Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Hidden Danger of Keeping Silent

I know this is old news. It happened many months ago. Pat Robertson made the following ill-timed quote about Haiti's earthquake:

"Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III, or whatever. 
And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. 
They said, we will serve you if you'll get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal. Ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other."

For the record, I think Pat was wrong for 3 reasons:

1. There is little to no evidence to support this 'pact'. To take such a tragedy and say it was God who killed, with little to no evidence to support it, is a dangerous thing to do. I do not make light of putting words in God's mouth or putting deeds in His hands.

2. It was ill-timed. Pointing fingers immediately after the the tragedy? A word of hope would have been much more powerful.

3. It offset all of the good Pat and the 700 Club did that day. Nobody talks about the next few minutes of the program where they encouraged their viewers to donate thousands of dollars to the devastated country. People only quote the ill-timed statement above.

For a more eloquent response to Pat's quote, read Don Miller's post here. For any rebuttals to my three points, I direct you to Miller's post. If you still disagree, I welcome your feedback in the comments.

But this post is not about Pat, the 700 Club, or Haiti.

This post is about your voice. 

Because moments after Pat's statement, something fascinating happened on Twitter.

Hundreds and Hundreds of people tweeted, "#PatRobertsonDoesn'tSpeakForMe."

Ten years ago, if Pat, or ANY Christian Leader in front of a camera spoke to the world, they spoke for all of us, whether we liked it or not.

But now with Twitter and Facebook, your voice is loud. People listen. With your status update or twitter post, you can say that Pat, or whoever, doesn't speak for you. That they do not represent you.

In fact, every time you don't speak out, you let these people speak for you. 

When you refuse to speak up, you let Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church and speak for you! What reason do people have to think that you are different if you remain silent?

So how do you speak out against Christian Leaders you disagree with?


1. Be careful to not be obnoxious, annoying, or immature.

2. Disagree by being direct and logical.

3. Be open to discussion. Listen to opinions and disagreements of others.

Side note: this applies to Leaders. If this is somebody you personally know, Facebook statuses and Twitter are not the place to do it. Do that interpersonally.

Your voice is important. Your silence is dangerous.

As for me, I refuse to let Fred Phelps speak for me.