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Friday, May 8, 2015

Is Sheldon Cooper A Metaphor For Today's Conservative Christians?

Sheldon Cooper is, perhaps, the key character in the popular tv show, The Big Bang Theory. The crux of his humor relies on his extreme self-absorption and how it enables him to respond in such inappropriate ways that it becomes very entertaining. Of course the entertainment value is heightened by the fact that his inappropriate responses do not touch our real lives.

Philip Hammond, who is a British conservative political figure, just wrote an opinion piece for the Christian British journal website Christian Today on how his government should respond to the persecution and even martyrdom of Christians in various areas of the world (click here for the article). And though the title of the article is put forth in the form of a moral declaration stating that we should not tolerate the persecution of Christians, the article itself served more as an advertisement for Britain's conservative political party than anything else. Hammond states that Britain has the political capability to identify and make recommendations regarding the persecution of Christians around the world the form of its Foreign Office's Advisory Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief. And though Hammond talks as if freedom of religion is its main concern, his focus is specifically on the persecution of Christians. As he mentions this office, he asserts how a conservative government will definitely protect religious freedom. It is a claim he makes again in his last paragraph. 

But while we are on the subject of how we should respond to the persecution of Christians, self-asorption often affects how many of us Christians think and respond. For while we are rightly concerned with the plight of many of our fellow Christians around the globe and correctly call for our governments to protect them, our concern for religious freedom might be because of tribal concerns more than a love for religious freedom.  And examples of violations of religious freedoms which we ignore will illustrate this point. For where are our concerns for the religious freedoms of Palestinian Muslims and Christians as Israel continues to confiscate property in their brutal occupation of the Palestinian territories? Where was the Egyptian Christian response to the Egyptian government's treatment of the Muslim Brotherhood?  Where is the concern of us American Conservative Christians for the religious liberties of those from the LGBT community who do not share our religious view of marriage?

With our partisan defense of religious freedom, what many of us Christians have demonstrated is that we prefer to imitate many in the world by only loving our own than to follow Jesus' command to love all including our enemies. And what adds to the tragedy is that our self-absorption, which is all too obvious and offensive to the world we preach to, blinds us from seeing ourselves for who we are. In all too many instances, we are Sheldon Cooper at his worse.



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