I, like millions of people, have been following the story of Meriam Yehya as it has unfolded through the last few weeks. Meriam Yehya is the Sudanese woman who has been sentence to death for being a Christian. I first saw the story as it crossed by Twitter feed, and then I read more in a Christianity Today article. CT has since updated the initial story and as I am writing now (Friday, May 30, 2014) CNN has the story of Meriam on its homepage.
Needless to say, the story of Meriam Yehya has brought international attention to the fate of one woman in the midst the persecution of millions of innocent men and women- men and women who’s only crime is that they believe that Jesus is God’s only Son.
I don’t want to belittle the seriousness of the situation but sometimes I wonder why one person draws an international reaction when hundreds, thousands, even millions of others do not?
Is one life more important than another when it comes to raising awareness? What makes one life more important than another?
As Christians, where is our theology of personhood?
It’s not a popular question but it’s one we see play out over and over within the world. Why does one child starve while another receives aid? Why do we care about one kind of injustice but not another kind? Why does one death sentence bother us and another death sentence does not?
As Christians, where is our theology of personhood? We attack this group because of their stance on this issue. We hate this other group because they are attacking our “freedoms” or beliefs. We argue and fight among ourselves because one group sees God and Scripture through one lens while another group sees God and Scripture through another lens. We care and speak out when a Christian faces death (as well we should) but we don’t speak out when a Muslim, or Hindu, or Atheist faces death. Or have we forgotten the words of Jesus, “Love your enemies.” Love cannot see anyone facing hatred, persecution and death and fail to take a stand against it.
Love cannot see anyone facing hatred, persecution, and death and fail to take a stand against it.
However, for us in America, taking a stand against hatred, persecution and death are hard because they often occur in places around the globe where we have never been or where we cannot go. So what can we do? One of the ways we can stand against death and stand for life is by watching the things we say- especially the jokes we tell. The things we say about people and groups of people and the jokes we tell about people and groups of people turn them into the “other,” the “different,” and the “strange.” When that happens we can look the other way or remain in ignorance at the life and death struggles of people- people made by God and made in the image and likeness of God.
If there is anything Christians should stand for it should be life- all life.
If there is anything Christians should attack, hate, argue against and fight is death- all death.
If there is anything Christians should be aware of, it’s people- all people.
© Ryan Vanderland 2014