Some see what looks like a kind of activist agenda within the United Nations on issues many don’t agree with as Christians. These may include abortion, homosexuality and encouragement of condoms or other forms of contraception for unmarried sex.
These matters are often promoted by other groups outside the United Nations, but often the United Nation is used as a vehicle to spread such agendas. From our perspective, as compassionate believers, what are some of the underlying issues?
In the matter of pregnancy, the concern is how rampant it is, when the babies born are often uncared for, lack facilities for health, nutrition and education and often come with major health risks for the abandoned mother, who also lacks the financial ability or support to survive.
So, promoting women’s choice in cultures of patriarchy that don’t care for women, when they are often raped, is one response to a desperate humanitarian situation. We might come in as concerned Christians, for the welfare of the baby, but not for the women, and we may not be there to help, when help is very much needed. Imagine ourselves in that situation. To understand is not to condone, but to condemn is not to understand. Like with the woman caught in adultery, where is the man today?
The church overcame infanticide, which is often the same thing as abortion, in the Roman Empire, by taking in the children to care. Are we there to take care of the new born babies today? If not, we mightn’t have too much to say on the matter.
It can be similar with homosexuality. Where are we when a young homosexual man takes his life because of the shame and condemnation? If we don’t help in compassionate selfgiving ways, can we despise what the United Nations is doing, trying to help? It’s the same with the rampant HIV situation. We don’t agree with condoms and free sex, but how are we helping people to first overcome the stigma from their disease and then to be rehabilitated?
The United Nations may try to remove the stigma from these things by saying its all just a mater of free choice and we should accept that, but this doesn’t end the suffering. Even abortion carries heavy costs for all involved. We know that renewed lives deal with the behaviours that bring about this suffering. The sad thing is that often it’s the United Nations that is engaged trying to help, without a lot of involvement from the church.
To make things better we need to be more involved in the suffering of others. This is what the cross is about. Jesus didn’t stay away correcting us but took up his place right where we suffer and served us. Youth need mentors, who work with them through their daily struggles, showing them the way out.
The United Nations needs help from us instead of judgement. They are dealing with a lot of suffering, well beyond what we could imagine, unless we were right there every day to see it. The early Roman church was right there in the midst of the suffering, today the church is often more in the middle-class edge of the reality.
The United Nations tries to make laws to end patriarchy, child sex, child marriage, rape, religious intolerance, to deal with negative human behaviour and help people flourish, but these laws often don’t work. They are just ignored. But these goals are also our goals. We need to be there as mentors, bringing relief to the suffering, and this brings awareness and light to our cultures and change. Light shines through our empathy, not by our judgement.
It does not help to just encourage our governments to stop financing the United Nations in these areas above. We also need to be involved with compassion. We need to understand this much from the teachings of Jesus. We might say Jesus condemned what was wrong, but the strong words of Jesus were mostly reserved for those who claimed to be from God but who did not help others out of their misery.
We might say it is better to evangelise and plant churches because these bring others the holistic healing our lives need. That is true, if these churches are service and community oriented, and not part of our separatist, individualistic, judgmental cultures. But it is also good to be involved in the United Nations in those areas we believe we can help others. It’s good to bring our support and light to others, rather than tuck it away in our own sectarian corners.