I am perfectly comfortable with accepting the fact that I shall leave the planet knowing not really all that much more than I did when I got here. I mean, I can do a little math and run a washing machine and proofread a legal brief and train a dog. I can drive a car and make a grilled cheese sandwich and catch a baseball and make puns until someone begs me to stop. I can do stuff and make stuff and think stuff and learn about how others have done stuff and made stuff and thought stuff, and even with my best and most sustained efforts, I know that I can never know as much as I'd like to know. That's OK; we're all here on a limited one-time-only engagement, so I understand my parameters.

But there's something I'd really like to understand before I go, because it's something I have a lot of trouble wrapping my mind around: how "good people," in particular those who align themselves with the Christian faith and the Bible, can stand by and say and do nothing while other "good Christians" use the Bible to justify discrimination and hatred towards other human beings, whether by direct action or by the manipulation of laws.

I understand that the Bible is interpreted in many different ways. God can be a Groovy God, who loves all people no matter what. God can be a Situationally-Groovy God, where he digs you if you don't murder people or eat meat on Fridays, but if you do he might deny you gate access and send you down to to the Lucifer Lounge if you don't do a major repent pitch. And then there's the God Who Hates Everyone, who finds everyone just totally lacking, filthy sinners who should be DAMN GRATEFUL he doesn't smite everyone RIGHT DAMN NOW. But which one is the right Bible interpretation? After all, you cannot "sort of" be a Christian. If you are a Christian, you have to totally buy that there is a God and that Jesus Christ was his son and died to save you. You believe that the Bible is the sacred word of God, and that if you don't follow the word of God, he will be mad at you, and possibly All Mankind, too. The Bible also says all sorts of other things about not judging people and showing kindness to those in need.

How do Christians, most of whom are probably decent folks and not soulless sociopaths, allow their faith to be hijacked by racists, homophobes, and misogynists? How? How do you not stand together, bound by your values given to you by your faith, to protect the dignity and rights of ALL humans, even those who may be of a different race, culture, gender, religion, or sexual orientation? How can you sit there and identify as a Christian, believing that God gave you this world as a tremendous gift, and allow searing hatred to flourish in his name? There are over 2 billion of you in this world -- quite a powerful number. Yet where are the united voices screaming against protecting pedophiles in the Catholic Church, against fundamentalists who screw with the United States Constitution to make sure that no woman can access safe reproductive services or earn a fair wage, or against consigning the LGBT community to lifetimes of scorn, shame, and scraping for the same legal rights as those folks who happened to have been born heterosexual?

It's not good enough that you say, "well, that's not how I feel, that's not how I feel God is for me, I don't think Jesus would have done that," etc. It's just not. Those who use the Bible as an excuse for sheer hatred are representing ALL Christians in the world, unless their views are no longer accepted as legitimate expressions of the Bible's tenets and their influence and power are removed. You can't sit there and shake your head and say tsk tsk when because of the very concentrated, gun-sight focus of a few, millions of others suffer. As a Christian, aren't you supposed to stand up for your beliefs? Why don't you?

To stand by and do nothing? How do you do it? How do so many of you accept this? What should I take from your tacit acceptance of the narrow-mindedness and bullying that goes on in the name of YOUR religion? That you are too lazy to bother to do something? That you feel it would be hopeless to try to change anything? That you, more or less, agree with the vitriol? Are you afraid you might be booted out of "the club" if you say anything, and you are afraid you will lose friends, community, family? Do you think it's OK as long as it doesn't affect you directly? Or do you just not think about your role as a Christian at all? What should I think about Christians and Christianity in the end, when I see no major leaders coming forth to guide people in love and kindness, only hate and bitterness? What lessons do I learn when I see 9-yr.-old Josef Miles, who had the bravery to stand up to the Westboro Baptist Church, yet no one else stands with him?

Maybe I understand after all, and maybe I wish I didn't.