Let there be peace on earth…

…but only if it looks like my version of what peace will be.

 

I fully admit to the fact I am one of those weirdos who starts Christmas music and preparing for the holiday season on November 1. It’s a magical time of year for me. I’m certain if there were to be some major investigation into it, it would be likely that it’s simply a defence mechanism for my seasonal affective stuff. Whatever the cause, for me, it’s about bringing a spark of magic back into my life.

 

This year has already been a strange one for me regarding the music though. It’s not possible for me to listen to the classic songs without noticing certain things about them.

 

Let There Be Peace on Earth is one such example. It has always been a favourite for multiple reasons. The aim of peace, the beauty of the song, the calmness and hope it presents. But this morning, as I heard it for the first time this season, I broke down in tears. This beautiful song that we sing every year, especially amongst Christians, is a lie.

 

In particular, modern American Christianity, with a strong focus on “White Evangelicalism”, doesn’t actually believe the words of this song. Sure, they say they do. They’ll sing it with great emphasis, declaring how sad it is that peace is a struggle in such an evil world.

 

But they don’t believe in peace. Not true peace, anyhow. If this were not evident before, the steps the United States has taken and the emphatic support of (most) white Evangelicals behind policy after policy that continues to dehumanize others has made it clearer than ever.

 

You see, the peace they proclaim to seek isn’t actually peace at all. Their peace means a number of things, none of which includes loving their brother for simply existing.

 

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Let There Be Peace on Earth
The peace that was meant to be

With God as our Father
Brothers all are we
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With ev’ry step I take
Let this be my solemn vow
To take each moment and live
Each moment in peace eternally
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me

 

Peace, by the definition of this group of white Evangelical Christianity, is really about total world domination and submission. Essentially, the definition of peace, to them, is fascism.

 

Yes, I see all of you who subscribe to the above label recoiling and getting angry. But I can’t really do anything about what actions translate to. What determines whether or not you fit into that group is whether or not you ascribe to the following beliefs of what will lead to peace:

  • That our governments subscribe to Christian beliefs, policies, and ideologies
  • That other religions, if they choose to continue to exist, agree to adhere to Christian beliefs, policies, and ideologies, and keep their own beliefs to themselves
  • That the world convert to Christianity
  • That the world accept Jesus
  • That “dirty immigrants” learn to stay within their own borders
  • The poor should stop being lazy and take care of themselves
  • LGBTQ+ people should stay silent about their existence and shouldn’t have rights because of our beliefs
  • It’s our job to try and force everyone to accept Jesus
  • It’s our job to tell them they are awful sinners destined for hell
  • The world is evil and will only ever be at peace if everyone accepts our beliefs as the true ones

 

I could go on, but I think the point is pretty clear. When people of colour, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and migrants fleeing horrible conditions are calling for equality, and members of the White Evangelical community respond by calling for war, by pushing them down further, by celebrating greater minimization of these groups, there is no pursuit of peace. Their version of Jesus’ love is conditional and limited to those who look, speak, think, and act like them. Their compassion limited by their desire to be the ruling power.

 

Their idea of freedom of religion is a world dictated by their beliefs, where they are free to discriminate based on horrible foundations that dehumanize.

 

As long as that is a focal point of modern Christianity, then peace on earth could never be achieved, least of all by Christians. For those who witness the harm created in the name of “love” that is fueled by hatred and dehumanization, of “lesserism”, will always fight back. The group of White Evangelicals who subscribe to these beliefs can never bring peace because their faith demands the erasure of all other beliefs and the submission of the world for it to be achieved.

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