“WWJD”, for those who are unfamiliar with this, is short for “What Would Jesus Do”. It’s something that some Christians claim they think about when facing a moral dilemma.
The problem with that is, well…a couple of different reasons.
One is, they don’t actually know “wwJd”, because they haven’t read the Bible. The Bible that has about a gazillion different translations, yes, but usually has the basics regarding parts of Jesus’ life, his parables, and other stuff like Paul’s letters etc.
You may or may not be surprised that many Christians haven’t read it, they “just know from what my pastor tells me” (that’s something I have heard a lot).
Quick aside: I was sitting with workmates at lunch (at my last job), and one of them was getting married to a preacher’s son in a couple of months. And taking some kind of Bible study class that her future father-in-law was teaching….
Girl: He wants us to pick our favorite story from the New Testament! (Looks around anxiously)
Me: Hey, how about the one where Jesus is on the boat, and it’s all stormy and stuff, and the disciples are freaking out and then He calms the storm…always liked that one. He was grumpy because He had been taking a nap.
(Blank looks from everyone in the break room)
Girl: I don’t know that one. I don’t know any stories. Just the Christmas one, and he said that didn’t count.
Me: (Because I am nasty this way) You mean that, at a table full of Christians, the only person who knows a story from the Bible is a pagan??
This is typical, I find. So, Christians, put up or shut up. If you don’t know your basic tenets of your religion, and you certainly do not know the basic tenets of mine, keep your trap closed.
The other problem with “wwJd” is that some Christians pick and choose, according to their prejudices.
If, for example, they feel hostile towards a group for whatever reason, they trot out the “Jesus and the money-changers” story, to illustrate that, yes, Jesus did have a temper. Doesn’t matter to them that their example is completely out of context.
If so many are not familiar with the Bible, who’s going to know, right?
A final example is the quote, “No one comes to the Father but through me.” This is interpreted by many Christians as, “If you don’t believe in Jesus, you’re going to hell.”
But wait! Let’s see what Pope Francis says about this. I chose him because, even though evangelicals think he’s the anti-Christ or something, no one can say he hasn’t read the Bible. I think we can all agree that he’s pretty much studied it his whole life.
I was raised Episcopalian, not Catholic, so I am also trying to be fair here.
Pope Francis stated in 2013:
“The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart, do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can… “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ, all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!” We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.” (“Pope Francis Says that Atheists Can Do Good and Go to Heaven Too!” Catholic Online, 5/20/2013)
Which brings us to today’s post.
You know, a regular theme of mine is the microaggressions people who live in poverty face, that make everything in life that much harder in the day-to-day struggle. Microaggression is basically having someone treat you as ‘less-than’, by being dismissive or insulting. It’s usually not stated outright. But it is done with the intent to hurt, and it’s usually received that way, too.
What it is not, is “freedom of speech”, or “freedom of religion”. That is never the intent, it is only the excuse that cowards use when they don’t want to own up to being assholes.
Here is my latest example of religious microaggression.
I ride something called the Senior Services van. It takes people to the store, doctor’s appointments, or basically anywhere you need/want to go, if you are disabled and/or 65 years of age or older. I am disabled, so I use it. I do not have a car (because I cannot afford a car, not because I “lost my license” – that is another microaggression for another post).
It is paid for by lottery money, state grants, and the people who use the service.
I was picked up on Monday from Walgreen’s by the van, driven by a driver I didn’t know. He seemed friendly enough – at first. But we hadn’t gone even a mile when he asked me if I was “ready for Easter.”
Ok, so what? I said, “Well I think I will be traveling to see my grandson, so I am getting ready for my trip.”
“What? You’re doing what??” he asked.
Now I am getting a bit weirded out, because his tone isn’t “I am hard of hearing and cannot hear you”, but “I am flabbergasted by what you just said.”
And I am thinking, “What is wrong with him? Maybe he’s just having a bad day.”
He chatted about how he has 6 kids and a million grandkids or something. I wasn’t really listening all that hard because I didn’t like his tone and his manner was rather pushy.
Then we got to my street.
He asked, “Where do you go to church?” All of a sudden, out of the blue.
“I don’t go to church,” I replied.
“Why not???” he asked (again, with the “I am flabbergasted” tone of voice).
And this is where I should have said, “None of your business.”
But to be honest, he caught me off-guard. I am not used to being asked things like this, not since I left Memphis (which is full of obnoxious Christians). To people in Memphis, I would just tell them, in a spooky voice, that I was a witch. That stopped them and scared them into not talking to me.
“I am not a Christian,” I said.
“You don’t have to be a Christian to go to church, but you do have to be a Christian to go to heaven. Did you know that, Victoria?” he asked, in a patronizing manner.
Now my mouth has fallen open. I am shocked. I am speechless.
And I am furious.
We had arrived at my house, so I just got off the van and went inside, remembering to observe what van number he drove.
I went inside and called the van company. I spoke to a woman who usually takes reservations, one who has been friendly and nice.
“Hi, (name of person I won’t mention because I am nice), I’m glad you answered. I want to file a complaint about a driver,” I stated.
“Ok, let me get a pen and paper,” she said.
“Ready?” I asked.
“Go ahead,” she replied.
“The driver asked me what church I go to,” I began…
“I’m not going to tell you!” she exclaimed.
Silence. I am puzzled by her response. Then it dawned on me.
I asked her, “Did you think I was asking you what church you go to???”
“Well, yeah,” she answered, in a somewhat huffy voice.
You see Christians, the pushy kind, always seem to think they are under attack for some reason. I think it’s because they are no longer allowed to push their beliefs on everyone else, and that pisses them off. So they interpret things in that light.
Surprised, I stated emphatically, “I wouldn’t ask you that!!” Then I added, “The driver of the van asked me that!”
I related the rest of the brief encounter. She never said a word. After a prolonged period of silence, I asked if she was still on the line.
“I’m still writing!” she snapped.
Then she asked if I wanted someone to call me back about it. I told her I trusted her to pass the info along.
After I got off the phone, I started to wonder, would she really pass the info on? She seemed offended that I had even reported it.
So I called back, got another person, and gave her my name and number for a call-back.
Not 5 minutes later, Pit Bull is rapping “Oye”. My default ringtone heh. Man, I never get tired of hearing it! But anyway…
Supervisor identified himself, asked how he could help me, and I related the incident. And realized that the first woman who took my report did not turn it in, because he asked for info that I had given her, like the van number and so on.
I didn’t ask him whether or not he got my first message. No need to get more than one person in trouble that day. But, wow.
His reaction was to apologize, and to say he would take care of it right away. I got the feeling he didn’t like the driver saying those things to me. And that perhaps he was familiar with this guy doing this to other clients.
So, I hope he fired him.