Oppressors on the Margins

Oppressors - Liberty Counsel

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Turn your eyes upon Jesus…

The white gaze.

The male gaze.

The Christian gaze.

You know this one — it’s the averted gaze. The gaze supposedly defined by purity and nobility. The one where you look away from the sins of the world so that you might look full in his wonderful face.

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim…

Come in close for a second. We need to talk about this dimness, about the shadows. There are dangerous people among us. You know this. They lurk in our churches. They lie in wait for us, their unsuspecting victims. They pose a threat to our freedoms, and people need to be protected from them. You know who I’m talking about, right? You’ve been watching the news. You know.

And you know that what we get angry about matters. Who we center matters. Who we look at matters.

There is power in visibility, but there is also power in invisibility. What has been visible are the ‘bathroom bills’. What has been largely invisible until now is who has been behind it, namely Liberty Counsel (check out this 10 Things You Should Know About The Liberty Counsel), and people like Mathew Staver and Scott Lively. They are the dangerous people among us. They are the ones ‘drafting bills, advising lawmakers and defending clients {like Kim Davis}’. They tell us we should shield ourselves against each other. Protect ourselves from each other. Their goal is for us to hate each other. The dangerous ones are not the ones who want to go to the bathroom comfortably, or marry who they want, or work in a safe environment. The dangerous ones are not the ones who want to live freely in society. No, the dangerous ones are Liberty Counsel and their lackeys. 

They are the ones posing the threat.

These people move in power. They live in the shadows, thrive in fear. They are the oppressors on the margins. And they are getting more people to join them, to spread beyond the edges. This is bigger than bathrooms. This is about an organization whose agenda is to pit people against each other. They want us to join them, to be dangerous to people who are different from us. And it’s so easy to do. But that’s not what Jesus was about. We know this. 

Does our happiness, the beauty of our cities, the tenderness of our friendships really depend on people’s abominable misery?1 Does the success of our society rest on ignorant exclusion rooted in fear and hate?

Our eyes need to be centered on the margins. On both the people neglected there and those who exploit the averted gaze. Maybe turning our eyes upon Jesus means looking these oppressors full in the face. Maybe it means we need to see who is capitalizing on fear, who is using the legal system to erase the tensions and nuances that simmer in these hard conversations that so many of us are having. 

Open the eyes of my heart Lord, I want to see you.

Christians can be so concerned with our vision. And we are often so concerned with ourselves, with what we think is good and true and noble. But Liberty Counsel’s aim is steady and their sight is clear. Reducing them to ‘fringe’ ignores their very real impact. When we don’t dig deep in ourselves and in our laws, we don’t realize how we are dehumanizing people. These laws put people in a glass case, like an object in a museum. They are viewed as oddities to be gazed at from a distance, the information on a card next to them rendering them inanimate, unreal. ‘LGBT’.

Be Thou my vision.

Who are you looking at? What laws and policies are you supporting, and why? Who are you holding accountable, and who is influencing your thoughts?

Naught be all else to me, save that thou art.

There are Christians who want to reflect him so badly that they hinge salvation on that reflection. They weigh themselves down with the seriousness of faith. And then find themselves piling millstones on millstones. Supporters of these bills are so earnest. Some of them want to do the right thing. Some of them are afraid of what they don’t know. And some of them are filled with hate. But none of them are looking to the margins. They aren’t looking towards those who are being excluded, kicked out, or killed because of it.

It makes me wonder.

Who do they think Jesus looks like, anyways?

 

1 The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas

Caris Adel

Caris Adel

Writer at Caris Adel
Caris is passionate about justice, history, and how they intertwine (or so often don't, as the case may be). She is pursuing a degree in American Studies and Public History, and while she can often be found with a book in her face and a coffee in hand, she also spends some of her time homeschooling her 5 kids.
Caris Adel
  • Wow, Caris, thought provoking as usual. Thank you for reminding us to look into the face of Jesus. If we all could do that we could have the hard conversations rather than just make laws based on fear or power, etc. Maybe if we looked into the face of Jesus we would have more compassion and try to understand and work through differences. Blessings to you!