Posted by: CeCe | January 16, 2012

When we are silent

What I’m about to say may upset some, and to be honest, I’ve been hesitant about publishing this.  I’ve had it complete now for about an hour,  and I’ve just been sitting here wondering whether I should publish it or not.   But I think it needs to be said.

I’m sure that by now, everyone has heard about the bullying and death threats toward a teenager in Rhode Island who spoke out against an unconstitutional banner in her school.  I’m also pretty sure that my friends on Facebook are more than a little tired of my comments regarding the subject.  However, I would like to humbly request that everyone indulge me for a moment and understand why I’m so passionate about not remaining silent.  The case of the bullying of Jessica Ahlquist, and the seeming silence of Christians regarding it, is only one such case  of silence being deadly.  It is the partial inspiration for this post, but not all of it.  The real reason for this post is because it is something that often weighs heavily on me, and I feel I must say something.  Here is the truth:

When we are silent, injustice prevails.

When we are silent, millions die in concentration camps.

When we are silent, thousands are slaughtered for no other reason than for being of the wrong tribe, or the wrong religion, or the wrong race.

When we are silent, minorities are punished for things over which they have no control, and often pay for it with their lives, such as in the cases of slavery, lynch mobs, segregation, and the fight for equality.

When we are silent, people see that we are giving tacit approval to the bullying of homosexuals (such as Matthew Shepard, who was murdered because of his sexuality), to the bombing of abortion clinics, to the ongoing burning of accused “witches” in sub-Saharan African countries (such as Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zambia), and to the murder of doctors who perform abortions.

When we are silent, we are like the so-called righteous in the parable of the Good Samaritan who see the unfairness but continue walking without offering their hand to the downtrodden.

When we are silent, people don’t see Christ, they see monsters who deep down must agree with the injustice.

We have run out of excuses.  We can’t just say, well, those aren’t true Christians, or oh, it’s not fair to judge all by the actions of the few, not all of us are like that.  We can’t remain silent.    At the risk of alienating everyone, I am compelled to speak out, in love, that we badly need to break our silence, and raise our voice in one deafening chorus, denouncing those who would do harm or even threaten to do harm in the name of any creed or philosophy, be it secular or religious.  Is that not what Jesus would do?  If it is, and we do not do as He would do, then how can any of us call ourselves Christians?

This isn’t just a matter of falling short, which we all do, this is an absolute failure and a gross violation of Jesus’ command to love one another and to love our neighbor as ourselves.   This is a direct and indisputable contradiction of the actions that Jesus took in John 8, when He saved a woman guilty of adultery from being killed.  Should we not do the same?  Why, when we are confronted with ignorance and with injustice, why would we remain silent?  What conceivable reason could we possibly have to not loudly state that hey, this is wrong!  This should not be!

So I’m breaking my silence.  I cannot observe hatred and intolerance and remain silent.  Can you?

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Responses

  1. ❤ you and this …i came to this point a couple of years ago where being silent was no longer an option for me …I am there along side you i will help you and be with you when you shout or whisper "that is wrong "
    ,as one voice all who know when something is wrong should raise there voices in unison ,

    • Aww thank you!

  2. Hey Cece. I love this message. “The true tragedy isn’t the loud voices of evil doers, bit the silence of the good.” I forgot which famous man said that, but it’s true. It’s our duty as Christians, and also as good atheists, agnostics, Pagans, Jews, Muslims, etc, to speak out when we see evil in the world, especially when it becomes the status quo instead of a brief aberration of normal life.

    • Thank you Jon, I love that quote!

  3. Amazing CeCe, inspiring!

    • Thank you so much Garry!

  4. Nicely said, all my respect to you and people like you. No matter who bully whom. It is just wrong on so many levels. We all are so different, we believe in different things, we have different values, but we should respect each other as we are just human beings living this life and trying to make this world a better place.

    • Thank you very much!

  5. ♥ ♥ ♥

  6. Perhaps it’s instinct, perhaps it’s learned, but we ALL know what’s right and what’s wrong. When we see injustice, it is our obligation to speak up. For those who feel they cannot speak up, look at it this way:To remain silent is to CONDONE the injustice. NOW can you speak up?
    Jesus told us to love each other, which means we must protect each other, as well as respect each other. That doesn’t sound too difficult to me.

  7. Very nicely written. I agree with all that you’ve stated. I think one of the reasons why it seems so prevailant among some christians is that in the modern era they are the majority, not the minority they were once upon a time in the roman era, and some have completely forgotten what it is like to be the minority and to be persecuted for one’s belief or simply for being what one is. Just my few cents, sincerely with love angel.

  8. Excellent post.

  9. Absolutely! I WILL NOT be silent. It is out of LOVE of mankind that I will speak for those who can not.

    • Thank you very much for stopping by! 🙂

  10. Silence about injustices is never an option.. It is the COWARDs way to live. All of us need to stand up and be heard and counted in this world!!

