This morning one of my favorite Christian homeschooling Facebook pages posted this article. And while this article got me a little bit floored and a little bit on my soapbox, I’m thrilled that this page is facilitating conversation.
I’m not a political writer or a religion expert. I’m not going to have 20 research links at the bottom which this post is based on. I’m just a mom, wife, a Christian, a missionary, and a friend. I write from my own experiences, which aren’t going to be the same as yours. And that’s OK.
First I’d like to just clear the air about this whole "Christian Nation” thing. I hear that term all the time. I hate this term.
America. The Christian Nation.
Folks, I’ll try to let you down gently. America is not a Christian Nation. I know how badly many of you would like it to be - but it’s not. I think for a lot of people, people in tight-knit Christian communities or people from the Bible-belt south (from which I’m writing), it’s easy to look around and think, this really IS a Christian Nation. But by and large, it’s just not.
I do not come from a Christian home. I did not grow up with Christian friends. In fact, when I became a Christian, all of my friends turned their backs on me. Let me tell you, my early Christian years were very lonely ones.
Maybe it’s because of that background that I can see outside of the Christian bubble.
In our nation there ARE a lot of Christians. But there’s also a lot of Atheists (hi, friends!). There’s also many Muslims, Wiccan friends, Jewish friends - to all of these groups I also say "hi friends,” because, yes, I have friends here too.
I’m sure there are yet other people I know who belong to yet other belief systems but by and large, non Christians have learned that it’s easier to just keep it themselves for fear of judgement.
But what if Christians would let go of this whole “Christian Nation” thing and would embrace our country as it is - full of people all struggling and hurting and loving and trying their very hardest - just like we all are?
What if instead of Christians trying to insist that we live in a Christian nation insisted that we lived in a nation in need of compassion, mercy, and love?
Back to the article I linked that’s inspired this soapbox - I feel like it’s an article written to fuel fear and anger under the guise of “educating the public.”
The article is about how much Islam is infiltrating our public school system. The article made no separation between Islam at large and the much smaller - but infinitely louder - terrorist group cells.
This is what I posted. My first thoughts on the article:
Maybe I’m the only one who is totally annoyed by this article, but it just makes me roll my eyes and think, “seriously?” Has the author ever met a Muslim person? I’m so sick of seeing articles aimed at creating more fear and anger over something most people don’t understand. Most Muslim people you actually speak with (heaven forbid) are horrified to be grouped in the same religion of the small but loud fanatic groups. It’s like saying all Christians like to carry signs around reading, “thank God for dead solders.” I think Common Core is stupid for a lot of reasons, this is not one of them. I do homeschool and - gasp - we will learn about world religions as much as we can - even if that means visiting their places of worship. I feel so passionate about this. My heart just cries out - where is the grace in fear? Where is the compassion in trying to limit the freedom God extends to us to only those who act in ways we think they should act? Not one Muslim person will ever be won over to the love of Jesus by people who want to squash their beliefs. What if we Christians made a stand to love their Muslim brothers and sisters and actually went where Muslims are and befriended them? I don’t think for a minute that Jesus would do otherwise.
I’ll never forget the first Muslim I ever had the privilege of getting to know. He was a shopkeeper in Fiji and was thrilled to get to chat with my husband and I. We were the only ones in the shop and he sat with us and peppered us with questions about what we had been doing (we had just spent a summer on some very remote islands in the Republic of Kiribati doing mission work). He was so thrilled to know that we were bent on helping people in this world. I could tell he was also very grateful that we didn’t fear him. He told us that only a small group (compared to the whole) of Muslims are terrorists and that really, they are a peaceful people. Since then I’ve met Muslims around the world and they've all spoken the same sentiments.
Friends, I am a mother and it is my mission in life to protect my children. Teaching them to fear or hate a people group will never accomplish this. That isn’t where the fight is. Fight for love. Fight for compassion.
I want to teach my children to befriend [Muslims, Atheists, Jews, etc., etc., etc.]. I want them to look at person and see them for what they really are - a person. I want them to know it’s OK that their life looks different than ours. It’s OK that they don’t believe the same things as us. I want them to change the world because they loved the people in the world.