Modern Day Pharisees. What is a modern day Pharisse? Who are they? They are becoming more prominent and more of a problem. You will see them protesting outside of concerts, different movies, holidays or at funerals. There are different groups like this one or as well known as the Westboro Baptist Church. They are here, they exist, and of course they are giving Christianity a very bad name.
I’m Catholic, I’m Christian. I believe in God, I love God, and yes, I do read the bible. I go to mass every Sunday (unless I’m sick) and I try to pray as often as possible. I’m not perfect, I don’t know everything. But I can recognize right from wrong. These people- they are wrong.
Recently on the UT campus we have had for 2 days these Pharisees were on campus. Now while I was at UTC we had people reading from the bible, they were just talking about the end of the world, but as far as I was aware, they were not targeting, pointing, or yelling at specific people. They were just basically saying that we needed to all turn to God and love God.
Not everyone would like it, but hey, it wasn’t hateful.
This however was.
The first day I was really angry. I mean, I felt my blood boiling, and I wanted to fight this jerk. He was being extremely hateful! He called all of us sinners and said that we are all children of the devil. He kept saying he was perfect, and without sin because everyday he consciously chose not to sin. He basically told someone of the Muslim faith that all Muslims were going to hell. He told women to stop wearing tight pants, put on long dresses , get back to the kitchen, and be subservient to men. He also told another women to be quiet and stop preaching bible verse at him, saying it wasn’t her place. That she needs to be quiet.
Yeah, I was angry.
I decided against saying anything or doing anything. With people like him, they won’t listen. They want a fight, they want an argument. Also I was angry, extremely angry. Rather I set the alert to different groups on facebook that are UT orientated, that way students can avoid this hateful man. I got a lot of interesting comments back. One of them, made me think and stuck with me.
The next day, they were back. Most students ignored them, many were getting into arguments with them. I personally knew that arguments would be futile. They live for this stuff, they want people to argue with them. They want to make you angry. They honestly believe they are doing the Lord’s work when they are making you angry.
At first I wasn’t going to say anything or do anything. In fact I didn’t want to. Why?
I don’t like public speaking. I don’t like speaking in front of others, especially strangers. I hate confrontations and angry debates. I don’t like drawing attention to myself in this manner. I prefer to be hidden by a computer screen and write on my blog about it. Even than, I don’t like talking about myself, I don’t like putting myself out there.
So, what changed my mind. Two people and a bible verse. The first was an African-american man. I don’t remember what promoted me to but I eventually shared the verse with him. He said that someone should share this with him and see what he says. It clicked at that moment. I should try to share it with him. I also noticed another individual. I believe they were transgender ( if they were not and they are reading this, I apologize, I don’t like to make assumptions, I’m just going of what Little I know) . I was struck by how sad and upset this individual seemed to be, the more that person sat there, the more I could feel her/himself (?) feeling smaller. That made me angry and upset. I asked the individual to please watch my backpack for me for a moment.
I went up to the pharisee, there was a little brick wall he was standing on. He was taking questions and I of course was originally thinking of asking him to read the verse out loud rather than read it myself. I raised my hand (how degraded I felt in that moment, as though I was a child asking for permission to be heard). He kept ignoring me, despite others who noticed my looks of help try to convince him to hear me out. At a certain point I realized I wasn’t going to be called on.
I did the one thing I was really afraid of doing, I got up on the brick wall right next to him. I was next to another girl, who had been confronting him and his hateful ways. She gave me a smile of encouragement and pride. It helped a lot. I don’t know her name, but thank you. It really helped me.
I had my phone with the verse on it ready to go. All I knew I was going to read this verse and hope that God would help me from here. I wasn’t going to be rude and interrupt him, I let him finish and I began:
1 John 2:9
“Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness.”
That’s all I said and I looked at him during the last phrase. Some didn’t get it, others clapped at what I said. I saw the expression on his face, he was in shock. I don’t believe anyone has used that verse as a counter argument to him before. I actually felt the feelings of hatred and anger stop. He was dumbfounded.
He recovered quickly though from his moment of shock. He said that yes and I should stop being hateful towards him. I said to him, I don’t hate you. I love you, cause God asks me to. I feel sorry for you. For you are an angry man and you are spreading nothing but hate.
