Stop Being Nice
by Jonas Weaver
Kind words aren’t enough. They never are.
Being nice is not the answer. It never has been.
Wanting justice, demanding justice, demanding fairness, these are good and right. And I get that in some contexts peacefulness may be the better part of valor, but nothing significant has changed by being nice and saying kind words. Christianity is no different.
Christians, me included, are guilty of making the bible soft. And, no, I refuse to argue that we make the bible soft by cushioning its’ truths. We soften the bible’s demands for justice and love. We soften the God who has a preferential option for the marginalized. Christians are too nice.
We tell people they’re loved by God even though they’re gay.
We tell people all will be made well in the end and racism will die the death that death died.
We tell transgender/gender non-conforming folks that they are loved and we’ll pray for them to love their bodies.
We tell these marginalized groups in America all these nice, trite, gentle words. But we ignore the bible.
Let’s recap for a second what the bible states regarding the oppressed:
From Amos 5: “There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes
and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.”
From Acts 8 a gender minority says: “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”
I need to listen to the voice of the prophets, demanding justice. I need to listen to a God who will cast down those in power because of God’s love for the oppressed. I need to listen to the God who sides with prostitutes, lepers, queers, ethnic minorities, and immigrants.
I need to listen for God’s voice in the cries of those the United States bombs.
I need to listen for God in the voice of trans women who are murdered for being women.
I need to listen for God in the voice of persons of colour who suffer violence against their bodies by the powers that be.
I need to listen.
And stop softening the bible.
If God loves trans folks: I need to fight for them. Fight the misgendering, fight the violence, fight for their recognition.
If God loves ethnic minorities: I need to fight racism, fight the structures of racism in communities, in my church. And shut up.
If God loves those we bomb: I need to stop simply praying, do something. Write my senator. Protest. Change how I think, vote, if I vote at all.
If God loves gay people: I need to fight for their rights as citizens of a country. Fight for their acceptance.
I’m convinced heaven will be full of queers and persons of colour teaching us what grace and beauty looks like. Heaven isn’t just for white, straight, cisgender people. Remember this.