People outside Christian circles believe Christians are too political; using politics to further a right wing Christian agenda.
Christians Using Politics to Further a Christian Agenda
People outside Christian circles believe Christians are too political; using politics to further a right wing Christian agenda. I tend to agree with the assessment.
Especially during election seasons, within our churches we too often position things with a Christian political agenda. “Vote for Bob…he’s a Christian, Don’t vote for John…he’s a Muslim” type of language. The last presidential election was all about Who’s a Christian?, Who’s a Mormon?, Who’s a Jew?, and Who’s a Muslim? Even though our Christian churches have a fairly even mix of republicans and democrats, Christians are viewed as “mostly” right wing conservative republicans. That’s simply not true, but it’s a prominent Christian stereotype in our culture.
Evidence From the Last Presidential Election
During the last election season, I experienced this first hand through an email that was forwarded who knows how many times and finally ending up in my inbox. The email was titled “Muslim Language in Obama’s Health Care Law”.
The email was intended to persuade me through fear to vote conservative republicans into office.
I read the email. The email suggested that the health care bill would legalize Dhimmitude – a Muslim legal term which effectively gives benefits to Muslims for which non-Muslims must pay for. Dhimmitude is a real issue in states and countries where Muslims are in the majority and where Islamic Sharia Law has been instituted; nowhere in the USA just in case you are interested :-).
The Email Was a Lie
The only problem with the email is that it wasn’t truthful. It was fraudulently conceived by someone to take political advantage of the fear that president Obama is a Muslim, or fear that we are being overrun by fanatic Muslims in this country. The email claimed it was true and even cited the alleged page in the bill where the Dhimmitude was mentioned. Again, the only problem is that this claim was a lie.
I did the research, which wasn’t easy. It took literally 5 hours to track down the actual text of the bill, find the final text of the law to see for myself what was in it. Neither the bill nor the law mentioned anything about Muslims or Dhimmitude. What I did find outside the bill/law was a concept where people who refuse to receive social security benefits can exclude themselves from paying into social security. It mentioned how the Amish have done this for years due to their religious practice of self-sufficiency within their own community. Fundamental Muslims apparently share this self-sufficiency practice. And so, the stretch (lie) is to suggest that Muslims wouldn’t have to pay for health insurance but would still benefit from it (Dhimmitude). The Obama health care bill/law doesn’t mention anything about any of this.
The only problem with the email is that it wasn’t truthful.
Fixing the Negative Stereotype
How does this impact the perception that Christians are right wing political zealots? It reinforces that Christian stereotype when we blindly forward these types of emails to our Christian friends without checking them out first. Non-Christians receive these emails too and the response is “There they go again. The Christians are trying to defeat Obama and the democrats using their right wing political machine.”
if you are too lazy to do the research yourself, just delete the email and don’t forward it on.
- Reply back to the person who sent the email and ask them if they checked the facts before sending it
- Check out the facts for yourself
- Only forward the email after you’ve checked the facts and found the email to be completely factual
- If you find the email to be “not-so-true”, reply to the sender with some corrections and ask them to forward it back to the original sender.
We can reverse this Christian stereotype of being too political, but it will take effort. Changing the Face of Christianity is leading that charge. A good first step is to seriously question such emails before forwarding on to others. And (just being real here for a moment), if you are too lazy to do the research yourself, just delete the email and don’t forward it on. Over time, we can and we will overcome this stereotype. Please join us in this effort!