Best of My Blog: Christians Are Pro-Bullying

July 27, 2012

Hey everyone, I’m heading home from vacation and my blog sabbatical.  Just one more “best of” post – for nostalgia’s sake, and I’m back on Monday, July 30.

You want to know what the next big cause is?

No, environmentalism isn’t going away. Though it turns out that those eco-friendly wind farms actually contribute to global warming by stirring up all the hot air floating above us. Water and shoes and war and nutrition aren’t going away as causes either.

But people need a sexy new cause to keep their attention. And the spotlight on bullies has been growing brighter for a while, and I think it’s going to stay that way for a long time. And like most pop-culture causes, it didn’t start with Christians. In fact, I have yet to see any prominent Christians throw their hat in the bullying ring at all.

So I have a question for you, Christians. Are we going to let this be another cause that’s too “liberal,” or “secular” for us, and let it pass us by? Or are we actually going to do something?

The Tables Have Turned

The anti-bullying crusade has been picking up steam for few years, but I think it has finally reached critical mass. It started several years ago when schools enacted “zero tolerance” policies. Though principals were probably kind of heavy-handed with it. A bullied kid could get thrown out of school for physically defending himself.

Then you had the “It Gets Better” campaign on YouTube more recently. Lots of celebrities got on board with that one, including Ellen Degeneras, Anne Hathaway, and Neil Patrick Harris.

A couple of  months saw the release of the “Bully” movie. The ‘Biebs has been a vocal advocate of the film.

If you or your kid is a bully, the tables are turning on you.

Why the Church is Pro-Bullying

What I want to know is where the hell are the Christians?

If you’re wondering why people think the church is irrelevant, this is a case in point.

Nearly every cause that people get passionate about, the church lets pass by. People are still whipped up about environmentalism. They want to stop “global warming.”

Now, I don’t really believe in man-made global warming. But why should that matter? We should have heaped on an even biggerethical dilemma on people: that we are destroying God’s creation. Christians should have taken their share of control of the environmental movement. We should have been motivating people with God while other people are motivated by fear of cooking to death. (Aren’t we accused on a regular basis of preying on peoples’ fears?) But we let it pass by and the hottest environmental discussions we had were about how old the Earth actually is, and how long it took to be created. A completely irrelevant debate.

Now we’re going to do the same thing with bullying. Why? Because it’s seen as a gay cause. The bullied kids being showcased are almost always suspected of being gay. The LGBT community owns this thing.

And the evangelical church can’t be seen as standing up for gays. God forbid we stand up for the queer kids, or partner with the LGBTs. (Even though this isn’t just a gay issue. It’s a “fat” issue, and a “dorky” issue” and a “special needs” issue.) We’d rather be silent. If we’re silent, we might as well be pro-bullying.

People Get Bullied, Then They Hit Back

I had a bully in middle school.

And I finally got him off my back by cracking him right in the face. I wasn’t much of a fighter. But it was enough to send a message.

Christians think there’s a “war” on Christianity, that we’re being marginalized and bullied and picked on.

The fact is we marginalized ourselves. We made ourselves irrelevant. And to a lot of people, we are the bullies. And when someone feels bullied long enough, eventually, they hit back. That’s what people are doing to Christians.

We ought to be taking control of the bullying conversation, telling people that every child is made in God’s image. But instead, in between barking about how the government is too big, we’re arguing about the laws the government should pass to restrict other peoples’ freedoms.

What do you think? Is bullying the next big thing? Should we jump on board and take the reins. Or is the Christian community going to let this one pass by?

7 responses to Best of My Blog: Christians Are Pro-Bullying

  1. “And the evangelical church can’t be seen as standing up for gays. God forbid we stand up for the queer kids, or partner with the LGBTs. (Even though this isn’t just a gay issue. It’s a “fat” issue, and a “dorky” issue” and a “special needs” issue.) We’d rather be silent. If we’re silent, we might as well be pro-bullying.”

    Like.

    This reminded me of the quote that ends with “…is that good men do nothing.”

  2. Hmm… I don’t know. I think it’s too soon to call the Church out as being pro-bullying. I have yet to read or hear that the Church supports bullying because it’s anti-gay. Is there evidence of this? If anything, the Church, full of overprotective mothers and children, would be all over this bullying meme.

    I would also suggest there’s something a little uneven about this statement: “Now, I don’t really believe in man-made global warming. But why should that matter?” Why don’t you believe in it? Because you don’t see there is enough factual data to support it? So, we should throw our weight behind it anyway? I’m confused… Why should it matter? Why play on people’s fears using an unsubstantiated hypothesis?

    The point is, there are so many social fads and memes, why does the church have to go into each one guns blazing and throw its full weight behind it? Secondly, I would submit bullying isn’t even a problem, it’s a symptom of a problem. The problem must be one we can quantify, something tangible to point out. If kids are acting in a dysfunctional manner, consistently, isn’t that a symptom of poor parenting, or a struggling family unit? Could it not be asked whether that is an issue of a much larger problem within America’s family unit?

    Just food for thought… I appreciate the thought provoking nature of the post.

  3. Matt, this is a thought-provoking post. One of the questions that it raises for me is: Should the church really be busying itself with embracing an ever-changing laundry list of nuanced political and social causes?

    I’m not convinced that’s our role.

    Speaking bluntly, the church has little to no power. Looking at how the church has handled power when it had it, powerlessness is not a condition I lament. It’s one I’m actually grateful for!

    What the church does have is a powerful invitation.

    Our ability to affect the broader populace is directly proportional to how well we apprehend issues *within* our bounds — removing the plank in our own eye, so to speak. And bullying is so prevalent within the church, that any proclamation we’d make to the broader culture would put us in danger of merely propagating hypocrisy.

    Tying this to sexual orientation is interesting, but you don’t have to go nearly that controversial to uncover bullying as a church issue. The manifestation of power within the church is tinged with bullying, not least in how pastors and leaders try to force their own preferences on others, and how conflict is needlessly escalated rather than resolved.

    This is one more lesson that needs to be examined at home, and repented from, before we go about making statements in the public square. We would do well to show that we can learn, well before we try to teach.

  4. i think you’re absolutely right that silence is complicity. we need to be vocal about bullying and protecting hurting kids. throwing gay and hurting kids under the bus because of our own hang-ups, fear, and lack of love is shameful.

  5. As a christian myself i do not agree that “Christian Community” pro-bullying. I as the target of many of the my schoolmates, making me victim(i don’t consider myself a victim) of bullying, I am against bullying. whatever “christian” is pro-bullying is not a true faith follower. I just want to clear off that the “church” doesn’t represent us Christians at least true Christians. As same as in every other religion there is people who make people think wrong, example; Sadam Husain, made people belived that all muslims where terrorist at some point in our times. So I will nicely ask to clear off more your resources and personal experiences. As a Christian and bully victimed, I would aprreciate it very much. P.S. for articles like this my life as a victim in the bullying battle is back.

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