Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Why Such Silence?
I have been so distraught over the relentless targeting of civilians by Israeli forces. I see the faces of Palestinian children in my dreams and every morning I wake up Gaza has been the first thing on my mind. Perhaps I am being naive, but I really am in shock that the international community, especially the US, is allowing such atrocities to continue without forcing Israel to stop dropping bombs on innocent civilians.
What I find equally if not more disturbing is the silence of the church regarding the massacres taking place in Gaza. I've seen clergy promoting books and church programs on facebook, but not mention a word about Gaza. Israel bombs UN shelters full of women and children in Gaza and the church largely has nothing to say about it. Why? Why the silence?
Christians are the only people in the world who proclaim a crucified Savior. We believe that God is most clearly revealed among the poor and oppressed, not the rich and the powerful. Liberation theologian Jon Sobrino refers to all people who suffer unjustly as "the crucified people". What does it mean to proclaim a crucified Savior but ignore the suffering of the crucified people? Why does the church fail to recognize the Palestinians as a crucified people? They have been stripped of their homeland by force, occupied by a military regime, trapped in ghettos and refugee camps, stripped of their right of self determination and basic human rights in general, for no other reason than living on land coveted by others with superior military force. As if living in a concentration camp were not enough, now the people of Gaza must be bombed as well.
To be silent in the face of such injustice is sin and a betrayal of Jesus himself. We are our brother's keeper. We are our sister's keeper. We cannot pick and choose who we will defend if we are to be authentic to the way of Jesus. We must stand up for the crucified people wherever they appear, whether in Gaza, Syria or the urban ghetto. I have never been as disappointed with church as I am now, so slow to move, so slow to take notice, so slow to act, so wrapped up in its own agenda. A church that proclaims a crucified Savior but turns its back on crucified people has lost its way and is of no use to the world.
The world doesn't need more church services. The world needs people who will lay their lives on the line for the sake of justice and the liberation of the oppressed. The world needs people who refuse to be silent in the midst of atrocities and will fight for what's right regardless of what it might cost them. If the church turns its back on Gaza then it has turned its back on Jesus. Make no mistake about it, we cannot call ourselves the people of God without taking up the cause of those who suffer unjustly. There is no room for us in the kingdom of God if we do otherwise.
Following The Way,