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THE NEED FOR COURAGE
THE NEED FOR COURAGE
By Sheng Hu
The greatest lack in the conversation about social justice today is no longer exegesis. Among the evangelical intelligentsia, all the back-and-forth regarding this issue has been laid bare. What is lacking is the courage to speak the truth. There are plenty of Christians who are afraid to speak up against social justice. And recently, more and more leaders have caved in, even those who do not actually believe in social justice.
I hear a lot of rhetoric today about how we need to “speak up for the voiceless” and to “stand up for the powerless.” I absolutely agree with this statement. However, this is applied – without exception – to those with less privilege on the economic and historical axis (i.e. people of color, especially blacks). There are two problems with this. First, we do not live in the 18th century. History has shown over and over again that those who have no power can gain power and those with power can lose it overnight.
Second, power is not univariate. Power can operate across multiple axes. For example, a 250-pound athlete has more physical power over the average human. A billionaire has more financial power over the average employee at his company. A beautiful woman at a party has sexual power over the men who want to date her. It is not uncommon to see an unattractive, but rich, man in a marriage where the wife wears the pants. Money is not the only avenue of power.
There is an obvious truth that no one is willing to admit out loud: the heterosexual white man, for all of his economic, historical, and demographic privileges, is the most voiceless and powerless person in the current cultural milieu regarding any civil discourse pertaining to race. If a white man disagrees with the political ideologies of the radical leftists and Black Lives Matter agenda, he is instantly labeled a racist, or a sexist, or a homophobe, or xenophobe (the list always grows with time). This happens both outside the church and inside the church. The only difference is that in the church, we’re nicer about it. We don’t call him an outright racist, merely “insensitive” and “unloving.”
No matter how much biblical and statistical data he procures, the white man is only correct in so far as he has an intersectional figure standing behind him agreeing with him. The white man can say the exact same thing as an intersectional figure, but his testimony carries half the weight. Funny enough, this rather reminds me of Jesus in his days, when women’s testimonies counted for half that of a man’s. And Jesus wanted nothing to do with that. Dishonest exegetes love to misapply this example to say that God favored women as if we share the exact same context as first-century Israel. God does not favor women over men, or Gentiles over Jews. God wants impartiality for everyone. In Jesus’ days, it just so happens that women and Gentiles faced partiality. In today’s public square, it is not women and Gentiles, but the cis-gendered, heterosexual, white man.
I used to get frustrated at white evangelical leaders for not speaking up against the social justice issue. But I no longer do so. They are intimidated. They are scared. They do not check enough of the intersectional boxes to speak up for themselves. But perhaps I do. Whatever anyone else dares to boast about- I am speaking as a fool- I also dare to boast about. Are they oppressed by the white man? So am I. The largest lynching in America was against the Chinese in 1871 in LA California. Are they Marxists? So was I. Born and raise in Communist China, I was bowing to Mao and Marx since I was a kid. Are they woke? I was more. I went to, very possibly, the most liberal college in America (my girlfriend at the time opened for Gloria Steinem at a feminist conference! I wasn’t converted at this point in my life).
To my Asian brothers and sisters (though not exclusively to them, feel free to wear the shoe if it fits), many of you know what’s really happening today in America. Many of you know what’s happening to our churches. You know that movements like BLM and the leftist ideologies are infiltrating into the church. But you just don’t want to call it out. And you make various excuses for staying silent.
“Oh, it’s a nuanced issue! There are good things that they affirm!” Yes, there are some. Is there racism in America? Yes, there is. [But whatever racism there is needs to be founded on disparate actions toward different groups, not disparate results.] The ideologies that stand behind this push for “social justice” is not biblical, it is secular. The overall movement is a trojan horse. Just because you can agree with some end goals of these movements does not mean that you should fuel the fire that will ultimately enslave an entire nation to a godless worldview. You cannot, out of agreement for 30% of a movement, support or enable the other 70% that is completely wrong and unbiblical. At best, to do so is to obtain a temporary goal while giving up the entire fabric of Christian-Judeo ethical program for our churches and our nation. You trade your birthright for a pot of stew.