    • Exactly. Thank you very much for stopping by and for commenting!

  11. Shared on FB. Thanks.

    • Thank you!

  12. Agree with all that you have said! You missed a few more atrocities but then again there are so many all over the world today that many people don’t even know about unless they are well informed about the evils that prevail all over the globe. We do not live in a beautiful world but more accurately a world where mans inhumanity to man impacts our fellow brothers and sisters in horrendous ways at amounts we are not even aware of except to those who take an accurate accounting! I was disappointed to see you did not mention the killing of human life in the womb which happens in the millions every year? Killing abortion doctors and bombing abortion clinics I agree with but I was sorry you did not add the baby’s who are killed most times for convenience or dictatorial governments!

    • Thank you very much.

      I suppose I did not mention abortion because most abortions are not the result of hatred, but helplessness. Most women who have abortions feel that they have no other choice. In my opinion, that’s the bigger tragedy. No woman should ever feel that she has no other choice. No woman should have to feel that abortion is the best choice.

      My other reason for saying nothing about abortion is that abortion is generally not performed in the name of religion, whereas many of the atrocities committed against others are in the name of not only religion in general, but Christianity in particular. When we don’t speak out against those acts specifically, people think that deep down we’d want to kill Dr. Tiller or beat Matthew Shepard to death… or at least cheer on the person who would.

      I’m glad you stopped by, I hope you do so again! 🙂

  13. I think that one of the main reasons people remain silent is fear. Fear of repercussions, fear of what others may think, fear of being different – of being that one person who is willing to stand up and speak and having no one else stand up behind them.

    • I agree, fear is definitely a factor. How do you think people could begin overcoming those fears?

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

  14. My heart, my one & only grandaughter(5), said im the only one that keeps her secrets & am the only person to never have lied to her….our secrets ensure our victimization…but it only hurts the first few times…silence will ensure our demise…i refuse to bow down the secrets that silence spawns…my pen has been accussed of poisinous truths….I will not teach my daughters to be victimized…therefore, my words continue<3

    • That’s so sweet! I agree, silence ensures our demise. Good for you, in speaking out, and thank you for stopping by!

  15. Well said CeCe …..There been a saying in the Gay community for year’s please let me share it with you..”SILENT=DEATH”..We must not ever relinquish or First Amendment rigth’s “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;or abridiging the FREEDOM of SPEECH,or of the PRESS;or the RIGHT of the PEOPLE PEACEABLY to ASSEMBLE, and to PETITION the GORVERNMENT for a REDRESS of GRIEVANCES.”Please I beg all who read this to get and keep on them at all time The Constitution and The Bill of Rights and to never forget that ‘We the People” is need now more then ever in this country.Yes standing up and speaking out is never easy but life is not easy for some there for we need to be there voice…

    • Thank you very much! Yes… silence can be deadly. If people don’t speak up in defense of the oppressed, who will?

  16. This is beautiful, and a perfect day to post this. Thank you CeCe.

    • Thank you, for stopping by and leaving a kind comment! 🙂

  17. As an atheist/secular humanist, I want to thank you.

    I don’t, and never would, think all Christians are intolerant, hateful people who are simply out to cause injustice; but, at the same time, I watch things such as this, and wonder where you are. Why you are not speaking up; why you are not defending whoever it is that is under attack; why you make it harder for secularists to let down our guard and engage in conversation.

    And then, suddenly, I do see you; but it is not in defense of the oppressed, it is in justification. It is to tell us that those people — well, those people aren’t real Christians; Christians don’t do those things. And I want to scream, to shake those words to their core. Because Christians do, indeed, do such things. You may not think they are good Christians or that they are fulfilling the mission of your faith; but, by definition, those people are Christians.

    Every now and then, someone — such as yourself, the author of this blog post — comes in and breaks that trend. When you do, I breath with relief and, though I may never believe what you do, I welcome you into this fight against injustice. I want you — and all those who feel as you do — to join in, because we need as many people as we can get it.

    I promise that most of us don’t bite. Unless you try to convince us of your beliefs, we won’t try to sway you from yours. Nor will we scream in anger when you post a Bible verse on your Facebook wall or degrade you for going to church. Most of us just want to live in peace. Just like, I’m pretty sure, most of you do.

    Thus, the extremists on either side of any issue cannot win as, not only do they not represent how the majority wish to live their life, they only ever do harm. To defeat them, however, the middle must learn to speak up.

    • Wow, thank you Erika, I’m incredibly moved and humbled by your words. We have more in common than you might think. I see, and am frustrated by, the same things you are. And it’s even worse, I think, because it’s from people who are associated with me directly. I’m glad you stopped by. I hope that people read what you said, and remember it. Because we do need to remember it.

  18. * “You”, in most sentences, is used non-specifically.

  19. * “such as this” refers to the case of the Long Island girl.

