Friday, February 27, 2015

God Seeks to Destroy Oppression - Christianity Seeks to Continue It

Ok, so perhaps the title of this post is a little untrue. At least, in theory. The first part is correct though. God does not want His people oppressed. In Exodus 3 we find God recognizing they are oppressed by the Egyptians and decides to lead them out of that oppression. In several other places, in both the Old and New Testaments, we find verses regarding oppression:

Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who are kind to the needy honor him. (Proverbs 14:31)
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9)

May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor. (Psalm 72:4)

do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another. (Zechariah 7:10)

Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be swift to bear witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired workers in their wages, the widow and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the alien, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:5)

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)
And I could come up with a few dozen more verses saying the same thing. We are not  to oppress anyone, and God is with the oppressed.

Christians Oppress

I apologize for anyone I offend with that statement. Well, actually, I don't apologize. Why? Because if you're offended, than you're most likely guilty of being an oppressor.

And now that I've probably had 1/3 of my readers close this article, and then other 1/3 head directly to the comments to leave some scathing response...

How many of you have witnessed someone doing any of the following (or been guilty yourself of any of the following)?

  • Blaming a woman for being raped? 
  • Blaming a woman for being physically or emotionally abused by her spouse?  
(note: Both of the above include thinking/saying "well if she hadn't been wearing that...", "if she hadn't been drinking...", "if she'd just obeyed him...", "why is she staying with him?"...)

  • Insisting that women cannot be Pastors, CEOs, in the military, etc.?
  • Told a young lady she needs to lose weight, or have long hair, or should dress prettier, or should wear (or not wear) makeup, or anything else, with the reason being "to attract a guy" or "get him to like you" or  "to avoid being an old cat-lady"?

  • Heard a story on the news about a crime (theft, murder, rape, etc), and immediately assumed the criminal was black? 
  • Heard a story about a cop shooting a black person and immediately assumed the victim "deserved it"? 

  • Saw a woman in the grocery store with a bunch of children, paying with an EBT card (food stamps), and figured she is jobless and purposefully living off the system? 
  • With the above, considered that she probably kept having more kids just so she could get more money? 
  • Saw a man with the woman and assumed he's a slacker?
  • Believed that her family should not continue receiving help from tax payers? 

  • Tried to deny rights to homosexuals? 
  • Tried to deny rights to illegal aliens? 

  • Walked across the street when coming up on a homeless person? 
  • Assumed that homeless person enjoys his life, and is only looking to spend any money he gets on booze? 

  • Snubbed any of the people listed above for who they are - female, poor, homosexual, homeless, black, etc? 
  • Felt that any of these people do not deserve certain rights you and I have? 
I could go on for several pages, but you get the idea. And, I will admit that, sadly, I am guilty of a couple of these.

But, back to Christianity seeking to continue oppression... 

I can't count how many arguments I've had with people regarding women and the Bible. Women cannot be pastors/preachers. Women must be submissive to man (and especially to husband). Women are to be at home barefoot and pregnant. Many Christians believe all of this. They do not recognize it as being oppressive - or, if they do, it's allowed because the Bible supposedly says so.

Homosexuals - we're not to have anything to do with them. They should not have the same rights as the rest of us. They cannot marry. They cannot raise children. I even had a couple people tell me that we should execute them all so as to protect the people of God. Again, these Christians do not see this as oppressive. They see it as our responsibility as Christians to deny homosexuals anything.

And as for poor people? Many Christians I have met and talked to believe that these people are only poor because they are lazy. God would bless them if they'd only try a little harder. God would pull them out of poverty if He thought they were worthwhile. And since they're still poor, obviously God does not see them as worthwhile, and therefore as Christians, we should not either.

Our "right" to oppress is NOT Biblical

I don't care how many times you quote what God sees as sinful - He never... EVER... gives us the right to oppress the rights of others based on who or what they are.  We are to always reach out in love and equality.

And, when we see others being oppressed, we need to speak out. None of us can truly be free in this world so long as others are being oppressed. 

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