I cannot even begin to describe how I feel when I read articles and hear stories about “Christian” organizations blatantly missing the point. It was all I could do not to “tear my garments” after reading an editorial just a few minutes ago in the Lexington Herald-Leader, written by Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune, detailing the outrage of one “Christian” organization. If you watch the news on a daily basis, you should have heard at some point of a new show on TLC called, “All American Muslim.” I have watched the show a few times and it was pretty good. It was as entertaining as watching people live life could be. I watched MTV’s “The Osbournes” when I was younger and my sister watches “Real Housewives” of whatever city and it was nothing different, other than the “stars” on this show are Muslim.
Enter the Tampa-based “Florida Family Association” – a conservative Christian group out of Tampa, Florida. They state on their website (and apparently their IRS application) that their goal is to “educate people on what they can do to defend, protect and promote traditional, biblical values.” Now, I am not a fan of throwing the “baby out with the bathwater” so I will admit that there is at least one noble cause they seem to have battled and won.
If you read Mr. Page’s article above, you would learn that FFA successfully convinced Lowe’s to discontinue advertising on TLC due to their Muslim-based show. This sparked support and outrage by many people and has continued to be a hot story.
But what really set me off (to the point of jumping on the laptop to write) is the quote from the Florida association. It reads: “The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to the liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.”
So, what’s it going to take? Seriously. What is it going to take to make these stories stop? I know I am not the only Christian in America that is sick and tired of seeing and reading this vitriol in the media day after day by other Christians. (Now, some might slap me on the hand for calling out my “brothers and sisters in Christ” but if my older sister, Megan, was saying stuff like this you bet I would call her out, too.)
I ask again, what is it going to take for many Christians to realize that: The Kingdom of God is not The United States of America, our home is not our nation, our allegiance is to Jesus not a flag, our identity is rooted in Jesus not our nationality and that while “American values” might be good and noble, they are not inherently Christ-like!
The threat to American values is something we hear about a lot in the public, political and church realm. If gays can marry then marriages fail. If Muslims can be on TV then the moral fiber of America will begin to unravel. If prayer is “taken out of school” then schools will suddenly become war zones. Honestly, I read these articles and I begin to feel like Mugatu (Will Ferrell) in “Zoolander” when he calls out the audiences for not realizing Derek Zoolander has only one look! (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please watch this clip!) I do, indeed, feel as if I am taking “crazy pills.”
If a man getting married to a man is affecting your marriage – it’s time to re-evaluate your marriage! If Muslims getting some airtime on TV threatens your values (Christian or American) – it’s time to re-evaluate your values! If you or your kids are no longer “allowed to pray” in school – it’s time to re-evaluate your prayer life!
Jesus can not be overcome, don’t we know this? A marriage steeped in holiness, humility and love should never be affected by another person. The unity, righteousness and love between family members should never be compromised by people of another religion on a television show. And can prayer ever be taken away from you? Last time I checked, prayer wasn’t something that had to be done out in the open and/or obnoxiously (Yes, prayer can be obnoxious – check out what some of the Old Testament prophets had to say about that). It’s rather difficult to ban a thought or something no one can hear.
Listen, I know I am not the only one growing wildly impatient with the status of Christianity in America – many of us are, especially in my generation. Change will come about through boldness and an unwillingness to accept the status quo – which all too often seems to be hate, bigotry, ignorance and judgement.
“Let us not grow tired in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9