  20. I loved your blog post. One of the things that I find most disturbing besides people standing by as injustice is done, is when someone does standup for themselves or others and then punished for it as if they did something wrong. Like the kid that was suspended from school after taking months of torment from bullies and finally fought back or the father that stood up for his disabled daughter and confronted her bullies when the school refused to do anything.

    • Thank you very much, Chris, I’ve heard similar stories to that. What a strange world we live in, ja?

  21. This is not a christian thing you are talking about. I agree with everything you said and I’m not a christian. It’s about being a descent human being regardless of religious beliefs. I think one of the problems in this world is attaching labels and claiming ownership to things that are HUMAN and universal. We have to get away from the “them & us” mentality. We should love one another and take care of each other because it’s the right thing to do…period.

    • I agree, it is part of being a decent human being. I’m just more critical of Christians than others, which may be unfair, but I just believe in pushing people as much as I push myself. I think it’s better to try and fail than not try.

      I love what you said about getting away from the “them & us” mentality; we really should all unite, regardless of religious belief or lack thereof, in defense of the weak and defenseless. We should lift one another up in hope and in kindness. Maybe then the world would be that much closer to perfect. What do you think?

      Thank you for stopping by, and for your wonderful words.

  22. These were some beautiful, powerful words. But unfortunately what you ask of us is impossible as we will always be flawed…We seem unable to listen to this one instruction sent by the Greatest Messenger: Love one another…

    • Thank you very much! I agree, we will always be flawed… but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep trying. Such a simple command, but so difficult to achieve, isn’t it? Thank you for stopping by!

  23. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter – Martin Luther King Jr.

    No one should remain silent

    • Another excellent quote, thank you very much!

  24. In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

    • Perfect quote. Thank you.

  25. In all honesty, I am not a Christian. I am, however, someone that believes in the values of a humanitarian (I’m unfortunately not quite there yet to claim to be one, but I’m working on it).

    I have found it shocking at the number of times someone says that they hold certain values but then their actions tell a different story. I won’t name groups or sects, but I’m sure many people could point the finger at a generalised group.

    I completely understand that it is the few that give the whole a bad name, or they set a really bad example for others to go by. It’s a shame that, regardless of what your persuasion, if you look at the original texts of any given group, the basic values are often so inspiring and such fabulous outlines of what is ‘the ideal being’.

    I don’t need the carrot of heaven or the threats of hell to believe in the merits of such things, I merely wish to strive to be a better person for ME, and for OTHERS. How can we call ourselves HUMAN if we don’t carry the values of HUMANITY?

  26. In all honesty, I am not a Christian. I am, however, someone that believes in the values of a humanitarian (I’m unfortunately not quite there yet to claim to be one, but I’m working on it).

    I have found it shocking at the number of times someone says that they hold certain values but then their actions tell a different story. I won’t name groups or sects, but I’m sure many people could point the finger at a generalised group.

    I completely understand that it is the few that give the whole a bad name, or they set a really bad example for others to go by. It’s a shame that, regardless of what your persuasion, if you look at the original texts of any given group, the basic values are often so inspiring and such fabulous outlines of what is ‘the ideal being’.

    I don’t need the carrot of heaven or the threats of hell to believe in the merits of such things, I merely wish to strive to be a better person for ME, and for OTHERS. How can we call ourselves HUMAN if we don’t carry the values of HUMANITY?

  27. bench jacken reduziert xxl
    Saved, I really like your site! 🙂

    • Thank you for stopping by, I hope you visit often and find posts you enjoy!

  28. I love your post! I have been called a “Truth Teller”. I am so driven to speak out when injustice occurs in my world and in others. Thank you for also being a truth teller!…heres a quote about that…not sure who the author is….
    “Being a truther changes your entire world view in a way that’s hard to overstate. Once you’ve crossed over, you can’t go back.”…and I don’t want to “go back”. 🙂

    • Thank you very much for stopping by! I love that quote, I’d never heard it before.

  29. “First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
    Then they came for the Catholics,
    and I didn’t speak out because I was Protestant.
    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

    Martin Niemoller

    Sound familiar? We need to speak out.

    • One of my favorite quotations ever, thank you so much for sharing it here. 🙂

  30. Good blog and good message. I agree that we should never be silent when someone is suffering to the abuse of others. But i would also caution to only do so when you know you have the truth and are not going to hurt someone by standing up and speaking false words.

    • Thank you very much for your kind words. Yes, we should be careful about speaking out, I agree.

  31. Great Post! You were right to post this! i agree – we need to break our silence… i recently posted about True Spirituality – aka practical Christianity… http://trippingdifferently.com/2012/01/15/what-is-true-spirituality/
    Let me know what you think…

    • Thank you very much! I loved your post too. I’ve started to believe that “Christian” is not just an adjective, it’s a verb, and you hit on that perfectly.

      • Thanks for dropping by my blog. Here’s to being Christian – the verb 😉 Keep writing & shouting it out. i pray God’s blessings into your life.

  32. In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
    Martin Luther King, Jr.


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