We must stand up for our rights…

I saw a cartoon by Dave Walker the other day which got me thinking:

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

[Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.]

If you listen to a lot of Christian speakers, the church in this country is being persecuted left, right and centre. There are plenty of stories about people who were forbidden to wear crosses at work etc (I’d find a few stories on BBC News but I can’t be bothered… hey, I’m in my lunch hour, I haven’t got enough time to do research!). And every time that something like this happens, there seems to be an uproar from the Christian community (or at least, certain vocal members of the Christian community). For example, when the Jerry Springer opera aired on the BBC, hundreds of people wrote in to voice their complaints – I think there might even have been demonstrations.

That got me thinking: is it really our place to stand up and fight for our rights as Christians? We should definitely stand up and fight for justice for the oppressed, the poor, and so on — in other words, take a real stand for social justice — but I don’t know whether fighting tooth and nail for our own “rights” is a good idea.

I think people making a fuss every time something comes in which might be conceived as ‘persecution’ for the Church is actually in the end bad for the Church: do we really want to be perceived in a petty, whining, moan-at-anything, don’t-really-believe-God-is-sovereign kind of way? Do we really want to crush the mustard seed of the Kingdom of God under our feet as we rush to defend our own ‘rights’ as Christians? What would Jesus have done?

I don’t really have all the answers, and I’m definitely not saying that we shouldn’t always stand up for our ‘rights’, I just think that it’s worth thinking about…

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2 thoughts on “We must stand up for our rights…

  1. Well being a Christian was never going to be easy, Jesus said that 2000 years ago and nothing much has changed. Yes the Church is persecuted across the world, in various different ways – in some countries it’s through physical violence, sometimes political exclusion, sometimes social constraints. And of course there is also evidence to suggest that it’s in the times of the harshest persecution that the Church really grows.

    Phill, you touch on the topic of whether we as Christians should be standing up for the rights of Christians to be Christians, if I’m reading this correctly. As far as I am aware, in this country at least, there is nothing to stop us from being Christians. However, there are certain legislations in the pipework that might hamper the way we live as Christians, but I would suggest more in terms of religion than faith. Sure, the government and society as a whole can stop us from doing certain things, affecting the way we live out our faith, but no one and nothing can change what we believe.

    Coming back to the topic of the recent controversy over Catholic adoption centres, it’s worth thinking less about people being trampled over, and think more about why those adoption centres exist in the first place. There is nothing in the Bible that says we should run adoption centres, so one can only assume then that they were set up as outlets for our desire to help other people, to serve and love and show Christ to the people around us. Surely if people refuse to accept that offer then they have not offended us, but rejected Christ. That’s not our fault, neither is it a crime against us. As Jesus himself said, “if anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town”. If people don’t want us to help them, that’s to their detriment, not ours. If we are men and women of faith, then the way we live out our lives should be flexible – our beliefs may be secure and unmoveable, but the way we express those beliefs are not set in stone.

    So to attempt to answer your question, Phill, I think we should stand up for what we believe in, while not being offended by people taking offence at how we choose to live out our salvation.

  2. Hi Matthew,

    Interesting thoughts, and I think I agree with you.

    Although I still don’t think it was a good idea for hundreds of people to complain about the Jerry Springer opera, and things like that. I think that was what I was thinking of more when I wrote that blog post: it was very visible to the watching world, and personally I believe if the only thing the world sees is the Church (or some members thereof) getting up in arms about some petty issue time and again rather than the big issues of social justice etc then who could blame them for coming to the conclusion that we are just a bunch of lame hypocrites.

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