Do We Have a Victim Mentality?
It is easier for us to define what we believe when we can identify what we are against. Once
we know what we are against it we can figure out who we are against. We create an
environment where it is "us versus them". We conflate the thing that we are against with the
people who do the thing we are against. We create our own enemies, and it is natural to think
that our enemies want to further their own agenda by destroying ours.
Maybe there is some sort of personal need to feel like martyrs because we want to think that
we would die for our faith. Corporately, though, as comfortable North American Christians we
are not persecuted. Some like to think that if another group gets equal rights our right are
being eroded. American Christianity is in love with the idea of being a victim. There are a
couple things I have noticed that keep coming up.
“The Gay Agenda”
In Alberta, there is currently a controversy over gay straight alliances. They are a group for
gay students to escape the bullying that they experience in school. It is a way for straight
students to stand with their gay friends. Naturally, because it involves homosexuality,
Christians perceive it as a threat. Some speculate that it is part of a plan to convert our
children to homosexuality.
We hear from conservative media all the time about the 'gay agenda'. I can only speculate
about what people mean when they use the word. Maybe some think it is ruining Christianity
and it’s intent is to recruit straight people into a gay lifestyle. Maybe the gay agenda is making
gay marriage acceptable to the masses and convincing Christians that homosexuality is fine.
Some people even think that it is the intention of gay rights supporters to make straight
marriage illegal. As if that would be possible.
In reality, what gay people want is basic, civil rights. It does not threaten our rights in any way
to give a another group of individuals the ability to live their lives without fear, as we do. To be
able to order a cake without being discriminated against. Kimberly Knight has a great blog
post about how equal rights for LGBT people are not last rites for Christians.
We still own our own value system even if other people are allowed to do the same things we
do. Just because they can get married doesn't mean that our marriages now mean less than
they did before. Let’s be honest here, it isn't persecution to allow two people to pledge their
lives to each other no matter how much we may think it is wrong. It doesn’t harm us in any
way if gay people are represented on television.
Don't misunderstand me, I agree with someone like Philip Yancey when he affirms the people
in the LGBT community but doesn't affirm their lifestyle. Yes, I think that homosexuality is
wrong in the sense that it is not what God intended. I can't say that, however, without
mentioning that I am positive I myself am not living my life as God intended I think that our
only job is to show God’s love and grace until we, through relationship, are able to speak into
the lives of gay people. I strongly believe that it is only God himself that can convict people of
“Fit in or !*%# Off”
Apparently allowing immigrants into ‘our’ country and letting them practice their own religion is
unacceptable. Of course, this is only the case if 1. we believe that it is only “our” country, not
God’s and 2. We think that they are taking over and “not fitting in”. That all the muslims that
move here are going to take over parliament and institute sharia law. It seems outrageous but
we all know of people that believe it is going to happen. I do not doubt for a minute that there
are certain groups of people (not all) that would like it to happen, but that is not the point I am
trying to make. The point is that Christians tend to think that our way of life is damaged by
letting others practice their way of life.
For example, Fox News has reported that there are “No go zones” in France and even the
United States. There is even a facebook post going around now that claims there are no go
zones in the UK too. Snopes.com doesn’t think so. A No go zone is a muslim controlled area
where sharia law is in effect. This is the type of sensationalist, sky is falling media coverage
that amplifies the uneasiness that people feel.
The facebook post also claims that Canada is instituting Muslim prayer in schools. It
conveniently leaves out that it is optional. It reads, “Now Islamic prayers have been introduced
in Toronto and other public schools in Ontario, and, yes, in Ottawa, too, while the Lord's
Prayer was removed (due to being so offensive?).” It continues to claim that islamic
extremism is the next step. “The Islamic way may be peaceful for the time being in our
country until the fanatics move in.” They must be referring to a school in Ontario that opened
a Nslim prayer room. As for it happening elsewhere, Snopes.com doesn’t really think that
It seems to be a common thought that if we let Muslims worship we have somehow ‘lost the
battle’. As if there is a culture war to be won. Maybe it is a symptom of Constantinian
Christianity to view those with differing beliefs as the enemy. They aren’t, they too are created
in the imago Dei. They were created and loved by God in the same way that we are.
