We have to face the facts—America is fueled with more hatred than ever before (even though it never really left to begin with). In 2016, a president was elected by means of perpetuating hate and ignorance not only in light of actual policy, but of people.
We currently have a president in office who believes that is okay to ostracize minorities in the United States, which in turn, gives his followers reason to believe that it also acceptable for them to exert the same kind of behavior. In the year following Trump’s election, hate crimes increased by 17 percent according to the New York Times, and have steadily increased each year since. It is also important to keep in mind that a vast amount of hate crimes go unreported, so the percentage may actually be a lot higher than what is reported.
As a Christian, I am appalled by the mass mistreatment of other people groups. I also believe that all Christians are not doing everything that they can to rectify this issue, but instead are using their privilege to avoid it (I am primarily referring to white Christians).
When we look at the Bible and look at Jesus’ life, we see a son of God who embraced the ostracized: The poor, tax collectors, prostitutes and even the disabled. When we look at the Bible, we see a son of God who loves all kinds of people for who they are, their identities and all. Jesus told us to “love thy neighbor”, so what does it say about Christians if we condone hateful behavior towards other human beings? Are we really following Jesus’ example?
In light of the recent case of Jussie Smollett, who staged his own hate crime, we have to be sure not to discredit the experiences of minorities. His actions are not to be condoned, however, we have to make sure not to invalidate the experiences of others as well.
It is important to remember that Jussie Smollett does not represent all hate crime victims, and Christians, nor should anyone, use him as an excuse to ignore or protest other instances of hate crimes. When victims come forward, we should always believe them. Most of the time when Black LGBT people come forward, they are not believed. Jussie Smollett may make it harder for victims to come forward and be believed, but the truth of the matter is that not enough of us try to hear the stories of the marginalized to begin with. This is something that everyone in the country can improve on, as well as Christians.
In order for more people to feel safe in America and the world, Christians have a responsibility to step up and use their privilege for change. If you are a Christian and these acts of injustice are not bothering you, or making you twitch, are you really a Christian? Can you honestly call yourself a follower of Jesus Christ, a person who stood against injustices like these during his whole lifetime, and sit still? I know I can’t.
Sources: New York Times