I was raised Lutheran. I went to church nearly every Sunday growing up. Sang in the Youth choir. Participated in Youth Group. It was almost without exception, a positive experience.
It’s an experience my kids do not share. We maybe attend once a month at a non-denominational Unitarian Church. Even so, I still nominally consider myself Christian. There is a great deal about the faith that appeals to me. I sometimes question the existence of Jesus Christ the Son of God, but I remain pretty sure there was a Nazarene preacher named Yeshua who spoke some awesome and revolutionary truths about how we should treat each other and the type of people we should aspire to be.
I feel extremely confident saying that guy would be appalled at the people who pretend to speak on his behalf 20 centuries later.
If anyone ever asked me why my faith had waned, or why I no longer attended a Christian church, I could scarcely do better than direct that person to this interview. Amid all the grotesqueries therein, this one in particular stood out:
A poor person never gave anyone a job. A poor person never gave anybody charity, not of any real volume. It’s just common sense to me.
Among the many memories I have from my regular church attendance growing up, a handful of Pastor D’s sermons made an impression and remain with me. One in particular, given around the time Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart were having their very un-Christlike behavior become known, was a fiery denunciation of what the Bible calls false prophets.
I have no idea what ever became of Pastor D. He left our church in my 11th grade year. I have no idea how the years may have changed him, or what he thinks today of the younger Falwell.
But I know what the guy I heard preach so often would think. That guy would hold him with the same contempt he had for those other false prophets some 30 years ago. Which probably goes a long way in explaining why I do too.