Original post at http://loveradically.com/2012/06/21/where-are-the-good-christians/
This question, posed by Muslim American comedian and writer Dean Obeidallah, on CNN’s opinion page caught my attention this afternoon. Dean gives examples of extreme “Christians” speaking out against Islam, homosexuality, and other hot button topics. These include an incident where “Christians” went to an Arab festival in Dearborn, Michigan with a pig’s head on a spike, Muslims do not eat pork, and started screaming at the festival goers to come to Christ or burn in Hell. I doubt they had any takers. Dean also cites the usual “Christian” TV suspects Pat Robertson, Tony Perkins, and Bryan Fischer as an example of Christianity being hijacked by the extreme Right.
Dean wonders, where are the voices of the more moderate Christians? For one, moderate voices do not usually get on television. Networks like CNN like controversy because controversy brings ratings, ratings bring money, and extreme voices create controversy. People like the plane crash. People like the screaming and yelling. People like to get mad at the nuts on TV and so CNN and others keep bringing them on. When there is a story about Christianity, CNN calls Bill Donahue of the extreme Catholic League. I mean, how many times I have seen moderate and liberal voices like Brian McClaren, Jim Wallis, and even UM juggernaut Adam Hamilton on CNN and other programs, but they are usually countered by a voice from the extreme right and the whole things turns into a debacle. I have always wondered why there isn’t a TBN or a 700 Club for moderate Christians? Why have we allowed the extreme Right to have the monopoly on TV? Probably because we couldn’t get enough ratings.
Another reason why the moderate voices are not heard in the public sphere is because they are out doing the real work of the Church. The “good” Christians are the ones out in the world feeding the hungry, digging wells for the thirsty, clothing the naked, protecting millions against malaria, building schools and hospitals, and thousands of other missions. The “good” Christians are too busy to be on CNN yelling and screaming about Muslims and gays.
Finally, I think that many of us moderate Christians have taken up the strategy of silence. We think that if we ignore the yelling and screaming of the crazies then eventually they will give up and go home. As Dean points out in his opinion piece this strategy is failing. As I stated earlier, as long as controversy = money then the crazies will have a medium and while other Christians might ignore them the rest of the world is not. In fact, the world is beginning to equate genuine Christian faith with the rhetoric being spewed by the nut-jobs. People connected Christianity with Homophobia, judgementalism, and hypocrisy. The moderate voices in Christianity can no longer afford to be silent. We must show the world the true meaning of our faith.
What can we do? I think we can start by making our own signs and countering the protests by those on the extreme Right. For every sign that reads “God hates fags” there needs to be two that read “God is Love.” For every comment on Facebook that spews some false idea about Islam there needs to be a Christian there countering it with facts and truth. The “good” Christians must get out the word that the extremists do not speak for us and for our faith. Silence is no long an option.