You know, I love riding my Harley, especially to bike rallies. For just about every American biker out there, the ultimate destination is Sturgis, South Dakota for the rally of all rallies. My wife and I rode up to Sturgis this past weekend. Now before any bikers call me out on it let me say this, we did indeed go to Sturgis; we rode to Sturgis, Mississippi for the Sturgis South Rally. For one very hot weekend in August this sleepy little town in Northern Mississippi grows from a population of about 300 to a population of about 10,000 or more. I had said a couple of years ago I would never go to this rally because it is billed as a "family friendly" event; anybody who knows me just the slightest bit knows how I feel about bike rallies and "family friendly" ain't it.
The reason my wife and I rode up is because we have friends that live up in that area and a close friend of mine was riding up from the coast to see us up there. Saturday was almost unbearably hot and humid in Sturgis and with no beer for sale (dry towns and counties abound in Mississippi) I thought I was going to die. Looking around it seemed as if everybody and their brother was clamoring to proclaim their Christianity to the world...and some of those folks scared me. I am usually afraid of self-proclaimed Christians because their actions are almost always anything but Christian. That and their smug, holier-than-thou attitude just puts me off and turns me against them.
Something happened this Saturday, however, and I feel like you need to know this. On that hot, muggy, miserable Saturday were two Christian churches, one on either side of town, handing out free, ice-cold water to every passer-by...all day long. Not a one of them had that attitude I so detest, even though each bottle of water came with their own propaganda leaflet describing the virtues of Christianity. I watched as people took the water and openly threw away the literature...and nobody from either church had a cross-word to say about that...if they were upset you wouldn't know it. My attitude towards Christians started to change a little that day; I mean here they were, sweating and sweltering, handing out what had to be close to thousands of dollars worth of water to everybody and anybody and NOT preaching!
It was the same with the CMA (Christian Motorcycle Association); they were serving up free water and free Gatorade to everybody and NOT preaching! This is where our friends were; they are members of the CMA and are active in their community, not active as in preaching but active as in prison ministry, donating time, money, food, water and anything else they can think of that will help someone else. All I could do Saturday was stand there and marvel at the capacity for caring these Christians possessed...I started thinking, "Not all Christians are hypocrites or smug jerk-offs!" By the time we left on Sunday on our bikes, my attitude had done an almost-180 towards Christians and Christianity in general.
Then I met someone who brought me crashing back to reality. I didn't meet this person face-to-face, though. No, I met this person by reading their diatribe criticizing and ridiculing another very close friend of mine's views. My "brutha from anotha mutha", IronHorseCowboy, writes a blog titled, "The View From Downrange. We don't always agree on political viewpoints but we do hold so many identical beliefs that you wouldn't know we disagreed in politics. My friend wrote a piece concerning the Bible and the lack of physical evidence to prove its supposed veracity, particularly in the Old Testament. I read his piece and agree with what he wrote. The Bible is merely man's interpretation of historical events and not a solid book of law we must interpret literally.
My attention was directed toward comments made by one of his in-laws that changed my attitude back to its cynical snideness to self-styled "Christians". This pompous waste of space insulted my friend's law enforcement experience and excoriated him over his views of the veracity of claims in the Old Testament. This idiot offered no real rebuttal with solid facts; no, he took the road most conservatives criticize liberals for, focusing on conjecture and baseless opinion combined with insults for anyone who disagrees with their smug know-it-allness.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, yes, and everyone is entitled to voice their opinion. However, NOBODY has the innate right to belittle, shout down, or harangue people who disagree with their opinion. I do not like this person, not one bit...and I think if I ever met him I would probably punch him in the nose...even though I know I'd probably go to jail or be sued for it because this guy does NOT "turn the other cheek", as his idol, Jesus, preached.