I see so many church statements now that try to “tread the line.” Leaders will post black squares on their Facebook, so people on the left will let them alone. But then they’ll qualify their support for the BLM organization itself, and thus people on the right will let them alone too. Leaders vaguely “stand with the oppressed” without ever willing to go into details about what that means. Then they qualify their objection to the violent aspects of the protests. It’s like you want to have your cake and eat it too. Do you even care about the issue at all? Or are you simply just interested in not being bothered so you can just go home at night and binge-watch the next episode of your favorite Netflix show?
There is nuance within individual cases of police shootings, granted. But if we’re talking about the underlying ideological battles taking place in the spiritual realm, the lines could not be any clearer. Are we going to affirm a systematic worldview founded on God’s word, or on a socialistic worldview founded on equality of outcome with little to no regard for individual agency? There are only two sides. Whatever nuances have to be qualified into the worldview after the basic ideological foundations are set in place.
Here’s another excuse: “This really isn’t about us. Racial tension is between whites and blacks. Maybe I should just sit this one out.” No one says it like this, but that’s how many Asian Christians feel. I know because I have felt the same temptation. With all due respect, this thought is so theologically pathetic and historically illiterate that I need to respond with my PC [political correctness] filter off…
They’re coming for you next.
The entire ideology is not really about white vs blacks. It’s about privilege vs less-privilege. It just so happens that white people have the largest portion of the pie… for now. They’re coming for the white people, and after that, they will come for the Jews, then they will come for you.
Let’s not forget the words of Martin Niemoller, the German pastor who sat out during the Nazi’s rise to power:
"They came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."
“White” does not mean skin color anymore, folks. “White” simply means those who disproportionately benefit from the American social-political machinery more than other groups, i.e. the rich. You think the leftists don’t know that Asians go to most of the elite schools in this country?? And even if they let you off because you’re a POC [person of color], they will come for you because you’re a Christian. They will come for you because you believe in traditional marriage. They will come for you because you believe in the nuclear family. They will come for you because you believe in two-sexes. They will come for you because Cultural Marxism and Christianity do not mix like water and oil do not mix. And this is true for black and brown Christians who do not toe the line either.
Many reading this now will not agree with my analysis of America, and will probably be angry. I hold no grudge for those who in good conscience disagree with me, and I think Christian integrity demands that we show patience in the form of civil discourse. I trust in God’s sovereignty to work everything for the good of those who love him.
Many reading this know what I’m writing is true. And you want to stand up for the truth. But you just don’t want to be called a racist, or a twinkie, or an Uncle Tom. You’re afraid to speak up. Or you don’t know how to say it. Or you’ve allowed the truth to be suppressed at the hands of a thousand qualifications. Or you’re afraid of losing friendships that you hold to dearly. I get it. I sympathize with you. I’m not suggesting that anyone go Rambo on twitter or on your social media. But at the very least, you cannot shirk from what you believe. And if you’re a leader, you do have a responsibility at the very least to your own circle of influence (esp. your church and small group).
I’m also going to keep it real with you: I’m not optimistic about where our country is headed. I cannot say that this is the beginning of the great apostasy in 2 Thess. 2:3. But I also cannot tell you that you won’t eventually get put in a concentration camp at some point. You might be killed. You will definitely be silenced. Christianity is not for the faint of heart. But those who endure to the end will gain their lives.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matt. 5:11
As for those leaders who know the truth but purposely choose to shirk from their prophetic duties, who affirm truths only when it’s convenient, who selectively give disproportionate weight to certain truths, who peddle half-truths, who massage every ounce of biblical truth with a pound of sociological citations, and fear the disapproval of the world more than the disapproval of God, do remember these words:
But to the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and sexually immoral and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death.” [Rev. 21:8]