When it comes to hateful Internet speech, Christians are the worst. That's the headline of an article by Washington Post columnist and OnFaith founder Sally Quinn. If the headline didn't get your attention, the teaser for the op-ed might. It reads: “Thanks to horrible Christian comments online, I realized there's a big difference between being Christian and following Jesus.”
“The first hate emails I received were horrible. They did not just attack what I wrote—which was usually about spirituality more than religion—but were also vicious ad hominem attacks. I can't tell you how many people wrote in to say that I was a whore and a slut and so much worse that I can't even write it here,” Quinn writes.
“And these all came from Christians. I was going to hell. I had made a pact with the devil. Jesus and God hated me. One man wrote that he hoped I would get in a car accident, that the gas tank would explode and I would be burned alive. He was a God-fearing Christian, and he ascertained that I obviously was not one.”
I couldn't agree more. It seems Quinn and I share a similar experience: hatred spewing from the keyboards of commenters who claim to be Christians. I can't judge anyone's salvation from a comment board, but I can attest to the vile vitriol that plagues my inbox, my Facebook page, and many of my articles.
Although many of the comments are coming from atheists and radical gay activists who want me to shut up, a startling number of nasty emails and comments come from people who call themselves Christians. I've received the same types of feedback from Christians that Quinn has, attacking the way I look, suggesting God was going to slam the gates of heaven in my face, condemning me to hell, and the list goes on.
Just this past weekend, a man on my Facebook page went on a rant because I dared to suggest that there is hope for America. Making it known that he was trying to “rebuke me as gently as possible,” this so-called “watchman” wrote:
“If you claim to be a prophet and you are telling American Christians that there is still hope for this country, you are a false prophet. The Lord has not spoken to you, or you have not been able to hear what He is saying. The true prophets of God know that for the last twenty years (at least) the only hope for anyone in this country was for their own salvation and perhaps they could even dare to have hope for their life. The nation has been under assured judgment—judgment that has already “gone out”—judgment that cannot be reversed. NOT because America's wickedness is so great—although it is, but because this is what the LORD has SAID to those who are willing and able to hear. To continue to offer hope in the name of the Lord for America's survival is to do more than just miss it, it is evil and a sure sign of a false prophet and a deceiver. Repent of your self-aggrandizing soulish 'prophecies.' Perhaps the Lord will have mercy on you.”
I've decided to do what Quinn does and not read the comments. (So if you are planning to send me a nasty email, save your time. I'm not going to read it.) Sure, I accidentally stumble upon some of the nasty slime now and again, but overall I hit the “delete” button. The late Steve Hill counseled me not to allow the enemy to plant those seeds in my soul and to continue charging forward in the name of Jesus, and that's just what I'm doing.
I can only draw the same conclusion that Quinn did: “I began to see that there is a big difference between being Christian and following the teachings of Jesus. In fact, sometimes those two things can be polar opposites. Our Christian haters clearly paid little attention to Jesus.” Amen.