You Don't Have to Remain a Member of a Hate Group

American flag in front of a church

I wrote a post on Medium recently called "Taking Responsibility for Your Church" in which I considered a question I've had for some time. If your church is not accepting of people like you, why would you keep going back? It isn't like Christians don't have plenty of church options. Most of those living in the United States are surrounded by churches. If the bigotry at Church A is a problem, why not try Church B? Wouldn't that make more sense than sticking with Church A while complaining about it?

After writing it, I recognized a problem. We don't do this when it comes to our political parties or even how we vote. Consider the Republican primary for a moment. Voters in Iowa and New Hampshire could have done the right thing. They could have said "hell no" to nominating a criminal. They didn't. And I'd bet that few Republicans will stop being Republicans when he's nominated. They won't stop voting for Republicans or even donating their money. No matter how dissatisfied they may be, they'll stay the course.

If a pastor at an evangelical fundamentalist church made racist comments, would congregants go elsewhere? Would those who disagreed with what he said leave the church? What if he started to demonize queer people? Would people leave, or would they look the other way? What if they heard others outside the church begin to refer to their church as a hate group?

There would be people in such a congregation who wouldn't like some of what they were hearing. There's bound to be some good people in every church. Would they leave or continue to support the church? 

We keep hearing that there are people who don't like much of what their political party is doing. Do they leave? Some must, but the rest of us don't hear much about it.

What would it say about someone who continued to attend a church that had been preaching hate? What about someone who continued to align themselves with a political party that had been promoting hate? Wouldn't the rest of us wonder why they were still there? If they stayed long enough, wouldn't be be suspicious that they didn't disagree with as much as they claimed?

For the most part, we can choose which groups we want to affiliate with. If one church isn't working, we can try another. If one political party has turned into something we no longer recognize, we could cut ties with it. And if we woke up one day and realized that we were part of something that was gaining a reputation for spreading hate, we could walk away. It might not be easy, but we could do it.

Image by Q K from Pixabay