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Credit: Julio Sosa

Obey Jesus or Hellfire. Judgment or Hell. Warning: Muslims, gangsters, the Pope, homos, sissies. These are a few of the posters held up by members of an organization associated with the website Christianinterviews.com. The demonstrators appear to be warning others about their fate if they fail to obey the Bible and God’s commands. Their posters cite well-known passages of scripture. They claim to be adhering to Christian teachings. But are they really? If you compare their teachings to those of Christ from the Bible, then the clear answer is no: The values of the Christian faith are far from the protestors’ messages of hate and disgust towards their fellow human beings. 

This group's hate-filled messages amount to nothing more than bigotry, discrimination, and prejudice in its most unfiltered form. Their teachings and claims are an incredibly sad misrepresentation of what the Christian faith actually professes. As a student of faith, I can say that the anger and intolerance conveyed through their shockingly inappropriate hate speech flout the fundamental values of the Christian faith. Yet members still parade around campus under the banner of “Christianity,” twisting its teachings and morals to create a frightening ideology far from the values of Christianity.

At its core, Christianity emphasizes love; it is a religion built upon the gracious love of God who saves humans from sin. God is not some monstrous figure who throws all  “sissies” or “alcoholics” into hell without question, as their banners seem to suggest. Rather, Christians believe in a loving God who is righteously just while perfectly forgiving. Christianity is grounded in the loving relationship that all, including those on the “warned” list of the protestors’ banners, can have with God through His son, Jesus. 

The scripture which the protestors use as “evidence” for their claims is taken out of context and isolated to promote values that are simply not consistent or accurate with what the rest of the Bible teaches. For instance, their banners cite Revelations 21:8, a passage in the Bible that mentions “the unbelieving, the vile, [and] the murderers” going to hell. Yet they very conveniently fail to take note of other guiding principles of Christianity that are proof of God’s incredible love for us, and that He is first and foremost a merciful God that pursues our hearts out of love. The entirety of the Bible disproves these demonstrator’s portrayal of God and Jesus as unjustly wrathful figures seeking unwarranted vengeance for our disobedience.

Take the passage in Exodus 34:6-7 for example, which states that “the Lord God, [is] merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin." Or what Psalm 145:8-9 states: “the Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works." God does deliver justice. God does provide discipline and guidance. But He does so righteously, justly, and lovingly.

From this core belief, Christians are called to act in love and compassion as a reflection of God’s love unto us all. And in acknowledging that we are all sinners saved only by God’s grace through our faith in Him, we are humbled in how we interact with others, knowing that none of us—despite color, age, gender, sexual orientation—are fundamentally better than the other. A guiding principle is the belief that we are all equally and wonderfully made by God. That is what Christianity is really about. It’s not about hatred towards gays or lesbians, blacks or whites, Buddhists or Jews. Christianity is a message about love for all. 

The incredibly sad thing about what these demonstrators are doing is that they have taken a message of love and used it as a vehicle for ideas wrought with discrimination and prejudice. From these protests, Christianity is being used as a platform to push through such ideals. In that process, it’s being misrepresented for those who practice it, those who are seeking it, and for those who are interested.

The best way to fight against these stinging words and vicious ideals is to refuse such blanket ideas at face value. To apply these hateful words to the entire faith is unfair both to Christian believers and to yourself. I urge you to look beyond these lies and try to understand for yourself what Christianity actually represents. 

I hope in doing so you’ll find, as I have for myself, that Christianity is a beautiful message that speaks and proclaims God’s abounding, comforting, merciful love to us all

Credit: Alec Druggan

LARK YAN is a College sophomore from Toledo, Ohio studying Health and Societies. Her email address is larkyan@sas.upenn.edu

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