Recently I came to a crossroad in my life, where I thought I had to choose between activism and devotion to my own spiritual journey and growth – feeling as though I couldn’t engage those pursuits concurrently.
I then had to ask myself, whether my spiritual journey included advocating for those whom Christ cared deeply about – as evidenced by his actions and teachings.
One issue confronting Christians today, is a white populist nationalist agenda, that is sweeping across this country – fanned, in part, by a cohort of white evangelicals and prominent evangelical leaders, who have allowed their faith to be co-opted by a political ideology of exceptionalism and exclusion.
Fear has been weaponized by white nationalists, to promote policies that would open our borders to only a select few – keeping out those of different color and nationality, who are fleeing oppression, danger, and impoverishment. They would have you believe that it’s all about our safety, in a veiled attempt to promote their agenda.
As followers of Jesus Christ, who gave his life for all mankind, we are entrusted to speak out when injustice rears its ugly face upon the oppressed, the refugee, and the impoverished. An act of activism? Maybe. But ask yourself how Christ would respond?
“Offering refuge to those fleeing violence, torture, or religious persecution is a cornerstone of our history. We as a country are blessed with vast resources making us capable of securely welcoming those fleeing harm. Closing our doors on those seeking such safety is not who we are as a people.” (Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin)
Pope Francis has said that simply doing nothing in the face of evil is contrary to the Gospel, and that evil is propagated “where there are no bold Christians to oppose it with goodness.” He goes on to say that, “If we do not oppose evil, we feed it with our silence.”
I share in that belief, and wonder why there are not more Protestant leaders sharing that same sentiment in the public forum. Refugees are not just an American issue, they’re a global issue, and that sentiment applies globally.
To that point, a year after we witnessed the shocking images of a lifeless three-year old Kurdish boy, washed ashore after his inflatable boat capsized, his father said the following:
“Everyone claimed they wanted to do something because of the photo that touched them so much. But what is happening now? People are still dying and nobody is doing anything about it.”
The evil that is inherent in today’s political movement toward white nationalism, has willingly or unwillingly been propagated by the actions or silence of those professing to be Christian, and that’s disturbing.
We need to recognize that Christianity doesn’t exist in a vacuum here in America. Christendom is global in its reach, and association of people who share in the same inheritance.
Exceptionalism has no place in the Kingdom of God, and caring for the “least of these”, as though they were Christ, is not a scriptural suggestion. It is a scriptural mandate for all Christians according to the teachings of Christ.
We have a choice to either follow a political agenda that is contrary to the Gospel, or the Gospel itself and the teachings found therein.
We can’t serve two masters.