Monday, September 3, 2012

Equality Is Unequal?

Oppression: the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel or unjust manner. Tyranny, despotism, persecution, hardship, suffering.

Discrimination: treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit.

Bigotry: stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief or opinion that differs from one's own. Narrow-mindedness, bias.

Suppression: the act of putting an end to the activities of a person or body of persons; the act of doing away with a practice or custom; the act of stopping or arresting the flow of something.

In the 21st Century, we would like to think that we have come beyond those words, or the actions/statements/attitudes that are behind those words. When we think of those words, we think of things like the Jewish enslavement by the Egyptians some 3,000 years ago or so. Or the enslavement of blacks and Asians by Western powers in the 16th to 19th centuries. Or maybe the Roman times from 300 BC to around 600 AD. We may think of the way women were treated before the 1930's up to around the 1950's when they were considered property of their husbands and for most of US recorded history were not allowed to vote, own property or much of anything else.

Yet, I see these 4 attitudes and actions every day in this country in the second decade of the 21st Century. I see it in religious oppression of and by Christians. Yes, by Christians, as well as of us. Many Christians truly believe they have the right to refuse other religions the freedom to worship. They believe the Constitution of the United States of America that gives the freedom to worship is only given to Christians. They erroneously proclaim this is a Christian nation. It is not. In order for this to be a Christian nation, this would be a theocracy not a democratic republic. No, we're not a democracy, either; we are a democratic republic.

Many claim the very documents that created this nation, The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America proclaim this to be a Christian nation and yet neither of those documents, and very few of the early documents of this nation include the name of Jesus. They do, however, say that God grants inalienable rights to man. But God is used in the sense of the Father part of the trinity, not as God the Son of the trinity.

There are also other groups that are oppressed suppressed, discriminated against and the victims of bigotry in this nation. We use our elected representatives to write laws forbidding groups who do not believe exactly the way we believe from living their lives the way we want to live ours: free and without the intrusion of the government in our personal matters.

We condemn anyone who fights for the same rights we love, defend and enjoy by proclaiming that they are "up in our faces" with their demands, yet at the same time, each of the previous groups mentioned who were once oppressed, suppressed and discriminated against only lost those designations by "getting in people's faces" and demanding change!

The thing we must all remember is this: when we work to prevent someone from all the rights and freedoms we enjoy, cherish and exercise because we disagree with something about the group or class they belong to, we're laying the groundwork and the basis for someone to come along and take those same rights, freedoms and privileges away from us.

And we're also not following the Christian example that Christ set for us during His years of ministry on this earth. We claim to be doing Christ's work by trying to ensure this is a Christian nation and if we don't then we are accepting sin and we'll be judged for that. There is no Biblical basis for that! There's not a single place where Jesus taught that if we don't force others to live according to our interpretation of His Word, He would hold us responsible for others behavior. In fact, He told us to "mind our own business" in several places and in several ways. All He commanded us to do was to share the Good News, not FORCE it on anyone.

I wonder what He will say to us when we stand before Him and have to answer for oppressing, suppressing, discriminating against and showing bigotry toward His other children?