Monday, January 16, 2012

A Bold Move, or the Risks of Saying "I Don't Love Jesus"

If you have a Facebook account (and who doesn't?), you've probably seen this image making the rounds. The image is the flavor-of-the-day, but the idea is nothing new: using public means to state one's love for Jesus/God/The Bible in such a way to make other like-minded people think such believers are a minority. For example, posting the following status update: "Why is America trying to take CHRIST out of CHRISTMAS?? The President and atheists want you to have 'holiday trees' and have 'winter break,' but I know the truth: IT'S ABOUT CELEBRATING JESUS AND THE WORD OF GOD! Jesus made our country great; is it a surprise that as we move away from the word of God our country gets worse and worse? Re-post if you think these idiots are ruining Christmas and our country!"

I'm sure you've seen these posts on Facebook or bumper stickers. Compare this to the equally oft-quoted saying that Christians are the "majority" in America and thus our laws should reflect the Christian will (usually this comes up when gay marriage and birth control are being discussed). So which is it: are we a country of a Christian majority, or are we a country with a Christian minority which is being persecuted?

It's humorous that these positions fluctuate based on who you are asking and what the topic is. To my thinking, either it's a Christian majority or it isn't. You can't have your cake and eat it too. Are you the majority that wants to impose the majoritarian will on the rest of us, or are you a minority that's rallying its troops to defend its beliefs?

This is a popular tactic: when you're the majority, pretend you aren't and use it as a rallying cry. See also: North Korea and China.

The other issue is: "Who cares?" If you are really a Christian, doesn't that mean you're supposed to WANT to spread the gospel to everyone unabashedly? Really, all these proclamations mean are "I am a Christian, like 80% of the rest of the country." Where is the heroism in that? Where is the self-sacrifice in that?

I offer a counterpoint: in America, non-believers and non-majority believers are the ones that are persecuted, for being "not Christian." It's not hard to see it if your eyes are open: any time the Supreme Court tells us that we can't have prayer in public schools, the Christians show up and say the socialist-atheist agenda is ruining America (even though the Supreme Court is made up of Christians, Catholics, and Jews). Any time Muslims are featured as human on TV, some right-wing Christians show up and say the Muslim agenda is ruining our "Christian heritage" (a myth in itself).

My point is that it takes courage to say "I am not the majority; I am the minority." It puts you on notice to the world that you are The Other and different; it opens you to criticism and almost no one comes to your defense. You will be told you are the root of all evil in this country.

What do you risk by saying "I love Jesus"? You risk getting a pat on the back and a "welcome to the club" fruit basket.

Where's the sacrifice in that?