The "Quiet" Christians
July 3, 2004
By Mary Pitt
In perusing newspapers and websites regarding current events, one would be led to believe that all Christians are right-wing Republicans and that all Democrats and "leftists" are Godless Communists. In fact, qiute the reverse is true. There are many in our nation who are devout Christians and are Democrats and Progressives by way of living their deeply-held beliefs.
One can understand why the "evangelicals" are attracting all the attention. They have, for years, striven to make their voices and their beliefs a major political force and have adopted a militant attitude in accomplishing this. Their major target is and has been the hands-off attitude of the government and the courts regarding abortion. They parade in the streets, picket and even bomb medical facilities which they suspect of performing abortions. Several medical professionals have been killed and maimed in their pursuit of forcing all Americans to abide by their religious beliefs. More recently, they have become militant about the attempted marriages among the gay population. To that end, they have influenced the Congress to pass the Defense of Marriage Act, but that is not enough to satisfy their urge for power over the personal lives of other citizens. Now they demand nothing less than a amendment to the Constitution. It appears that they consider legalistic fiat the only way the bring America to God.
On the other hand are the "Quiet Christians" who believe that they can lead others by example, by living their religion in quiet faith and service to their fellow man. Whereas the Evangelicals spend their time studying and expounding upon the caveats and prophecies of the Old Testament and Jewish Law as well as the dire projections into the future by the Book of Revelations, the Quiet Christians study the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and attempt to live according to His exhortations. "Love thy neighbor as thyself" is one of the primary lessons taught by Jesus, along with The Beatitudes. These modern-day followers of Christ are all too mindful of the answer by Jesus to those who would have made Him an earthly King, "My Kingdom is not of this world,"
One must remember that the Christians who actually followed with Jesus on His journeys of evangelism did live in communal groups and shared possessions, meager as they may have been. Jesus taught them that they must live under civil law while also abiding by the Higher Law regarding their personal behavior and aspirations. They were told that they should pay their taxes while not seeking after personal riches, to work for their sustenance while sharing with those who could not work, to maintain their bodies in healthful condition while healing those who suffered from ill health, to contstantly strive to conquer the evil that lived within themselves.
At no time did He tell his followers to commandeer the government of their nation and to pass laws to force others to live according to His commandments; rather His concern was that His followers concern themselves with their own souls, influencing others with their kindness and the serenity of their exemplary lives. Gone were the old laws requiring death or mutilation for specific sins; forgiveness and love were the new watchwords. His followers were expected to live circumspectly and to present themselves as an example of the kindness of a loving God.
This is not to say that all Quiet Christians are totally pacifist, rather that they are not in accord with violence for its own sake. They are quite capable of righteous indignation, which many are currently feeling at having their faith represented by hatred and war-mongering in the Name of God. Neither are they people who will march in lock-step at the command of any earthly leader, but are thoughtful people. They realize that any law which demands that a woman bear a child can also prohibit that woman from bearing children if she chooses and any law which allows a government to give money to church efforts can require the church to abide by governmental rules which may prohibit church practices or beliefs.
You will not see these Quiet Christians shouting prayers on the street corners or placing huge stones engraved with the Ten Commandments in public buildings, though you may see them, as ordinary citizens, marching on the streets with signs in opposition to what they consider an immoral and unjustified war. You will not see them accosting 13-year-old girls in front of abortion clinics, but you may see them, lovingly and forgivingly, counselling that same youngster to help her recover from her psychological trauma so that she can complete her growing-up process and get on with her life. You will see them marching to the polls in November and expressing their distaste for the behavior of this adminstration and its Evangelistic "compassionate conservative" leadership which has caused so much hate around the world toward Christians in general and so much agony among our own people, not only for the deaths of our youth in an unjust war but for the worsening fortune of the poor and afflicted in our own neighborhoods.
If there is a time for Quiet Christians to raise their voices in defense of their Lord and to allow their justified indignation to express itself, that time is now evident. It will not be done by shouting prayers on street corners as was done by the Sadducees and the Pharisees. It will not be done by "the sound of trumpets" with great fanfare. It will be done to the cadence of thousands of human feet, marching to the polls to cast their votes in favor of a kinder, gentler nation. And, God willing, we will prevail!