Let’s begin here… www.IJM.org
If you have followed the fight against modern day slavery or even found the topic of sex trafficking in your periphery at any point, you probably became aware of International Justice Mission.
They have been using their knowledge and resources to bring justice to people who wrongfully enslave others or keep girls trapped in sexual rings where they are forced into prostitution. This is a simplification of the work they do. They have been responsible for bringing freedom and healing to countless girls and families.
They have recently been asking people to join with them in signing a petition that would influence President Obama’s awareness and approach to the kinds of injustices that IJM is working to end.
It seems simple doesn’t it? Just add your name to a list of people who care that young girls are not forced into prostitution? It seems simple enough to add a name to a list of people who want to make sure entire families are not forced into manual labor hauling bricks as voiceless, helpless servants. Just add a name to a list that helps bring momentum in the fight to get people who are wrongfully imprisoned with life sentences because they did not speak the language of their accusers and were unable to defend themselves in a trial situation?
So what’s the problem? On the Jars of Clay Facebook page, on IJM’s behalf, we asked our audience to add their names to the list.
Here are a few comments:
“Ask Congress, President Obama has been their slave for 3 years now!”
“Why would Obama help end slavery? He's a socialist... that equates to modern day slavery.”
“Lol, Jesus a socialist? That’s rediculous. How many socialists would defend Christianity today? Certainly not Obama! He knows more about Koran than he does the bible. Its sad how many people do not really know what is going on with our country.”
“Then why not go to Europe and stop sex trafficking yourself? Why not got to Africa and stop slavery yourself? Those are deprivations of human rights throughout several foreign countries. And you want me to sign a petition to the president of the US to "end it all"? This isn't a political matter, let alone a national political matter, stop making it one and be a valuable asset to your cause. Ignorance will make you feel better, but it won't take away hurt from real people with real problems.”
“It is an issue of knowing it (the petition) is being handed to a presence that has no morals that makes little sense to me. How do you ask satan's puppet to show mercy? Unless of course it would benefit it's ratings for the upcoming election.
Just how do you believe this will change the hearts of man? I appreciate your devotion but you know what hits a nerve with me; abortion and contraceptives and yet these horrific nightmare's still exists. Some people do things in other ways such as FASTING, SACRIFICING and PRAYING with all their heart and all their might. Voices sent to the Maker and Ruler of all the earth are promised to be heard and I believe these acts of faith are also promised by God to be productive! Not much can be confidently heard by those in sending stacks of protests to satan's puppet. I do not put my "hope" in satan's puppet.”
These comments are frustrating to me on many levels.
My initial reaction was to block all of these people from our Facebook page. But that would not represent the “Middle Space” where we want to exist… as frustrating as it is to have these voices at the table, they are invited. Perhaps the biggest issue is that not a single comment acknowledged that we are talking about REAL slavery. IF you can believe it, this isn't about you and your political leanings, or convictions surrounding who should be or shouldn’t be the President of the United States!
How can anyone decide not to sign a petition like this based on political dissatisfaction? Are people so compartmentalized that their lives are that distanced from actual human experience that they can look at a situation like child slavery and prostitution and find “politics” as a good reason to NOT simply put their names on a list?
Do people not consider actual people?
“I’m sorry little girl, I know you are being raped repeatedly every night, but I’m frustrated with a political leader that doesn’t share my views, so I just can’t help you out by signing a petition. It’s just too much for me to handle right now.”
NOTE: This is NOT to guilt you into doing anything. This is to show the short sightedness of the arguments that have already been posted as to why someone isn’t going to sign it.
I know that some people are afraid of giving out their information, or the internet and technology is a big scary monster breathing spam and porn links and shamwow advertisements, and so people are hesitant to add their info to a petition.
Those reasons somehow are not as bad because, they represent a bit more of an innocent reasoning… BUT for those who are actually standing behind a “political conviction,” and are willing to back up the inaction, it is unjustifiable in my eyes.
The mentality that some Christians have regarding prayer as the only action they are required to take, and prayer as a kind of absolution from the problems at hand is tragic.
I believe prayer matters. I believe God answers prayer. I believe we have the privilege of knowing more of God’s heart through prayer and contemplative disciplines. BUT….BUT…. I don’t think it is enough in a situation like this to say, "I won’t sign our petition, but I will pray."
I truly believe God answers prayers through HIS people. I believe we are the hands and feet and eyes to look compassionately at the world. I think we pray as a means to have our eyes widened and perspectives drawn to the places where we are to bring our own hands and heart to bear on the injustice of our time.
If we are aware of an action that would serve the poor or a person in need, (especially actions that don’t put us in harms way or funnel us into some reckless activity that may hurt others) WHY wouldn’t we act?
And if we don’t act, How do we justify it with Bibilical ideas? Or Hide behind scriptures. I have learned that serving others is a privilege, not an interruption to MY life. I don’t think the Bible EVER speaks in opposition to this.
IF a person sees an opportunity where they can help and does nothing that is fine. Accept that I will think of them (as I would myself in those situations) as lazy or callous, or misguided, or sadly naïve, or busy,…or… a host of other things both decent and sometimes evil… BUT There is no place for using prayer as a reason for inaction and it will never cause me to consider them spiritual, or devout, or faithful.
If IJM was asking us to travel to Uganda or Cambodia for a month to serve in aftercare facilities, I could understand why someone would choose not to do so. The difference is in a specific calling to this kind of story… not everyone will be called to it. A good friend once reminded me that, “the need does not necessitate the calling.” Basically, just because you see the need does not mean it is entirely yours to see to it. “ We must know where we are best utilized. However… this is a simple act, 30 seconds. It took most of us longer to brush our teeth this morning.
Rest assured, Obama is NOT “Satan’s Puppet” as one comment mentioned, any more than you or I.
We can cut our strings and act like real people who love real people, or we can stay wooden and heartless and continue to let our excuses keep us from action. I will know jump down from my soapbox.