Thursday, January 25, 2007

Christians as the new fascists?

Most of us write with dreams of doing some good for the Kingdom of God. We also dream of selling some books or articles, maybe making a decent living at what we see as our calling. But what if our writing brings us grief? What if we destroy our reputation in the process? Are we willing to write if it costs us dearly?
I came across this column while going through my constant barrage of email and SPAM today. It reminds me of some dangerous trends I see developing here in benevolent Canada as well.

Don Feder writes:
"Breezing through the bookstore at Reagan National Airport the other day, I
came across a new volume with the unsubtle title, "American Fascists - The
Christian Right and The War on America" by former New York Times'
correspondent Chris Hedges.
But, as the saying goes, tell us what you really think. No hyperbole
here. In the introduction, Hedges makes it clear that he actually is comparing evangelical opponents of abortion and gay marriage to the monsters who burned books, ran death camps and plunged humanity into a world war that left 63 million dead.

Except it's Hedges who wants to burn books and gag his opponents - but we'll get to that shortly."


Read the whole thing. Canadian Christians like to distance themselves from the Christian Right in the U.S. We like to say we're different, less harsh, less doctrinaire, well, 'er, maybe nicer because we are Canadian? We do have a different ethos up here, for sure, and politics is less likely to be wrapped in religious terminology and God is not Republican here.

However, I wonder how much we buy into villification of the Christian Right that we get constantly through our media. And how many of us would be surprised to find that we ourselves, despite our attempts to be relevant, to reach out, to engage the culture without giving offence, are cast in the same negative light. Lumped in with these "bad guys."

From my journalistic perch in Ottawa, I see worrisome signs as Christians in Canada are being cast as anti-Canadian or anti-Charter values by our own homegrown media and many politicians. In fact its common for politicians to raise the spectre of the scary Christian. In fact, I'm sorry to say, I've even seen Christian politicians do it to each other. "He's scary, but I'm not."

The thing is, as Christians, we have to be prepared to be misunderstood.

As writers, are we prepared for having our words miscontrued, our reputations put through the shredder, our faith attacked and our character questioned? Will we abandon more and more fields when it becomes clear there is a greater and greater price to pay for speaking up?

Sobering things to think about. Funny though, Jesus and the Apostle Paul warn us about persecution, about lies being said about us, about some of us even being put to death. Let's hope we don't cave in. But let's hope we continue to make sure that we stand up for Truth with love, so we don't end up being persecuted for being jerks! And let's be careful not to engage in inadvertent Christian bashing ourselves. We may not like the way the Christian Right in the U.S. comes across, but maybe what we're reading and seeing is not true.

1 comment:

Keith Clemons said...

So true, Deborah. I am aware of Chris Hedges and of many others like him who are publishing extremely derogatory and sometimes downright inflammatory words against Christians. Actually, I’ve been monitoring the changing attitude of the secular media, and the world at large, toward the church for some time. It gave me fodder for the book I'm currently writing, “Angel In the Alley.” Pray not, but should things continue the way they are, the Church may one day have to go underground to survive.

Keith Clemons

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