A Baptist pastor has said that Americans divided by politics and theology need to admit that they simply hate one another.
Mike Leake, Lead Pastor of First Baptist Church of Marionville, MO, noted on his blog earlier this week that there is an ever-increasing list of things that seem to deeply divide Americans.
"Are you a Democrat? A Republican? Something in between? Are you a Calvinist? An Arminian? Or some hybrid of both of them? Are you a social justice warrior? Are you one who believes social justice issues are going a bit too far? Or are you confused and not really sure where you belong?" he asked.
"Do you wear Nike or burn them?" he added, referring to the latest controversy surrounding NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling instead of standing for the U.S. anthem to protest police shootings of unarmed black men.
Leake noted that Americans are divided both on things that matter, as well as on "trifling nonsense."
"In our day and age it doesn't matter much — pick a side, be outraged by something," he continued.
He argued that in truth, what this all means is that "we hate one another."
The pastor then pointed to Proverbs 10:12 in the Bible, which reads: "Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs."
Reflecting also on the commentary of other Christian writers, namely Charles Bridges, Leake warned that such hatred continues to find faults in others, to stoke the flames, and view others in the worst possible light.
"Let's just be honest and confess that our fruits are evidence that we hate one another. I know as Christians we don't like to admit that because we know hatred isn't one of the fruits of the spirit. And I know that we've got a tendency to try to mask it as something else like righteous indignation and fighting for the truth," the First Baptist Church of Marionville pastor wrote.
"But we aren't going to be healed of trying to bring in the kingdom through rage, if we don't admit what is actually going on in our hearts. And let's admit that this isn't okay for us as believers in Jesus. And let's come to Christ for the covering and redemption He provides and set out again to truly love our neighbors."
He said that faith in the sovereignty and justice of God can help people choose love over hate, even when engaging in arguments.
"I'm convinced that we truly hate one another. And maybe we hate one another because we've forgotten the Gospel. We've forgotten how much Jesus has covered us. And we've forgotten that the Cross also means that God is absolutely just," he concluded.
"We don't have to fight with ungodly weapons to preserve our cherished positions. We are free to love."
Studies, such as one conducted by Barna in 2017, found that Americans, including Christians, are indeed becoming more divided on politics and social beliefs, especially in the wake of the 2016 presidential election.
Barna positioned that issues like pro-life matters, environmentalism, support for the Black Lives Matter or LGBT rights movements are just some of the big topics that increasingly divide the nation's five "faith tribes." Those were identified as evangelical Christians, non-evangelical born again Christians, notional Christians, adherents of non-Christian faiths, and religious skeptics.
A Pew Research Center report released last month identified seven religious types in the U.S.: "Sunday Stalwarts," "God-and-Country Believers," "Diversely Devout," "Relaxed Religious," "Spiritually Awake," "Religion Resisters," and "Solidly Secular."