Silenced Faith

January 27, 2013
I am tired. I am tired of being drowned out by fanatics, of having my faith misrepresented by newspapers and CNN, of being stereotyped and avoided because of my religion. But that is not what has made me rip my hair out until my scalp bled, or what made me vomit, or what made me pray until my lips tingled and my kneecaps flattened. What made me react so strongly was the misrepresentation of Christianity, not by the secular, but by those who call themselves Christians. Those who blame Haiti’s earthquake on 400-year-old “pacts with the Devil” receive more press than the Christians who dedicate their lives to providing shelter for the homeless. “Christians” who rail against programs for the poor do so in the name of a homeless man who heralded the poor as blessed.

Why has Christianity become the tool of political maneuvering? Why is a faith based on a man who saved a woman caught in adultery associated with so many who would have supported the execution from which Jesus saved her? Why is God’s name invoked to further oppress the miserable? More than 70% of Americans are Christian, and I can tell you as the daughter of a minister that those who truly follow the path Jesus laid out do not spend their time decrying homosexuality, shaming women, calling the poor lazy, or using His name as a political slogan, yet that is how we are so often portrayed and expected to behave.

My faith is rooted in love. Love, not only for other Christians, not only for the socially acceptable, but for all—addicts, prostitutes, gays, atheists, and criminals included. My faith is one based on a Man who healed lepers and befriended tax collectors; today, He would care of AIDS patients and visit used car salesmen at their homes. My faith is founded on a man who broke down the status quo, lived in poverty, and died a humiliating death to redeem the lowest of the low in both socioeconomic and moral terms.
I am tired of Christianity being portrayed as a system of rules and exclusivity, the opposite of what our Lord created. Of the millions of Christians in America, I believe those who follow Jesus deserve at least as much air time as those who invoke His name as a slogan in a motion against WIC or the ACLU. Just as we cannot portray all Muslims as terrorists, we can no longer portray all Christians as extreme fundamentalists, and it is the responsibility of tired Christians to defend our faith—one based on Gospels of love instead of hate, liberation instead of exclusivity, and intended for the poor, the meek, the exploited, and the outcasts and their advocates.

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RarelyJaded This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 10, 2013 at 10:46 pm
Finally! As a minister's kid here as well, I second your plea times a thousand. This was very well said, I couldn't have put it better myself. :) I hate that not only Christians but God has been misrepresented for so long. It's really sad how much damage is being done when we could be saving the world! :)
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