Dear “Religious Right”: Church Attendance Doesn’t Make You a Christian or Better Than Anyone Else

church1Living in Texas, a state which is very “religious” (as are many in the South), I’m exposed to many “Christians” who attend church 2 or 3 times a week, volunteer for functions at their church, put their kids in the choir, go to summer bible camp, etc.  You name it, they’re involved.

Ironically, many of these same people who seem to live and breathe church are also some of the biggest pricks and hypocrites I know once they’re outside of church.

Now I’m not saying everyone I know that’s highly devoted to their church falls into this category.  I do know some great people who seem to live at church.  But those are people who are just good people—they just happen to go to church often.

Even without church, these people would still be great human beings.

But the other group, the ones who base their devotion to God on how involved they are at church, those are the ones who are often some of the worst people I ever run across.

Like the couple I met, married with 2 kids, that wouldn’t let their cousin live with them unless she went to church 3 nights a week.  Okay, fine, whatever.  They were highly involved in their church and I guess if you’re going to live under their roof it’s reasonable to abide by their rules.

But wait, come to find out both the husband and wife were both having affairs.  Not only that, their children were severely obese, with doctors saying their children were most likely headed toward diabetes at a very young age if their eating habits weren’t changed.  But even with that news the cousin told me the parents didn’t care and continued to let the kids eat whatever they wanted.

Then, after finally getting a divorce, the father moved 600 miles away (and a year later has yet to come visit his kids) and the mother left the kids with a babysitter almost every night to go to her new boyfriend’s house.

Oh, and on a side note, the little girl who I believe is 10 or 11 has already tried to commit suicide.  According to the cousin (who is a friend of mine) the mother stayed around for 2 days before going back to her routine of working, coming home, changing clothes and going to her boyfriend’s house.

Just great “Christian” parenting, right?  A mother and a father, having affairs, putting their children’s health in danger, basically abandoning their children after a divorce—oh, but they both still go to church very frequently and the cousin (who still lives with the mother) is required to go as well.   That means they’re great “Christians,” right?

And I would say this story is shocking, except I see similar stories all the time.

Maybe not to this extreme but I see people who are blatant racists who almost live at church.  I’ve met child abusers who were at church at least 2-3 times a week.

It’s this ignorance these people carry with them that somehow going to church makes them a better person.  Their church attendance excuses their horrific behavior outside of those church walls.  It’s how they mentally excuse their disgusting behavior. “Well, I’m not a bad person—I go to church.”

Who. Gives. A. Crap.

Church can be a great vessel for people.  Much like the Bible, some see church as a tool to help solidify their faith and get them through rough times.  And that’s great, as a Christian I believe in using “tools,” if you need them, to help you in life.

But church is meaningless if you’re a monster once you step outside into the real world.

And it seems that those who want to push their religious views down the throats of everyone else are often the biggest, most disgusting hypocrites I run across.

The people who want to tell me how I should live my life, even though I never sought their opinion.  The people who want to tell me that I’m not a Christian because I’m a liberal.  The people who want to tell me that I’ll burn in hell for supporting same-sex rights.

Meanwhile many of them cheat on their husband or wife, abuse their kids, condemn anyone different, hate people they disagree with all while vilifying the needy and poor.

Then these people have the gale to call me, and those like me, a bad person?  Spare me.  I don’t have enough patience to deal with that level of ignorance and hypocrisy.

I believe in helping those less fortunate than myself, not judging those who are different, not forcing my beliefs on others, helping the needy, being kind to strangers, working toward a better society and that differences make us better—not worse.

But if you want to judge and condemn me, or those like me, based on our church attendance—go right ahead.  Because at the end of the day, I’ve seen the ugly way many of these “church attending Christians” behave.  And if that is what they think makes them a good “Christian,” I want no damn part of it.

Because at the end of the day, if you’re going to church and still harboring hate, fear, anger and judgment towards others—either you’re not grasping the messages that they’re trying to teach or whatever they’re preaching inside that building damn sure isn’t Christianity.

And if you believe that somehow you worship Jesus Christ, a man who stood for hope, love, acceptance, forgiveness, caring and generosity by being fearful, hateful, judgmental, angry and selfish—you’re sure as hell not a Christian.

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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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