While I think some conservatives over-hype the culture wars and seem overly obsessed with discrimination against Christians in the United States, it is also true that some liberals have downplayed and sometimes completely ignored such discrimination and especially persecution in certain places in the world. Scot McKnight reviews Rupert Shortt's book, Christianophobia: A Faith Under Attack. Scot rightly notes that such neglect reveals not a commitment to justice, but is rather an ideological posture. Scot writes,
Western liberals ought to know better, but for some reason they find Christianophobia — though they probably despise the term — predictable, more or less deserving, though they tip their hat to the injustices. If the same injustices were shown to Buddhists or Muslims they'd be up in arms. That, too, is an ideological posture rather than a genuine commitment to justice. Protest against the injustices against Christians has become, for many, politically incorrect. Sometimes there is the careless shrug, other times a suspicion that the story is hard to confirm (but who advertises their persecutions with reports blow by blow?), yet others the persecuted Christians are but the "detritus of empire", but far more often there is a tolerance waiting out the sad stories until something really grabs the attention of the major media.
Scot's entire review can be read here.
It's not an indifference to the injustice. It's the perception that 99% of folks don't understand that God doesn't take sides.
I'd use as an example a call today on another forum to make Islam illegal and to kill Muslims because of the violence in the middle east against Christians. Of course, I don't want Christians killed. Of course I'll support any effort to save Christians that doesn't harm Muslims. But the problem in our culture isn't that we don't love People Like Us enough. The problem is that our culture wants to kill People Who Are Not Like Us.
I agree with everything you say, and I have no doubt that you do care about justice for everyone, but it seems to me that the Muslim cultures where Christians are suffering violence are suffering from the same affliction of "we don't love people like us enough." And why is that not also worthy of attention?
And I do believe that there are some liberals (notice I said "some") who indeed minimize these stories (at least unconsciously) because it does not fit their narrative of reality. The national media went viral over the idiot pastor in Florida who burned the Koran (certainly a story to cover), but have ignored other more serious stories of Christians being persecuted against and being discriminated against.
As a case in point, when Gabby Giffords was shot, the media immediately assumed that he was some right-wing fundamentalist, when it turned out he was a left-winger. When the Muslim soldier shot up Fort Hood, the first thing the media did was to warn everyone not to rush to judgment on his motives.
In case of the latter, they were of course right, but they don't seem to follow the same wisdom when it comes to Christians.
but it seems to me that the Muslim cultures where Christians are suffering violence are suffering from the same affliction of "we don't love people like us enough." And why is that not also worthy of attention?
Absolutely. Except I really doubt it's your average person in an everyday situation. It's angry people and scared people in an exceptional situation.
So what I struggle with is, how do I as a Christian pastor living a comfortable life in The Empire, call for terrified and extremist Muslims in Syria and Egypt to stop harming my Christian brothers and sisters? That's a genuine question and not meant to rhetorically imply that Christians should not be protected.
It's the same problem I have as a female pastor preaching that God did not create women to be subservient to men. It's hard / impossible to do it credibly to those who disagree with me as they will inevitably write off my opinion as biased because I am a woman.
Maybe the best thing is simply to come to the aid and protection of our Christians brothers and sisters in whatever way possible. Action rather than words.
And sure, there are nasty extremist liberals of the "I'm always right" sort. I recently heard the term "Mean green liberals."
Yes, indeed. What do we say to Muslims who over the years have felt the brunt of a "Christian" empire? I am not sure we have anything to say, but I wasn't primarily thinking along those lines. I just think it is important that what is happening is made known to people in the West and I think some Christians and the media have been quite neglectful.
One of the reasons I think this needs to get out is because I think it does put the matter in a different light. American foreign policy has led to much suffering of Christians in that part of the world; and I know what you are going to say-- it has led to much suffering for Muslims et al. And yes, that is true. But I am wondering if there were knowledge of what has been happening to Christians in Iraq and now Egypt and Syria as a direct result of American foreign policy, perhaps the Christian hawks among us might... might... think twice.
American foreign policy has led to a lot of suffering - often of people who were previously our allies.
What is "the answer"? Depends on what the question is. Jesus' answer was to take on The Empire and to give up his life without a hint of bitterness or retribution. That's the Christian answer.
What "then answer" is in a world where we believe that force has to be used for justice, I have no idea.
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