Close-minded Christians give Christianity a bad reputation

I was waiting for my ride to the University of Southern California game. Two young men approached me and asked if I had a minute to chat. After two years on the campus, I could tell that they were among the many trying to save my soul. Of course, it's tou gh for them, because I am a Jew and plan on staying that way.

They politely asked my opinion of the ads in the Wildcat on National Coming Out Day. These ads told the story of a former gay man and a former lesbian who had found Jesus Christ and then found each other and married. I diplomatically held back and told them that I did not appreciate the ads.

After that shaky moment, we moved on to our views of the Messiah and differing accounts of Biblical passages. Although my Biblical knowledge is limited, our fascinating discussion continued for about 20 minutes. It's too bad there aren't more of those kin d of guys out there. Instead, so many feign adherence to Jesus' principles while betraying his true ideals.

Many Christian groups have resorted to harassment as a means of spreading their gospel. I have a friend who, after filling out a survey of religious beliefs, was awakened every Sunday morning for two months with a call to come to church. No matter how you slice it, that's harassment.

Of course, this type of treatment is not typical of all Christians. My girlfriend, my roommate, all but one of my closest friends, and my grandparents are all Christians. We have no problems, because we respect each other for who we are. However, there ar e many Christians out there who would like to tell me that I am not worth the air I breathe because I have not accepted Jesus Christ as my savior. Many Christians, with their close-mindedness, have perverted the ideals of their own faith and have earned a bad reputation.

There is a group of fanatics out there calling themselves the Phineas Priesthood. They are a militant group of "Christians" dedicated to the creation of an all-white Christian nation. One of the leaders was recently interviewed on the "CBS Evening News" and he outlined his plan to return all people of color to their countries of origin while eliminating all Jews and gays. I wonder what color he thinks the original Christians were.

This nutcase was likening his group to holy crusaders on a mission to restore the values of Christianity. He even went so far as to say that he and his cohorts are at war, and that killing is mandated in any war. His "Christian" beliefs included assassina ting political figures, murdering abortion doctors and destroying the government.

If these are now Christian ideals, Christians should be ashamed of themselves. Jesus says that the second greatest commandment is "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," (Leviticus 19:18). Apparently this is only as long as the neighbor isn't gay or bl ack or anything gross like that.

Before the Bill of Rights, there was another 10-spot of important laws. They were called the Ten Commandments and, the last time I checked, they were pretty well set in stone. "Thou shalt not kill," was one of them, but that only applies when it's not an abortion doctor or a convicted criminal. "Thou shalt not steal," but it's OK if you need the money to fund acts of terrorism. Yeah, those Ten Commandments have really held up well.

There are so many good Christians who uphold Jesus' teachings faithfully, trying to help the poor and spread the gospel. Unfortunately, the most vocal are the fanatics over at the Christian Coalition who want to cleanse the country of its impurities by de stroying its diversity. These "Christians," who supposedly represent the Christian belief system, distort the gospel of Jesus to justify their close-minded attitudes. If Jesus came along today, these Christians would probably be the first to cast stones a t his revolutionary thinking.

I imagine Jesus would be disgusted by the ways some Christians twist his teachings. Jesus was a man of great love, and some of his followers tarnish his memory through hatred and violence. I ask all Christians to open their minds and their hearts, and tr uly honor Jesus.

Jamie Kanter is a Spanish and psychology junior. His column, 'On the flip Side,' appears every other Thursday.