“If you believe in angels, send this message on. Please don’t ignore it. You are being tested.”
“So re-post this, remember God saw you read this.”
“If you believe in God, drop everything and pass this on.”
“This is a test. Does God come first? If so stop what your doing right now and repost. Watch what happens.”
What won’t happen is my sharing these comments. What will happen, my dear Facebook friend, is that I may defriend you if you don’t stop with your unending demands that I re-post my love for God or Jesus or angels. But first, maybe I’ll demand something of you: Take a class in spelling and grammar.
Once the presidential election ended, I thought life on Facebook would be better. Sometimes I can be so, so wrong.
But at least the Obama sucks/Romney bites ranters didn’t constantly ask that I share and repost and demonstrate my feelings about whatever issue my too-much-time-on-their-hands Facebook pals had latched onto. And lately they seem fixated on religion.
Now I don’t mind expressions of religious belief. What bugs me is the implied coercion of these repost-this, share-that messages. As if my refusal to continue the message bespeaks a turning-away from God or Jesus or angels.
Hints a bit too much of intolerance, I fear. And one has only to recall various moments in history to understand the danger of this seemingly innocuous request. Salem witch trials. Nazi Germany. The McCarthy hearings, where one not only had to deny any sympathies for Communism but also to turn in suspected “subversives.”
I can hear the posters of such items saying: That’s definitely not who we are. We’re only sharing our love of God, only reminding you of his bounty and blessings, only hoping this post will awaken spiritual thoughts in your work-addled brain. In other words, as one post said: “Share and inspire others.”
A worthy goal. We can all use some inspiration. But still, still. On such a public forum, does my lack of reposting said items means their original posters — and others — will judge me, will mark me down on the list of the damned?
God help me now.
Instead of posting endless social media versions of the “honk if you love Jesus” request, these rather demanding Facebook proselytizers, I suggest, might instead truly live their faith, letting their actions speak for their love of God. Step away from the computer and go do good works.
Actions do speak louder than words. And my words here, a cranky complaint, serve as a call to action for me, too. To forgive. To help. To love.
But not to repost, not to share a facile Facebook message. Faith demands so much more.
Carol Schaal is managing editor of Notre Dame Magazine. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.