Make America Love Again – Joey Kantor

 

 

 

My mother was born again in 1973, the same year she opened a Bible store in Las Vegas where I grew up.  When Jesus’ love walloped my mother, boy, did it hit hard. I grew up with a mother who praised Jesus all day long and quite openly.

 

Hence, being eight years old at the time, I was introduced to the Christian religion. I was immediately saved, of course, and Jesus took the place of my “word” which was a part of the practice of transcendental meditation that my mother had been involved with just the year before.

 

It became Jesus Jesus Jesus. Jesus loved everybody. I mean everybody. He loved His enemies even. When people got mad at him for telling the truth they actually put Him on a cross, hung Him there to die, and He still asked God to forgive them. He had a lot of patience, this Jesus. So I followed Him too.

 

When I became a teenager in the early 1980s I occasionally attended a non-denominational church, Calvary Chapel, at Rancho and the freeway. I remember one day an associate pastor telling us something that just didn’t jibe with what I thought I knew about Jesus. He said that unless you became a born-again Christian, you were going to go to hell.

 

Think about it. You’re going along -love love love- when suddenly, boom, hate. Jesus would throw you into an oven! Okay. Now, did Jesus condemn other religions of other cultures? If so I must have missed it what with all of the talk about love. What about the good Samaritan? It just didn’t make sense. I later took a two-year Masters degree in mythology, other people’s religions really, to find an answer.

 

What I discovered was interesting. Time after time the religions that I studied said the same things that Jesus said but in different ways. I saw the game clearly. The loving God I had known wouldn’t be so stupid as to condemn everyone other than Christians just because they spoke a different language, had a different mythic vocabulary if you will. The heart was what mattered.

 

Along came 9-11 and then Iraq. It was a mad rush to war, and who was cheering it on the most? The right wing evangelical Christians. The swiftness with which they abandoned the command not to kill, but love only, was breathtaking and very sad.

 

Now, of course, we have Donald Trump. Eighty-one percent of evangelicals voted for him even though his actions, even before the election, were blatantly vile. The evangelical Christians wanted to acquire the worldly power that Jesus Christ himself would have vehemently disagreed was worth having. Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s…

 

Evangelicals have drunk the Trump Kool-Aid because it has been in Trump’s best interests to say and do whatever this sub-culture wants even if he has to lie.

 

I’ll stick with the loving God instead of this politically motivated facsimile of Christianity that feeds off of the notion of tough love. Love isn’t tough. Love is love.

 

Perhaps someday right wing evangelical Christians will once again embrace the idea that their worldly beings are nothing, that there is no greater thing to do than to give your very life for your brother, that you should give your enemy the shirt off of your back, that a real Christian cares for the “least of these,” that kindness is actually not weakness, as some would have you believe, that must be destroyed.

 

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just make America love again?

 

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