I usually avoid political stances in my writing. A major exception is when politics and faith conflict in ways that put them on a collision course. Then there are other times when politicians say things that are so outlandish I just can’t help myself.
Today, I can’t help myself. A member of the US House of Representatives recently said the following. “We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice. We don’t need Muslims that don’t want to be a Muslim voice. We don’t need queers that don’t want to be a queer voice. If you’re worried about being marginalized and stereotyped, please don’t even show up because we need you to represent that voice.” Are you kidding me?
Tantamount to Censorship
What this person said was tantamount to censorship. She may well have said, “If you don’t agree with us, just shut up!” Her attitude seems to be one of corralling people into marching lockstep with her. If you’re black, Muslim, or gay, there’s only one way to think. If you deviate from that, you’re somehow a lesser person and you’re not welcome.
Well, the last time I looked, this was still America—the land of the free. This Representative wants to herd everyone to a place where they are only free to think like her. Anything outside of that is apparently treason.
Why do some folks think everyone belongs in some thought block and have no business straying to another side of the ideological street? Are we a bunch of automatons who have to be encoded to a certain ideal? If we have varying opinions, are we to report to the master computer operator for reprogramming? This politician seems to think so.
What she said would be comparable to a Christian saying, “If you’re not a Baptist, don’t bother to pray. You won’t get it right.” Another comparison would go like this. “If your theology doesn’t line up with mine, don’t bother attending my church.” I could go on, but I think you get the point.
They Aren’t Cyborgs
People are people. They’re not pawns in a mass, monolithic thought process. They aren’t cyborgs being prepared to do someone else’s bidding. To think that black people, Muslims, or gays must toe the party line is about as anti-American as one can get. It’s antithetical to everything for which we stand.
The Christian church is (or at least, should be) a prime example of how wrong this woman happens to be. Jesus called us to follow him. He didn’t tell us what denomination we should gravitate toward. He didn’t give us a set of rules to follow. He didn’t give us an absolute prescription of how to worship, baptize, or preach. He simply told us to follow him where he takes us.
Consequently, the Body of Christ consists of red, yellow, black, brown and white disciples. They are conservative, liberal, and middle-of-the-road. They are vastly different and are all brothers and sisters in Christ. AND…they speak with many voices—not just one.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]