As for removing the Lord’s Prayer, I am not too sure why we want to force people who aren't
Christians to perform a Christian prayer anyways. As a Christian I definitely want other people
to be Christians too, however, I do not want them praying to God if they don’t believe He
exists. People should be praying authentic prayers. No wonder we get accused of pushing our
beliefs on people. This does not mean we are victims of an increasingly pluralistic or secular
society; It just means that there are people who have differing beliefs.
This particular facebook post also complains (it was a long post!) about the availability of halal
foods to appease the “privileged minority”. If you are questioning my motives for writing this
post just consider the level of audacity that is required for straight, white, male Christians to
complain that a minority is privileged. Other than that, we have had kosher foods for a long
time, I’m not too sure why this is a big deal. Food producers are all about the bottom line, they
found a way to make money. It isn’t a conspiracy. Again, I find myself asking, why do we care
Before I am mistaken; No, I don’t agree with other religions since I put my faith in Jesus Christ
alone, I am not a pluralist. That does not mean I need to promote fear mongering. I don't need
put a sign on my truck that reads “fit in of !*%# off”. It doesn't mean that I promote an attitude
that all muslims are terrorists. It doesn't mean that I think that all the muslims that come to
‘our’ country have an agenda. It doesn't mean that we we are losing our rights or our culture.
“Keep Christ in Christmas”
Let’s not forget the product of ridiculous fictional martyrdom, 'Keeping Christ in Christmas'. It
is our way of proving that ‘the gays’, ‘the Muslims’ and secular humanists are trying to destroy
our traditions. Every year we hear how ‘they’ are trying to ‘take Christ out of Christmas’ by not
saying “Merry Christmas”. We are surprised when they have the audacity to say “Happy
Holidays” or even invoke the celebrations of another faith. As if they forgot they live in our
country now or that it was founded on ‘Christian principles’.
A couple things need to be said about this situation. 1. Our current Christmas celebrations
don’t have much to do with Christ anyway. 2. Other people with other faiths exist within our
world. It was the same for Paul; He was apostle in a synchrotistic time but he used
persuasiveness to convince people of the truth. Instead of getting upset at this perceived
insult we should use it as a means to convey the goodness of God revealed to us in Christ.
We can’t do that if we are offended all the time.
By all means, continue to say "Merry Christmas", we shouldn't be stopped from saying it.
Keep in mind though, it has no lasting value if they don't know the reason why we say it. If all
they hear is us complaining then they don't hear the gospel message of Christ.
So Much More
There is one other thing that is important that needs a post of it’s own but deserves at least a
mention here. Politics. Some (most?) conservative Christians associate Christianity with
conservative politics. Therefore some seem to think illegal aliens and homosexuals are our
enemies. That universal health care and redistribution
of wealth are something that Christians shouldn't be supporting. The lessons that Jesus taught us about taking in the alien, caring for orphans and widows, loving your neighbor, pacifism, and living communally are forgotten in favor of empire (not Kingdom) building, culture wars, bootstraps style capitalism, fear mongering, and blood lust.
To put it bluntly the connection between conservative politics and conservative Christianity is
an oxymoron. Some have associated so much with conservative politics that any notion of
Christianity cooperating with socialist style politics is perceived as a threat.
Much can still be said. We can talk about Ken Ham claiming religious persecution because he
didn’t receive a tax break. We can talk about the Christians in an uproar because Hollywood
movies “don’t follow the Bible”. I think I've made my point though. When compared to the
sufferings of many international Christians, there is much that we do that seems insignificant.
Why do we think that everyone is our enemy? Why do we assume they are out to destroy our
way of life? Can we stop thinking like this? What would it look like if we loved our enemies?
Maybe it looks like an evangelical church (that doesn’t affirm homosexual activity) being 'too
nice' to a pro-gay protest. Or, 200 young Muslims protecting Christians in Nigeria. Or,
Christians protecting praying Muslims or Muslims protecting Christians, both in Egypt.
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