He begins to flip through his book. Asked me if I was a Christian and I said Yes and i sin all the time. I sin and I don’t judge others that sin. Why? For I am not perfect. Who am I to Judge? While he is continuing to look, a nice individual offered me a whole plate of cookies for what I just said. I only took one. ( Thank you by the way if you know who you are, I appreciated the cookie). The Pharisee began quoting Leviticus and how I should be respectful toward men, saying how a women should be modest etc. He than looks at me, and I said to him and to the crowd (wearing my boot cut jeans, a sweatshirt, and a baseball cap) I look pretty modest, everything is covered. But even if I was not,even if I was wearing just a bra, I am a human being, a child of God and I should still be treated with respect.
At this point he starts rambling on about how I shouldn’t be preaching to him. That I need to be quiet for he was the boss. I was about to open my mouth and he said “SILENCE WOMAN!” He got in my face, yelling this at me. If there is one way to really piss me off, is to use the phrase woman in a derogatory manner. I responded, “I will not be silenced you are not my boss. God is my boss. At the end of the day, he is the one I have to answer to, not you.” To sum up what he said next, he said women should be seen not heard. Women are and should be subservient to men.
I got off the wall at this point. I wasn’t done I was beginning. What about Mary, the prostitues, and the other women disciples, those that were with him at his death. They came to him to learn from him.
The Pharisee than has the gall to say yes they did, but they didn’t ask questions. I heard some people shouting. How do you know? Were you there? I said (as far as I can remember), “What? How do you know? When you want to learn, when you thirst for knowledge you ask questions! Jesus would not have treated them with disrespect!”
He than tries to drown me out say we are all children of the devil. And I said No, we are made in the image and likeness of God. God is love. He loves us. He believes in us. He finds all of us worthy, even if we don’t believe it ourselves. Love is opposite of hate. The devil is hate and you sir are spewing hate. You are a disgrace and disgusting and I am done with you.
Needless to say I got my backpack and said wish the individual who had been watching my backpack a good day. I even ran into some fellow Catholics who gave ma a high five and hoped they would see me soon. I left and went to class. I had an exam to study for soon. I won’t lie, I felt on top of the world at this moment. I stood up to a hateful man, threw him off his game for a little bit and I hoped that maybe others would see that not all Christians are hateful. That God doesn’t hate them.
Some of the events of the speech may be slightly out of order and I’m paraphrasing for I know some of the things I said, but I don’t fully remember everything I said, just the major points. So please forgive and know I am not trying to come across better than I am. I’m going on memory at this point.
I’m not a scholar, a nun, a minister, or one who has studied the bible with a fine tooth comb. I’m just a young women who was angry at how he was spewing hate in Jesus’ name. It was honestly thanks to that one person on facebook that put up that quote. It was thanks to my mom who listened to me when I was seeing red and encouraged me not to confront him while angry. It was thanks to the fellow Catholics and Christians I had met, it was good to see people unite against such injustice. It was thanks to the man who said someone should share the phrase. It was thanks to that one individual with the sad eyes and the hurt written on their face. It was thanks to the girl that smiled at me with encouragement. Thanks to the guy who gave me the cookie, that was a nice gift. And it was thanks to God that I did that, for I don’t like speaking in public and I don’t like confrontation of any kind.
Don’t let the Pharisees anger and hate seep into your heart. Rather feel sorry for them, for them to have so much hate in their heart they can do nothing but share it. That is something to be pitied indeed. Pray for them, that they becoming more loving in their ways. Also in the meantime don’t let them get away with what they are saying, stand up for people, use the bible. Use versus like the one posted, don’t shout angry words at them. Don’t provoke them. Just question what they say. Yes they will be angry no matter what, but your hands will be clean. You won’t look like you are the bad guy. Rather than aggravating the situation with pointless shouting like “You suck”, “We hate you”, or “We love satan” just to get him all riled up. And for goodness sakes, stay calm about it, don’t get angry. I know I did (again, not perfect), still it helps if you don’t get angry and show that anger to them. They want you to be angry. They feed off that anger. That is why I left before I became extremely angry.
Also please remember these Pharisees, they do not represent all Christians. They twist the bible so they can interpret it the way they want to and use it as an excuse to be hate filled individuals.