could you please never mention your rights again?

I kind of hate Facebook.

I feel like this isn’t my first time mentioning. It’s probably worth mentioning again.

It provides so many great opportunities for community and ways to connect that have never been available before. But so often when I go on I leave feeling angry. I leave feeling frustrated and questioning so much of who I am.

I realize that seems a little much but it’ll make sense.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked people in my life “why do I go on Facebook?”

While I don’t like all of the “look at me” posts or attempts to cultivate some kind of image that may not be our true self, it’s not those that bother most. They may bring out my more judgmental side, but they don’t make me feel angry or question who I am.

I had been pondering what it was exactly and this election has made it crystal clear.

Facebook makes me not what to be a Christian. I want to follow Jesus and go to church and be in a community but Facebook makes me not want to identify myself as “Christian.”

And it’s not when people post things like “share this or you don’t love Jesus” or present faith and life with Christ in a way that I may disagree with. One that rejects things I find foundational to my current experience and expression of faith.

Facebook shows the ugliness of Christians. It’s on display and in full view of the world in a way that few other mediums seem to.

Over and over and over.

The rhetoric, the dehumanizing language, the stereotyping and fear mongering. It’s all there. The flippant way Jesus or church or faith is tossed into a conversation to end discussion. Used to demean and do nothing that looks at all like brining life.

But as I look more and more at why we speak this way, what is pushing it, I’ve noticed one idea that keeps coming back to the fore front.

Rights.

You’ll never guess, but I have an ever developing belief that may be controversial.

Shocker I know.

But once you get over the shock that I can and do hold a controversial opinion, I think you may find this one interesting. It’s raw and still forming so it may be different in the future, but today I am starting to really hate rights.

Specifically personal rights.

Even more specifically personal rights for Christians. To a large extent it’s the election that has brought some clarity to this every growing distain for personal Christian rights.

I can’t tell you the number of times where the moment I hear a Christian mention their rights, I just tune right out. I’m done, I’m out, whatever you have to say I cannot bring myself to hear. It’s just recently that I’ve noticed this is what I’m doing.

And I feel that way because invariably, whatever right of theirs they are touting or trying to make clear I understand, goes in contrast to Christ and is used as a way to justify something that is decidedly un-Christ like.

And it’s not the objective nature of the right. While your discussion of rights may be objectively right and better for the country or whatever reason you’re trying to argue, I’m still going to check out. Not because you’re wrong but because when you start with what you want, need, or in the case of a right are owed I just kind of stop caring.

You’re a Christian, you know what you deserve and are owed. You understand you are broken and without getting into too much theology here, deserving of something worse than what you believe God has now promised and given to you.

So when we start talking about our rights and what we deserve and how this will impact us I just can’t get on board.

If you start with the marginalized and the oppressed, the least of these, and advocate for how rights need to be distributed in a way that sees their personhood. In a way that begins to value them as much as the system currently values you, I’m in 100%. While the objective right you are arguing for may be the same, the starting point matters more to me than right itself. Like so much in the journey of faith, I feel like it speaks to the posture of our heart. That our push for personal rights shows a posture that doesn’t always look Christ like.

The reality is that while some times we’ll argue for the betterment of the least of these while we fight for our rights, in the majority of the situations we’ll argue to continue or increase the oppression of the least of these because it’s better for us. Mostly because I’ve done a horrible job of actually involving the least of these in my life so I see posts and ideas from those with all the power and privilege. My peers. People just like me.

Would we fight for free housing for the homeless? No because why do they get something I don’t. If they get free housing I have a right to a free house. Why do I have to pay for them?

Would we fight to bring restoration and healing to the aboriginal communities of our nation? Not if I have to give up something I think is mine. The land, the money, the power. They can’t have that, it’s my right.

And while you may have some kind of legal right here, you don’t have a right in Christ to it. You’re called to lay it all down for the other. To give up everything and follow his example. To love your enemy and to die to yourself.

All your rights are doing are being used to oppress and hold back someone else. I got into an argument with a person about how we should have the right to be discerning with who we sell to. He made the point that being discerning and discrimination aren’t the same thing but all the fancy linguistics in the world don’t change the fact that it was discrimination. But we should have that right he claims.

It’s the niqab, it’s refuges, it’s everywhere.

Our right to feel comfortable or define right for others, define our country in our image, says you must act like us in the way we want. We don’t need to listen, you need to conform to us.

Our right to safety outweighs their right to safety, so we can’t bring in more refuges. While many may be good people some could be terrorist so we can’t help like we should.

And it’s at this point I start to question my desire to be identified as a Christian because we don’t stop there. We take all of this a step further. It’s not just a polite discussion about our cultural heritage in Canada or a discussion of foreign policy as it relates to refuges. It’s not us trying to struggle though how our faith plays out in very complex messy real life situations. We start to reflect Satan more than Christ. We start to accuse and dehumanize.

It’s those people. We don’t want those people in our country. They need to stop being like those people before they come here. It’s those people who ruined our country. It’s those people who will ruin our country. It’s those people.

 Its fear and hate and creating monsters out of entire people groups because some of them have acted or differing beliefs, or simply the desire to have what we already have and take for granted.

And those people are everyone. It’s the Muslim community, it’s refuges, it’s the poor, its liberals or conservatives, it’s atheist, its fundamentalists, it’s literally anyone who is not exactly like us. It’s just rampant everywhere.

And so much birth out of some twisted belief that because I have a right and decisions to cling to and fight for it, no matter who it hurts.

None of this is born out of love, its fear and a desire to cling militantly to rights afforded to us by the kingdoms of this world not the Kingdom of God. We shouldn’t have any rights as Christians. I’m just so done with Christians and their stupid rights. Get over yourselves. We have all the rights already! Not to mention there is a fundamental difference in extending rights to others and removing yours.

No one is touching your rights that you shouldn’t even be fighting for in the first place! You’re supposed to love your enemy not build more structures to oppress and new ways to dehumanize them!

Just stop.

This push for our rights and the maintenance of our privileged means we are marked by hypocrisy, hate, and oppression. Just like Jesus was….

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3 thoughts on “could you please never mention your rights again?

  1. I’m so excited by this post. I’m excited that you, a white man is using your privilege in a way that is so contrary to our learned beliefs!! ❤

  2. Pingback: why you should never defend Jesus | love.grow.serve

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