When Phil Robertson, the patriarch on the reality TV show “Duck Dynasty,” made comments about homosexuality in December 2013, many people, mainly Christians, rose to defend him, claiming that he has a right to express his beliefs.
When Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy reaffirmed his belief in March 2014 that homosexuality is wrong, he also received resounding support from Christians around the nation, touting his right to freedom of speech.
A few weeks ago, the city of Houston came under fire for subpoenaing sermons from local pastors. People cried that these pastors were being attacked for their beliefs.
Last week, Arnold Abbott, 90, was arrested after feeding the homeless in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Many people, not just Christians, have argued, saying the rules against feeding the homeless are wrong.
These are just a few examples of how people, especially Christians, rise to defend against perceived wrongs in our society. Cathy and Robertson are public figures who claim the Christian faith. For many Christians, it’s only right to defend their fellow believers. However, the way they defend the faith may be causing more problems than solutions.
While defending the faith is part of a Christian lifestyle, it is not the main objective. The Christian voice seems to ring loudest when Christians have been wronged in some way. This is ultimately the issue.
Christians are called to do so much more than just tweet a quick statement supporting Robertson.
They are called to love. They are called to give. They are called to be faithful. They are called to spread the Gospel. While supporting fellow Christians could spread the Gospel, it might actually hurt it more.
Statements like those from Cathy and Robertson generate backlash from those who disagree. This is nothing new. However, instead of such statements opening a door for conversation, they tend to build walls between opposing camps. These walls are solid and the only communication, if it can be called communication at all, are shouting matches between those of opposing views.
Instead of building these walls, there are other things Christians could do to spread the Gospel and serve others. There are bigger problems in the world than arguing over whether someone is trying to stifle a Christian voice or not.
In both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, there are verses about tithing to the church. The traditional amount to tithe is 10 percent of an income. According to a Relevant Magazine article “What Would happen if the Church Tithed?”, if every believer gave 10 percent of his or her income to the church, then there would be $165 billion for churches to use and distribute. The article quotes several stunning statistics.
Just $25 billion could relieve global hunger, starvation and deaths from preventable diseases.
In five years, illiteracy could be eliminated with $12 billion.
The world’s water and sanitation issues would be solved with $15 billion.
There are more numbers like this quoted in the article. Of course, tithing is an often overlooked aspect of the Christian faith. But it’s there.
According to the website Promise686, an organization dedicated to encouraging families to adopt, if 1 percent of Christians in the U.S. adopted one child, then there would be no more children to adopt in the U.S. and about a million more children from abroad who would have families. There are also 9,000 foster children in Georgia and more than 10,000 churches. If each church helped financially support one foster family, according to Promise686, then, “the foster care crisis would be solved.”
According a Pew Research Center study, 31.5 percent of the world is Christian. That means there are about 2.2 billion Christians in the world. There are 153 million orphans in the world, according to the World Orphans website. With these numbers, if about 7 percent of the world’s Christians adopted, then all the world’s orphans would have a family.
Of course, these aren’t problems that only Christians can help solve. No, these are problems that everyone, no matter your faith, should be aware of and should be willing to contribute a solution toward.
People are quick to speak out against someone who offends them. They have that right. But shouldn’t we be just as quick to offer to help other people? In this world, especially in the U.S., it’s easy to get caught up in the latest scandal. This is where the media comes in.
As seen with the Ice Bucket Challenge, people can rally to support a cause. However, that cause needs to be publicized. If the media gives more attention toward remarks like those from Robertson or Cathy, then people will tend to give more attention toward them as well.
What if the media, which is a powerful communication tool, pointed toward the real problems of the world? It would be revolutionary.
We can hope that people would hear the call to give and serve. Some people will simply read this, think “interesting” or “someone else can do that” and move on. Some people will step up to actually give of their time or money.
So, the next time some public figure says something offensive, before you defend or argue with them, consider what is a better use of your resources. What speaks louder about your faith?
James 2:26 from the Bible states, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead” (NIV).