As an Asian-American activist, I must constantly negotiate what it means to be a woman faith leader – all while challenging misconceptions of the “model minority myth” and the “otherization” of my identity in a dominant culture that often sees anything other than whiteness as foreign, exotic, or suspect. And yet, I know that my experiences do not pale in comparison to the hardships of those experienced within the greater sisterhood.
What does the birth of the baby Jesus 2,000 years ago have to offer the violent, troubled world we live in? Or what would Jesus say to the NRA?
I want to suggest — a lot. A whole lot.
Jesus entered the world from a posture of absolute vulnerability — as an unarmed, innocent child during a time of tremendous violence. The Bible speaks of a terrible massacre as Jesus was born, an unspeakable act of violence as King Herod slaughters children throughout the land hoping to kill Jesus (which the church remembers annually as the massacre of the Holy Innocents).
Perhaps the original Christmas was marked more with agony and grief like that in Connecticut than with the glitz and glamour of the shopping malls and Christmas parades. For just as Mary and Joseph celebrated their newborn baby, there were plenty of other moms and dads in utter agony because their kids had just been killed.
From his birth in the manger as a homeless refugee until his brutal execution on the Roman cross, Jesus was very familiar with violence. Emmanuel means “God with us.” Jesus’s coming to earth is all about a God who leaves the comfort of heaven to join the suffering on earth. The fact that Christians throughout the world regularly identify with a victim of violence — and a nonviolent, grace-filled, forgiving victim — is perhaps one of the most fundamentally life-altering and world-changing assumptions of the Christian faith. Or it should be.
So what does that have to do with the NRA? Underneath the rhetoric of the gun-control debate this Christmas is a nagging question: are more guns the solution to our gun problem?
It’s not always the case that the gospel is at stake in a Senate debate. But this week it is. Starting yesterday, on Ash Wednesday, the United States Senate engaged in a debate with enormous moral stakes for who we are as a nation, and it is the moral obligation of Christians in this country to get involved.
There is enormous public support for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) from the American people. According to a poll released by CBS News in the past week, “nearly 9 in 10 Americans (87%) favor allowing young immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children to remain in the U.S.” This number includes 79 percent of Republicans, 92 percent of Democrats, and 87 percent of independents who favor the policy.
Donald Trump’s hateful words spoken in the Oval Office have been now been heard around the world and may be among the most ugly and harmful words to ever come from the White House of the United States of America. The people of America and around the world have heard that Trump asked, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” The “shithole” countries named were those in Africa, as well as Haiti and El Salvador — places from which he didn’t want more people to come to America. Instead he said he would like more people from “places like Norway.” The message, about the color of skin the people Trump wants and doesn’t want in America, was clear.