I’m troubled by the trend to brand Christians with derogatory labels – bigot, hater, racist, homophobe, Islamaphobe. This trend is even more concerning when we hear these terms used by political leaders who should know better. In my circle of friends, there are Christians who labour, or have laboured, in third world countries where many are Muslim, bringing aid and education to those who would never receive it from their governments. Christians I know have gone to the Ivory Coast, Haiti, Eritrea, Kenya, Peru, Zimbabwe, Russia, the Ukraine, New Guinea and other countries. They have worked in orphanages, nursing stations, ministered in jails, taught at schools, dug wells, made start-up loans to farmers and visited refugee camps. They provide food, medical aid and goodwill everywhere they go.
I have a friend who assists Burmese immigrants here in Canada, without pay, and another who spent years working for an organization that helps immigrant women get settled in Canada. Both are Christians.
Christians in platoons have supported causes around the world. Whenever there is a crisis, the plea for help reverberates through Christian churches in Canada. Money is collected and sent with no strings attached. Yet if a Christian raises a voice of protest, for example, about sex education in public schools, they are immediately labelled, not by their neighbours, but by our political leaders and their followers, as homophobic, uneducated, radical and moronic. (This particular protest is about children, not about adults who may be offended by the protest.)
Many Canadians have either never known or forgotten that universities, hospitals, social services, the movement to abolish slavery, the Geneva Convention, the Children’s Aid Society, the YMCA, The Red Cross, Salvation Army, Teen Challenge, Samaritan’s Purse and Alcoholics Anonymous were all founded by Christians. Today, in major cities organizations exist to improve the lives of inner-city kids and teenagers – founded and operated by Christians. The money to keep these organizations going comes mainly from Christians. Christians give because we know that God cares about the disadvantaged and that Jesus said to always remember the poor. One does not have to be a Christian to appreciate the work that Christians do or to benefit from that work.
Most of the name-calling is politically motivated. Yes, we Christians support Israel. We do it because the same One who told us to remember the poor also said to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Israel is a tiny nation surrounded by enemies dedicated to her annihilation. She is the under-dog and we tend to support under-dogs. We tend to vote for governments who support Israel. We also tend to support immigration that focuses on women, children and persecuted peoples. We care about all human life, including the unborn. Again, we care because God cares.
Most of us give silently. We do not need political approval from any party. (That is a good thing because two of the major parties have made it impossible for Christians to represent their parties in Parliament.) The name-calling is vile, unbecoming of intelligent people and totally uncalled for.
This trend toward derogatory labels for Christians leads one to wonder who the real haters and bigots are.
Note: It is vitally important for Christians to remember that we represent Christ in the world and that we should not be involved, ever, in any hateful enterprise. We must do good to everyone. (Galatians 6:9,10)