Dear Christian Friends,
Today I saw two of the most shocking reports that I have ever seen in my life. That’s not exaggeration or hyperbole. These headlines shocked me so much that I am begging you to listen and to act.
This morning, like most mornings, I was listening to NPR’s Up First podcast (listen here) and there was a report on a whistle blower who alleges that the United State ICE detention facility at which she works was performing forced hysterectomies on women. Please take a minute to think about that. If true, we would be committing acts of war as defined by international law. This not only goes against everything that the US has ever wanted to be and the best of what we are, but these actions would place us among the worst of our impulses, and among some of the worst actors in United States history and gives us a start at being among the worst actors in human history.
On a similar note, in the Guardian I saw this headline: Nearly two-thirds of US young adults unaware 6m Jews killed in the Holocaust. I am the all-time skeptic of click-bait looking, fear mongering headline skipper, but I started to see people I trust posting this headline so I thought I should check it out. I went in expecting to see all kinds of methodological errors and some exaggerated writing, but in this case, the headline doesn’t do it justice. Deeper in the data, and more disturbing, is that nearly one quarter of my peers deny the Shoah (I personally prefer this term to Holocaust). This is unconscionable. The murder of millions based on no more than their etho-religious identity is not a crime that can be covered up. We should look into that time and then look into our souls and ensure it is not forgotten, nor distorted for personal gain, nor repeated.
Dear Christian friends, these are the times for which Jesus has called us into his family and fellowship. When we take the name of Christ, a demand is put on our lives to stand against these times and to stand against the amnesia of the world. These are the times for Jesus’ remembering, for his anamnesis. When drones drop bombs on civilians, we stand against it. When children are put in cages, we stand against it. When refugees have their humanity stripped away, we stand against it. When women are forcibly sterilized because their captors fear their humanity, we stand against it. When the worst, most ungodly atrocities are misappropriated or forgotten, we stand against it. We must remember the humanity of our friends and amplify their voices. We must remember the humanity of our enemies and call them to repentance. We must remember the pain and the scars, and we must remember that God is our healer.
When Jesus came to us as one of us, he literally stood against the power of the Roman Empire, picking up his cross, walking willingly to his death, trusting in God’s vindication. Now we who bear the name of Christ must become participant in his redeeming work. He told us that in order to follow him, we must pick up our cross, stand against the empire, and say “No More.” Saying, “No More” may not find us walking into our deaths, but if we stay silent, I promise, it will deaden our souls.
Dear Christian friends, will you join me in picking up your cross and saying “No More” today. No more to the powers of this world. No more the “That’s just the way things are.” No more to the wisdom of this world that cheapens human life and enriches the powerful. Will you join me in bearing the name of Christ? Will you join me in saying, “No More?”
Your brother in Christ,