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Author: John Pavlovitz

All good people should grieve when decency dies

Every day I meet professed Christians treating LGBT people like garbage and trying to convince me that God is making them do it. Whenever someone of character leaves this planet, the rest of us should mourn that loss, because the attrition leaves us all worse in its wake. As a tribe of connected people, we realize we are a bit lesser now, because those who have died have taken something precious with them to whatever lies beyond the last breath we take here: they have taken their specific humanity. Though there’s a great deal I vehemently disagreed with John...

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Taking a kneel fully exposed White America

Colin Kaepernick was right about us, white America. He was right to kneel because when he did, he fully exposed us. He exposed us as we became viscerally disgusted, not by the reckless disregard of black lives, but by the earnest and open declaration of black grief at their premature passing. He exposed us when we felt it was our right to tell another human being how to express their personal freedoms, during an anthem supposedly devoted to celebrating those personal freedoms. He exposed us when we treasured flags and songs over flesh and blood; when we repeatedly ignored...

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White people cannot be woke yet still remain silent

In my travels around this country lately, I meet lots of white progressives who fancy themselves woke. They feel this way, because they are now aware, perhaps for the first time, of the brutality of our Government, and just how infected with bigotry and supremacy it is. They are starting to become aware of the unearned privilege of their pigmentation; the countless advantages they’ve had, simply by showing up and being white. They are beginning to really listen to the stories of oppressed and vulnerable people, and facing the systemic illnesses that they benefit from and are unknowingly participants...

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Putting God in a Box: How Christians use faith to fuel their LGBT hate

Every day I meet professed Christians treating LGBT people like garbage and trying to convince me that God is making them do it. You can always tell when people of faith want to blame God for their homophobia and transphobia, because they suddenly become super-interested in literally applying the Bible to other people’s lives. When you confront them on their unbridled hatred and the viciousness with which they crusade — they claim that as “Bible-believers,” they have no choice in the matter. “Well,” they say with shrugged shoulders and feigned helplessness, “in God’s Word, it does say, ‘a man...

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What it means to be called a Christian and who doesn’t qualify

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” — Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride. The first Christians didn’t call themselves “Christians.” It wasn’t some congratulatory self-identifier as it is today; a way of loudly trumpeting one’s own supposed goodness, quickly slapped on Twitter bios and bumper stickers and t-shirts without forethought or personal cost or empirical evidence. It wasn’t about a place you visited for an hour on Sunday before Cracker Barrel, either. The term Christian was originally a designation of the community of people following Jesus, by those outside of...

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Red Hats are the new White Hoods

Bigotry has always done more damage in the shadows, below the surface, and beneath a disguise. It actually helps you when it shows itself, when it brazenly parades uncovered through your streets, when it announces itself in unapologetic social media rants—when it crowns itself in crimson and joyfully spews forth venom. Our nation’s hatred used to hide behind white hoods, peering through tiny scissor-cut eye holes—and that made it difficult to identify and a challenge to confront. It stayed below the radar, cleverly concealing itself in decorum and civility and pretending. You always knew it was in the neighborhood,...

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