After all, it may be June but as I write this, a thick and seemingly impenetrable layer of clouds obscures what should be a mainstay this time of year: the sun. I suppose it’s harmless to complain about the weather especially since we have no control over it and the topic itself serves to fill the awkward silence that comes during the course of everyday conversation.
Some complaints aren’t so benign, however. And maybe it’s not the complaints themselves that are the biggest problem. It’s what comes all too often when the complaining is over: nothing.
My disdain for this condition comes from all my years sitting in church and perhaps even more so, as I slurped down the endless mystery casseroles offered at the after-church potluck. Between the green beans bathed in cream of mushroom soup, comes the usual recount of the many social ills that have befallen our country. Whether the topic is abortion, poverty, our seemingly Godless government or homosexuality, a common theme always prevails – a swath of intoxicating and immoral darkness has settled over our nation.
In some respects, I, too, share a genuine concern for the well-being of our culture. People are hungry and homeless. Children are living in broken and abusive homes. Anyone can make these observations – they’re obvious ones to make. Sadly, fewer actually translate these observations into tangible and sincere action and no one group is guiltier of this offense than the people within today’s Christian church. At the same time, I am keenly aware of Christians who work diligently at putting their faith into action by helping those in need.
Simply put, their convictions aren’t defined by the latest Sarah Palin Facebook post. And perhaps most importantly, they have steered away from the fallacy, which has leeched into today’s Evangelical Christian Church – that to be a good Christian means being a good Republican. Unfortunately, today’s Christian Church has haplessly blurred the lines between faith and politics. In doing so, they decry so-called big government and its approach to helping those in need.
The result of such attitudes leads to discriminatory viewpoints, which, in the end, harms those who need compassion the most – children.
In 2008, according to the Adoption and Foster Care Reporting and Analysis System, some 463,000 children were in foster care. While people from all walks of life have stepped in to be foster parents, the need for such persons far exceeds the means. What is more, like all social programs, funding for foster children was slashed.
Amid all of this, gay and lesbian couples from around our state have heeded the call and opened their homes to these children. In doing so, one might expect gratitude for such a selfless act. Instead, some Christians only offer scorn in return. Hiding behind the vestiges of theology and fear, some self-proclaimed disciples of Jesus’ love shun the love that others choose to give so freely and instead seize the opportunity to magnify and complain about the supposed immorality of children being raised by same-sex couples.
Even more troubling than their admonishments is that they, being good GOPers and Christians, oppose increased spending for such programs all while keeping their doors comfortably shut to not only these children but also to the opportunity to be authentic vessels of faith in both word and deed.
Shawn Murinko is the state Department of Transportation’s ADA compliance officer and serves as a commissioner on the state Human Rights Commission. A member of The Olympian’s Diversity Panel, Murinko, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.