An Open Letter to American Christians

Dear American Christians,

Let me start off by saying- I love you.  The Quran teaches Muslims that Christians and Jews are our brothers and sisters in faith, and for that reason I love you and respect your beliefs.  I want to make it clear that I do not hate you, and I do not mean to insult or offend you- but I have to put my foot down.

  You are privileged.

  Particularly white American Christians.

  I’m not angry at you for being privileged, I myself spent the majority of my life under this demographic.  I still enjoy 75% of my white privilege despite my hijab, since I am whiter than mayonnaise.  Your privilege is not because you as an individual made it that way, therefore I cannot be upset with you for that.

  I am upset because you don’t recognize your privilege.

  Not all of you are ignorant of your privilege.  Many of you are very aware of it and are grateful for it every day- using it for good and not to harm others.  So this letter may not be aimed directly at you.

But isn’t that part of your privilege as well?  That you maintain your autonomy from your demographic, while others are painted with the same brush as the worst of us?  For example, when terrorists who call themselves Muslim do something despicable, all Muslims must answer for their actions and vocally condemn it…but when terrorists who call themselves Christian do something horrendous, no one looks at the Christian community with a cloud of anger behind their eyes.  Similarly, I recognize your autonomy from your demographic, and everyone who accepts their privilege is excused from this letter.

But for those of you who are convinced you are victimized, for those of you who believe that the American public at large is out to get you…

you are the American public at large

  Do you not realize that you are in the majority? Do you not know that 83% of Americans identify as Christian?

 I read an article on my Facebook feed this morning that sparked my outrage.   It was about an actor in Jurassic World talking about his faith in an interview…and he was called brave.  Are you kidding me?  How is that brave?  Identifying as the majority demographic is not brave.  I’m not saying that it is bad that he is Christian, no.  Good for him!  I have no problem with his expressing his beliefs in an interview- that is all well and good.  Good. For.  Him.

  But it isn’t brave.

  Furthermore, you are not under attack.  Just stop.  There is no war on Christmas.  There is no attempt to stifle your beliefs.  And don’t view a law to protect the minority as an attack on the majority.

 Making a wedding cake for a gay marriage doesn’t mean you have to marry a gay person yourself.

 Allowing Muslimahs to wear the head scarf doesn’t mean you have to put it on.

 Legalizing abortion doesn’t mean you have to perform one.

  And the fact that you expected a law that gives you a religious exemption from anti-discrimination laws makes me sick.  You have to get along with everyone else.  Christianity does not give you a pass for being a bigot.

And did Jesus not say to love the sinner?

Could you imagine if I opened a shop that had a dress code in order to shop there?  If I had extra scarves and abayas (think baggie maxi dress with sleeves) at the door that women had to put on to come inside?  Can you see the picket lines?  The protests?  The angry news anchors?  The arson?

  No one is out to get you.  No one is out to harm you.  You can wear a cross around your neck without being leered at.  You can leave your house without having to be afraid that someone will attack you physically for your beliefs.  You don’t have to worry that a police officer is going to stop you on the street because of ethnic profiling.  You don’t have to look for wire taps or spies in your church.   You don’t have to wonder if you will wind up in Guantanamo like the other 60% of inmates that were innocent just because of your faith.

And for that you should be grateful.

You are privileged.

Don’t act like you aren’t.

  This post may make me unpopular.  People may unsubscribe and leave angry comments (which I won’t approve- just letting you know right now), but this has to be said.  Someone needed to say it, and it might as well be an American Muslim with 75% of her white privilege remaining.

P.S. there may be some instances of anti-Christian behavior in the US, but those are very small and rare.  I would like to just take a second to recognize that some people may have indeed suffered for their Christian beliefs- but it is not the majority, and that is the point of this letter.

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2 thoughts on “An Open Letter to American Christians

  1. I am one of those generally privileged American Christians you are renouncing here, but I also come from a Christian minority that has had a lot of abuse heaped against it over the years. What I’m saying is I think I understand both sides even though I may not agree with specific tactics or political moves from both sides.

    That being said, I think that MOST religious people (Christian, American, or otherwise) aren’t out to get anyone, they may not have the wider world view that you have, or the experiences with diversity, and they may be acting out of fear or ignorance or not knowing another way, but probably not out of malice or hatred. Sometimes, sure. But the vast majority are not “out to get” anyone, they are quietly living their lives, praying and going to church and raising their families. It’s the vocal minority–super conservative wing-nuts–that are giving MOST American Christians a bad name. And for that I am truly sorry. I’m sorry it has hurt you, your family, and your loved ones. I’m sorry that altering these kinds of closely-held views and religious perspectives takes so freaking long to change. And I’m sorry that the only real way to bring about change is by what seems like individual conversations with people, not arguments, but heart-to-heart conversations. It somehow seems like fighting would be easier or faster.

    xox

    1. I definitely agree with you, Harriet. My grandmother, for instance, used to be afraid of Muslims, but after meeting my husband she defends them now against her more conservative friends when they go on their own tirade. Unfortunately a lot of the defense against fear results in anger- which is often directed at the scary “other”.
      As I can tell from your comment, you aren’t one of the people I am renouncing- you are someone who understands the dynamic, and that makes you one of the good guys in this battle we must fight daily. I hope that the majority are also like you. 🙂 selams

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