The Missionary, PETA and the Evangelicals
It’s only been a week or so since that fine young man paddled ashore to a secluded island in the Andaman Sea in order to declare to the inhabitants that the risen Jesus Christ is the one true savior, destined to return to take the chosen few heavenward.
The natives shot him dead.
While his religious zeal is trumpeted, it’s also important to remember that you have to be feeling pretty good about yourself, frankly superior to the unwashed masses, to decide that you need to dial in the rest of the world to your recipe for life and the life after.
In the wake of the killing, the natives are being criticized and some even say they should be punished.
In parts of the U.S., they would be heralded for “standing their ground,” a prized concept of the right except when it’s black folk, in this case with bows and arrows.
For all we know, the island’s inhabitants have no concept of individual property so they protect in a communal sense; some dude shows up on shore yelling with a football and a Bible and they take him out.
Judge ye be not judged.
Now, this week, PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has come out admonishing us to cleanse our vocabulary of “anti-animal” sayings.
The “freezers full of venison” crowd went nuts over that, decrying PETA for their attempt to censor our language of words thought hurtful to friends both fury and feathered.
Ironically, the missionary, PETA and many Evangelicals, operate from the exact same playbook.
They want to change and control you.
They have it all figured out, the secret code, the 411.
And, they are doing you a favor by bringing you into their loop, while they also get to feel really good about themselves from their morally superior position.
Rule number one is that you must buy into their ethos: obey their commandments and be willing to alter your life to conform to their ideal.
After all, you’ll be a better person, right?
Not really and here’s where I look for some guidance.
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were as different as they could possibly be, their thoughts on liberty notwithstanding.
Keep in mind that in their day, the church was far more powerful, at least in a communal sense, than it is today.
Churches governed the community which helps to explain why Washington was a vestryman at two different parishes.
They were nearly unanimous in holding fast to their principles regarding not being under the sway of preachers, missionaries and their ilk.
In fact, Jefferson marveled at Washington’s ability to avoid giving into a room full of preachers when he felt it would compromise his own beliefs.
We don’t need PETA, or the Pope, for that matter, to tell us how to live a kind and just life.
Like some founding fathers, we ought to defend and support a liberal society operating under the rule of law and under-pinned by acts of good conscience.
That’s all the religion we need.