So today I was browsing my Facebook feed when a friend had a status update with a link to an article about a pastor getting arrested in D.C. See it here.
Yes, the title of the blog post is: ”Prayer Made Illegal in Washington D.C.”
Now I understand the whole idea of making a title “catchy” so that it attracts readers, but blatant falsehood statements like this should not be coming from us as Christians. If we are called by God to bring the Good News to the world and to show the truth of God in our lives, it is my belief that we just end up discrediting ourselves if we “slant” the truth or just blatantly “lie” about a situation. If I were a non-Christian and read that title, I would be intrigued to read it, but then when I discovered the entire situation I don’t know if I would ever trust that persons assertions or arguments in the same way (and probably would be suspect of other Christians because of it).
Why am I making a big deal of this and taking the time to write this? Because, the agenda of some to make a persecution story out of anytime a Christian has a run in with the state ends up making true items of persecution lose some of their impact. (see the great story of the Little Boy who Cried Wolf).
In the story the pastor who is arrested is trying to make a point. He objects to the fact that Planned Parenthood facility was trying to keep him from interacting with people who were going into their establishment and so they got permission to build a fence and then hung a “No Trespassing” sign to try and keep people off of the sidewalk. According to the story the pastor knows that the designation of the sidewalk has not changed from public to private (according to him, I don’t know personally) and so he was asserting his right to be on public property and pray and read scripture. That is fine. But the issue of his arrest (which he consented to and was very congenial and non-violent and told the crowd to do the same….all the while saying that the issue would be addressed via public statement and a desire to get a national outcry….a method I commend) was not about him praying. The police arrested him because of the questions over trespassing. (whether it was really trespassing or not).
For the blogger to then go and title the post dealing with this subject as he did, he ends up detracting from the actual issue (which is the pro-life debate and how people deal with trying to witness to the importance of life) and tries to make it seem like a persecution of Christians issue.
I believe that as Christian’s we have an obligation to speak the truth, there is no flirting the ambiguities of situations, etc. We know that situations aren’t black and white and that in every context there is a myriad of viewpoints and reasons and if we want to speak to injustices and speak to the truth of God and the Good News, then we need to communicate in a way that does not lead to false belief. (I say this because I have now seen links and comments that talk about the government attacking prayer and outlawing it and then a whole debate about how if it was a person of Islamic faith this wouldn’t have happened…all which is not true and comes from the beginning falsehood title).