Dear Asian Youth,
Growing up with Filipino immigrant parents in a Christian Catholic household, my parents made sure that I learned the religious ideals and traditions with which they were raised. While I admit I’m not the most devout Christian, I still attend church during major holidays and pray before meals and most nights. My mom and dad would always tell me that as Christians, we must always love and forgive though it can be hard for us at times, which is why I think I have a diplomatic nature and don’t usually hold grudges. Staying humble and gracious is also another personality trait that Christians are taught to have, so I don’t really like to brag about my achievements if it's unnecessary.
However, this doesn’t mean xenophobia isn’t present in the Christian community. Making up 34% of the world and a whopping 73.7% in America alone, Christianity is clearly a dominating religion that billions identify with. But in America, or more fittingly, white Christian America, its prevalence plays a role in why this country is filled to the brim with brainwashed “believers” who base their lives around twisted concepts of Christianity. I’m sure that a lot of us have seen posts on social media that display angry Christians using the Bible or God as an excuse for their blatant intolerance, whether it's justifying racism by using the Lord’s name in vain or yelling at others who have differing beliefs from themselves.
Ranging from homophobia to opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement, Christianity is distorted in many ways to justify these terrible ideas. One of the most controversial topics is the debate of whether or not the Bible states that being gay, or simply being a part of the LGBTQ+ community, is a sin. Some sources cite that it doesn’t, since sexuality wasn’t an understood concept during this time, while others state apparent quotes from the Bible that prove otherwise. An example of this would be from Leviticus 8:22, which says, “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.”
Despite this uncertainty, people nonetheless find some way to abuse it, which is so incredibly frustrating to witness. Using sexual orientation or gender identity as a reason for your judgment is utterly disrespectful, especially since this doesn’t harm yourself or anyone. Yet, many Christians still belittle others—yelling and harassing LGBTQ people just because of who they are attracted to (which, keep in mind, they cannot control). Christianity is supposed to be centered around loving yourself and those around you, and by committing these actions and simultaneously claiming that one is a Christian is utterly hypocritical. Stop using Christianity as a scapegoat for your inability to tolerate the fact that people’s sexualities and gender identities aren’t just black and white, they are a rainbow.
Another significant negative belief that many Christians hold is racial apathy, aka “color-blindness,” which has led to the prevalence of the All Lives Matter “movement” in Christian communities. The central idea of “loving and forgiving everyone” has been twisted to mean that everyone is treated the same and all mistakes are easily forgiven. As a result, this causes people to not see the battles that different races face, leading to this notion of color-blindness. This, of course, is definitely not the case when it comes to systemic racism, as it simply sweeps issues of race under the rug, therefore exacerbating them even further. Keep in mind, this concept is a very deep-rooted problem, which is why it is so difficult to address. Colonialism was often disguised as missionary trips in the 19th and 20th centuries, with an example being Spanish colonialism playing a huge part in why Catholicism is so ingrained into Filipino identity. Sadly, this also has carried over to modern-day society. It implies that Christianity is a superior religion, and the fact that privileged Christians are posting pictures from Africa with poor, malnourished children with captions about “God’s work” and how they “count their blessings” completely invalidates the struggles disadvantaged people face.
These mindsets may mistakenly perpetrate the idea of disregarding ethnic identification, which means terms like “BIPOC” or any ethnic title are rendered meaningless. The idea of focusing on racism, and frankly just race in general is viewed as “unheavenly”, and the approach of advocating for justice and equality is often misinterpreted as sinful actions. In short, we’re all the same, sharing a common thread of being simply human. As much as I wish everyone in this world were treated as equals and had equal opportunities, that is simply not the case, which is why this ideology is detrimental to movements like Black Lives Matter. It causes Christians who do hold these beliefs to have this toxic understanding that racial injustices don’t exist, which completely disregards the existence of white privilege and the disadvantages marginalized communities have faced for centuries. Though it will be difficult, it is crucial that we educate those who hold such notions, because discrimination does exist and the first step to change is recognizing that. So stop using Christianity as your excuse to turn a blind eye to racial inequality and invalidate those who have experienced them.
Obviously, Christians who take part in these actions and spread them are clearly not grasping what Christianity promotes in the first place. Love, acceptance, humility, selflessness: all core attributes that Christians are taught and should strive to have. But asserting oneself over another because of their so-called “superior beliefs” and belittling others for their personal interests and decisions definitely does not align with these qualities. Someone else being gay doesn’t make them inferior to you just because you are Christian. Someone else talking about the obstacles they face as a person of color doesn’t warrant you responding to them just to say that their problems don’t exist. You can instead be proud of people who muster enough courage to come out with their sexuality, or you can even educate yourself about the racism ingrained into our society to help you better understand why people are so vocal about racial barriers. In short, you can’t call yourself a Christian if all you are going to do is manipulate its teachings to satisfy your selfish needs.
It is important to understand that Christianity at its core is not a terrible religion; I would be denouncing both my and my family’s beliefs, and that is not my intention at all. Rather, I am explaining that Christianity’s foundation should not be molded into a weapon that only helps a one-sided case. Nonetheless, there is truly no excuse for being an ignorant and intolerant person, especially in a society that is ever-changing and filled with billions of different people who daily share and contradict each other’s thoughts. Being a good Christian, and quite frankly a good person involves having kindness and tolerance within oneself and acting upon it without hesitation.
To be honest, there have been countless moments where I have felt ashamed to be a Christian. It’s embarrassing seeing people who put Bible quotes in their social media bios, only to watch them be exposed for their ignorant racism. But in the end, I make sure to remember that these people don’t represent me or the Christian community as a whole, and the steps we take to educate those who misuse the lessons from Christianity are crucial in changing how this religion is viewed.
I cannot emphasize this enough: Stop using Christianity as your excuse to be a terrible person.