I explore the apparent selective activism growing in the mainstream Church.
What’s remarkably louder than the Church’s voice on the aforementioned issues, is their deafening silence on other social issues
The average person knows the Church’s stance on divisive topics such as Same-Sex Marriages and Abortion. For the most part, it is a clear position that the Church is extremely vocal on; where supporters are even often lauded for their bravery in tackling the subject matter. There are lobby and advocacy groups set up to ensure the voice of the Church is heard and not neglected in the law-making process.
What’s remarkably louder than the Church’s voice on the aforementioned issues, is their deafening silence on other social issues such as Racial Injustice and Welfare Crises e.g. the Refugee Crisis. The Church appears to be as quiet as a church mouse and equally as timid as our homely rodent to take a stand on these issues.
Why is the Church so empowered to speak on some topics but deliberately mute on others? Is the church being deliberately mute or are we simply unaware? Is there a jurisdiction on what the Church can speak on? Do these conversations have no place at the table? Why the glaring imbalance?
Is it a simple case of naivete? James 2 implores us to show no partiality as [we] hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. James 2:1 (ESV) Surely this ought to cut through all fabrics of life – from socio-economic status to skin colour. Verse 8 goes on to say “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture,“You shall love your neighbour as yourself,” you are doing well” then verse 15 – 16 asks “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?”
We have allowed our cultural values and preferences, marred by sin, to dictate the order of importance
I think the issue is more insidious than a case of ignorance or lack of biblical direction. At the root of it all I believe, we, the Church are silent on certain issues because we do not see the marginalised (those affected by these issues) as our brothers, sisters or neighbours. We have allowed our cultural values and preferences, marred by sin, to dictate the order of importance to the point where we allow little or no room for issues that do not directly impact us.
I’m not saying that all cultural values are inherently bad, however, there are some aspects of our culture that do not align with our faith – this is an issue we all face, all over the world, yes, including Western cultures.
Often, we believe we are being spiritual or operating on a higher level of righteousness by calling certain social injustices ‘a sin issue’ suggesting the only remedy is to pray them away– but this is just a clever erasure tactic. If this is indeed the case, then by extension, all social issues are sin issues and should be treated the same way!
We should not play down or minimise issues we feel are redundant because they clash with our values. We should learn to acknowledge our inconsistencies and ask God to give us a heart for our brothers, sisters and neighbours and their concerns.
Whilst I am not arguing that it should be the same people advocating for all issues, I am simply asking for room to be made for other Christians to champion other causes.
Christianity is not to be compartmentalised; it is to permeate every sphere of our lives, even the seemingly unglamorous parts. Our saviour, became man and walked amongst us; he has first-hand experience of what it means to be human – this is a unique proximity afforded to us. This means, we can take every and any issue to God and still take a stand in the tangible sphere!
Here’s an apt quote from Martin Luther King:
“It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, “Wait on time.”
Martin Luther King
Church. We must find our voice. We must be heard. On all issues.