Even before Trump was barely a glimmer in the eyes of the electorate, we’ve been selectivity outraged for years. A gorilla is killed in a zoo, outrage. A woman is offended by some man spreading, mysygonist--outrage. Some has been justifiable while others seem trivial. Even Christians have been called out for what they stand for and who they stand by.
The newest outrage stems from the Trump’s temporary ban on travel. We hear news headlines about “Muslim bans” which, if that were true, would be more than 7 countries. We hear stories about students and professors being held in airports until their paperwork is cleared. Cities across the country, my Columbus included, have been fighting back with new legislation to make them Sanctuary Cities. We are a nation of immigrants, they argue. Look at all the contributions from immigrants, they say too. All good points, and I’m not really here to affirm or debunk those stories.
But how are Christians to respond to these trying times? Should we be protesting Trump’s executive orders? Are our words enough? Surely a God grand enough to move mountains can change the hearts and minds of the unbelievers from one Facebook post too, right? One blog to unite them, one blog to lead.
But if I’m to speak up for the plight of immigrants as a Christian, and if I’m being called into action by those looking for the right Christian response, I have to ask, do you only want us around for your selective outrage?
You see, no one wants Christians around when we’re talking about abortion. We’re bigots and men, and how dare we try and tell a woman what to do. You want us to stay silent on Planned Parenthood because you say we don't care about newborn babies born into poverty. True, many of us (who call themselves Christian) wave gruesome picket signs with sometimes questionable graphics of aborted fetuses, and point to these displays as gross indignations. I agree. But if I am to stand with immigrants and refugees, why can’t I stand for the lives of the unborn? Surely all lives matter, right? Black ones, refugee ones, Muslim ones and American ones.
You want Christians to respond to the plight of those living in our country illegally (because we have laws, so I’m using the term illegal because that’s technically what they are), but you want us nowhere near schools. True, some will bring up old articles of teachers who went way past the point of showing the love of Christianity, but does one bad person spoil the rest? It seems that way in reference to Trump, right? Everyone who voted for him is a white supremacist, misogynist. You want no prayer and no indoctrination (so you call it) but suddenly I’m supposed to fight for someone’s right to enter my country. I have 28 second graders with all sorts of backgrounds. Maybe they are all Christian and maybe they aren't, but if I’m to teach them manners, getting along strategies, and anti-bullying techniques, where do you think those behaviors come from? Where can one learn about integrity, character, morals and loving your neighbor? Surely not in a vacuum. How am I to talk about the the Civil Rights Movement without really understanding the motivations of Martin Luther King Jr.? Imagine the dialogue I would have had with my 5th graders years ago debating MLK’s vision with that of Malcolm X.
You want us to stand for the plight of Syrians, but you washed your hands of us years ago when it comes to our popular culture. Organizations like One Million Moms is ridiculed for their stance on the type of entertainment that enters our homes. Sure, everyone can change the channel, which is always the favorite stone that’s thrown towards Christians, but does that mean we allow it? Speak out on raunchy, profane lyrics in music--you’re old fashioned and a hypocrite. You want tv shows to be held accountable for the violence and language they show every night--you’re a prude and how dare you judge me.
I’m supposed to cry foul of how we treat outsiders and foreigners, but don’t say anything about pornography. I’m sure you heard there was a huge collection of women who marched in several cities across the country. Essentially, they feel their rights will be stripped from them because of Trump’s rhetoric. They seem especially outraged about the words Trump uses. But where are they as their sons and husbands and fathers helped create a boom in sex trafficking and addiction from pornography? Where are the women protesting outside of Pornhub, the biggest online distributor of porn, for streaming free images of rape, child porn and incest fantasies?
My own history with immigration isn’t complicated. While my last name and the color of my skin tell people that I must vote and act a certain way, I don’t always see eye to eye. My own grandparents had family members who made the journey from Mexico. They worked hard, they payed their taxes, they learned English (okay, well, some of them). But they did it legally. What’s wrong with having that same process? We build walls around expensive neighborhoods, sporting events and restricted areas, but we don’t want one for the country. We deny a ban on travel from 7 countries, but no one seems up in arms about the 16 countries that do not allow entrance from those coming from Israel. I was proud of my Mexican heritage but I was also an American.
Christians are creatures of selective outrage too, and I fit into this category. I’m selective when I try and justify what I watch in my home or what I allow my kids to see and listen to. I know what God calls me to be as a husband, but I don’t always respond accordingly. I know what kind of worker I’m expected to be, not because of my principal’s orders or because of my contract, but because the Bible clearly outlines my response. I don’t always, I admit. But my family, and my church don’t need another convenient Christian, they need a Christian who can be one even when it’s inconvenient. Everyone wants that convenient Christian nowadays. Speak up when allowed, sit down and know your place otherwise.
Amid the outrages and protesting, I have been praying that I somehow can understand the differences in viewpoints. Hopefully when I get the chance to respond, I can listen. And hopefully the action requires me to step out of my comfort zone. In the meantime, I stand alone at the foot of the cross. Just me and God. Perhaps he will be outraged that I didn’t make one more twitter response at what’s happening in America.