What would Jesus say to Bill Maher? Recently after Pope Francis implored us not to insult other people’s religions, Bill Maher responded during his show by saying, “He’s dead to me now. Oh yeah, F*** the Pope.” Bill Maher hates the Catholic Church but he hates all religion and is vocal about it. I think Jesus would bless him and pray for him. Part of me wants to punch him in the face – the old self – but the better angels of my nature wants to just say to people filled with such hate and bitterness, “What makes you hate so much? And why do you think that your speech makes you funny?”
Christians are under attack in Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Kenya, and many other places around the world. In some ways even here in the U.S. In some places it is reaching the level of genocide. Like the holocaust our government is almost silent about what is happening. Here is the truth of history. Christians are often at their best when they are persecuted because we learn to respond more like Jesus.
On Good Friday Jesus didn’t just die for Christians. He died for the world. He died for the message, “For God so loved THE WORLD, that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Jesus told us there are two things we are called to do, love God and love people. We don’t love some and hate others. We don’t bless the people we agree with and hate the rest. When we are confronted with hate we must love. We don’t need armies to do this we need courage.
Jesus didn’t curse the people executing him, he prayed, “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.” We have a mission as Christians – today we need to confess that we have often failed in that mission. We need to be down on our knees and offer a confession to God and say that we have often failed in displaying the love we ought to be showing the world. We have failed to stand up for the oppressed and marginalized. We need to be more like Jesus. We need to stand in solidarity with our Christian brothers and sisters who are being killed, persecuted, and made refugees by conflict. We need to advocate that our government take steps to protect and defend Christians who face genocide in many parts of the world today. More than ever we need to be on mission.
Oh, and I’d tell everyone to send Bill Maher an Easter card and wish him God’s blessings.