Wednesday, May 15, 2019
I'm a person of faith. . .
I am pretty confident that Christianity will not be and cannot be outlawed. But that is hardly the point. You do not need to outlaw a faith that can no longer be claimed openly in public. The real danger is not that Christianity will be outlawed or that churches will be regulated (or, help us God, taxed), but that Christianity will become the religion that cannot be named in public and that Christians are protected in their faith only behind the closed doors of home or worship space (sounds better than church). In other words, you do not need to directly challenge Christianity if you have made it unfriendly or offensive to speak its name in public or to identify a specific church by name.
Consider this. After the terrible killings of Christians in Sri Lanka, former President Obama and wannabe President Hillary Clinton both condemned not the targeting of Christians but the attacks on Easter worshipers (and travelers). It would be as if Muslims were not called Muslims or members of Islam but described as Ramadan worshipers. It is a curious way to say it and even more curious in that both prominent people chose to phrase their tweets in exactly the same way. When the 2016 attacks on GLBTQ folks were mentioned, the attacker was not condemned as targeting night club patrons but gays, lesbians, and transgenders. Yet when Christians were clearly the targets in Sri Lanka, the prominent folk did a credible duck and save to avoid saying those who massacred them were aiming for Christians.
Any of this individually might be a mere curiosity but together it suggests that the time will come sooner rather than later when the very name Christian will be offensive enough to be banned from the public square. Christians will be allowed to practice behind closed doors in home and worship spaces but they will not be accorded the privilege of being identified or owning their faith by name in public. That is what I see. And it is all revealed by the seemingly innocuous skipping of the name Christian or the identity of their church by folks casually conversing about the various things of Holy Week. I am a person of faith. Whatever that means.
Terry Mattingly of Get Religion pointed out that it took the journalists at USA Today 15 paragraphs before mentioning the word “Christian.” Tell me that this was accidental. If it is an offense to misgender (whatever that means), why is it okay to ignore the word Christian and to do everything in your power to avoid it (except when you can speak it in a negative light)? Yes, I am being sarcastic and small but if we are to keep our integrity as Christians in the public square, we will have to point out what the media is doing to us (with the permission and cooperation of those who make the news).