Saturday, June 09, 2007
SHOULD MISSIONARIES GET INVOLVED IN DISSIDENT POLITICS?
Probably not...but read on..there might be exceptions..
DISSENT AS PART OF LEGISLATIVE PROCESS
Some governments are not too enthusiastic about any kind of dissent, not even from their own citizens. In cases like this...missionaries should know their place and guard their testimony.
On the other end of the spectrum are countries where freedom of speech and assembly are commonplace. In such circumstances there might be a place for missionaries to help the national church put forward its case against impending legislation or a movement which is clearly at odds with biblical principles.
BOLIVIAN CASE STUDY: CHURCH LED DISSENT
A couple of years ago, the Bolivian congress, under the influence of liberal minded elements from outside the country, were about to pass a bill that would liberalize sexual activity amongst young people and promote the gay, lesbian, transgendered agenda. The christian church reacted strongly, especially in Santa Cruz; marches were organized; forums were organized; discussion groups sprung up.
A town hall meeting was organized to discuss the bill. Close to 700 people signed up to speak (they had 2 minutes each or maybe less) at a local indoor stadium. Christians were mobilized to attend and speak against the proposed bill. We joined in heartily. It was a noisy and non violent meeting where everyone were given a chance to speak up.
We also participated in a massive signature campaign against the impending legislation. Many christian groups, including the anglican church marched joyously in the streets expressing their disagreement to the bill. I was also interviewed by a local TV station.
BUILDING A MATURE NATIONAL LEADERSHIP
The carnival like atmosphere made the experience a positive one. The congress finally decided to shelve the bill thanks to peaceful Christian activism. Some missionaries, in helping this movement, were not passive observers but active participants, albeit in a supportive role, against this undesirable legislation.
The case cited above however is a little unusual and does NOT represent the norm.
I would argue instead for missionaries to evangelise and disciple a solid national leadership committed to the overall well being of the nation; a leadership mature enough to facilitate, when the situation calls for it, peaceful and creative dissent.