Ana Marie Cox, the columnist for the Daily Beast and known for her liberal punditry, has come out as a Christian.
Not that it’s any of my business — or anyone else’s, for that matter — to render judgment on her personal beliefs, but I think it says something about our discourse today that people feel they either have to hide their faith or their lack of it for fear of being held up to someone else’s standard of just how holy they are.
My hesitancy to flaunt my faith has nothing to do with fear of judgment by non-believers. My mother was an angry, agnostic ex-Baptist; my father is a casual atheist. (I asked him once why he didn’t believe in God, and he replied easily, “Because He doesn’t exist.”)
I am not smart enough to argue with those that cling to disbelief. Centuries of philosophers have made better arguments than I could, and I am comfortable with just pointing in their direction if an acquaintance insists, “If there is a God, then why [insert atrocity]?” For me, belief didn’t come after I had the answer to that question. Belief came when I stopped needing the answer.
No, I’m nervous to come out as a Christian because I worry I’m not good enough of one. I’m not scared that non-believers will make me feel an outcast. I’m scared that Christians will.
That’s because a large segment of our political world has decided that being “Christian” is different than being a Christian. Barack Obama says he’s a Christian, but he’s not “Christian” enough for those who need another reason to hate him because of, oh, some other reason. Those are the professional “Christians” who have trouble with those Christians who accept marriage equality in their churches or meeting houses, who believe women have the right to control their bodies, who welcome strangers to a strange land, and who believe that taking care of the planet is part of the life we have going here.
I have a feeling Ms. Cox will be welcomed in liberal circles a lot more than she will in the ones that demand she prove she’s really a “Christian.”