

  • James Shannon

    Amen. ALLEN CLIFTON

  • Stacey Schrock

    I call myself a recovering Catholic . . . I have great faith in Jesus and everything he represented, but I do not believe in organized religion. It is, with no question, a business. They are in it for the money and I do not need to contribute to an organization to continue my faith. Add to that the hypocrisy of the Christian right and I – like you – am disgusted by how much they do not follow Jesus’ teachings. Thank you, Allen, for continue to address the truth!

    • Marcia Walden

      Absolutely correct, IMO! I don’t need to sit in a pew to be a good person. I grew up Catholic in a predominately white, German Catholic community in rural PA. No sooner did we get out of Mass when the groups would form on the church steps gossiping and spreading rumors. At a very young age I saw this and was very confused.
      Organized religion is one of the biggest scams in modern society. It really is the “opiate of the masses”; people stop thinking for themselves and turn their will over to a priest or minister, often a man who has bad intentions and wants to exploit people for money and position.

  • Dana Corby

    Allen — emulate. Really? I think you meant emanate.

    • Marcia Walden

      I’m quite sure he knows the correct word but spellcheck only works on an incorrect spelling, not an incorrect word. Sometimes spellcheck spells a word we didn’t mean.

  • David Duet

    Fifth paragraph: emanate, not emulate.

  • pennyjane

    i’ve been yelling it from the rooftops for years….”YOU CAN BE CHRISTIAN AND YOU CAN BE REPUBLICAN BUT YOU CANNOT BE BOTH AT THE SAME TIME…..THE TWO ARE DIAMETRIC.

  • Marcia Walden

    it seems whenever you challenge a “believer” with truth you change the subject or willingly miss the point. Is it because you can’t face up to the way you justify hate while calling yourselves Christians?