Loving Thy Neighbor Unless...

Westboro Baptist Church in New York by David Shankbone

When you hear Islam referred to as a "religion of peace," what is the first thought or image that flashes through your mind? Now let's try a somewhat more difficult question. When you hear an evangelical fundamentalist Christian claim something along the lines of how "love thy neighbor" or "do unto others" is the central message of Christianity and/or of some dead (and possibly non-existent) person with whom he or she claims to have a personal relationship, what goes through your mind?

Here's what goes through mine:

This list could easily go on and on. I started with three links and before I could hit "publish," I found that I had added five more. It could (and probably should) contain hundreds of examples. And that's just from the past week or two!

I have a very difficult time not seeing this as hypocrisy. If you are going to claim that the central message of your religion has to do with treating others with kindness, love, or compassion, don't you kind of have to set aside the hatred and bigotry? Don't you have to treat people much better than you do?

What I have heard from many evangelical fundamentalist Christians when I've brought this up is that they are under no obligation to love anyone who isn't Christian in the way they define what it means to be Christian. And guess who isn't Christian in the way they define what it means to be Christian? You guessed it! Anyone they disapprove of for pretty much any reason is not a Christian and thus excluded from humane treatment. How's that for morality?