11,000 rape kits or 1 birth certificate?

Did you know that nearly 11,000 rape kits have sat untested in a Detroit warehouse since as early as 2002? Meaning, nearly 11,000 women have been raped, been subjected to a physical exam, and are still waiting for justice. Meaning, many of the men who would otherwise be behind bars are still on the street, and some of them are still raping women.

I first heard about this towards the end of last year, and I doubt many people outside of Detroit were aware until the story was featured on Rock Center with Brian Williams last night.

But I bet you knew that some people don’t think President Obama really has a US birth certificate.

And I bet you knew that some people think we should raise gun control laws, and some people think the government is taking our guns away.

And I bet you knew that Obamacare is either a positive step forward for humanity or a tragic step backwards due to government dominance.

I could go on and on and on.

A Christian theory of involvement doesn’t make us less involved, it makes us more involved.

But when we talk about ‘involvement’ too many of us only hear political involvement. It’s time that we embrace a holistic theory of involvement that sees politics for what it is: simply one, and far from the best, of the countless ways of getting involved. Let’s not pendulum swing: we shouldn’t run from political office or towards political office. No one is saying we should never talk about gun control, health care, or same-sex marriage.

But what if we talked about those issues a little less, and talked about some other issues a little more? I believe that we are called to find a wide variety of ways to harness the power and voice of the Church far beyond the limited scope of politics.

What have we been doing while untested rape kits have been accumulating in a warehouse in Detroit? Perhaps we can excuse ourselves with the idea that this isn’t church work–it’s police or District Attorney work. Hmm… How many political campaigns have we participated in? How much money have we given to nominal Christian or Mormon candidates? How many Glenn Beck rallies have we gone to? How many church building campaigns have we endured?

How many times have we read the words, “whatever you did for one of the least of these…you did for me?”

Why not give that money and influence to 11,000 rape victims in Detroit?

What will change a culture more? A Church that tries to force non-Christians to live according to our rules, or a Church that lives the gospel and invites others to join us? Let me be more clear–which would better help us influence the abortion debate: 1) If the church were known as the champion of rape victims, or 2) If the church were known for saying that rape victims’ bodies will refuse rape-induced pregnancies?

Our problem is that we think that we benefit more from giving our money and influence to powerful people than we do from giving our money and influence to those with no power. I know, that sounds harsh. But think about the ways the Evangelical church has raised our voice in the last two decades. We think that Romney, the GOP, and Tax Party can aid the gospel better than rape victims in Detroit could. Especially since many of these victims are from a lower socio-economic status and vote differently than we do.

We think that we benefit more from giving our money and influence to powerful people than when we do from giving our money and influence to those with no power.

When we say the kingdom of heaven is at hand, what we mean is that heaven is taking charge here on earth. What could be more Christian than comforting those who mourn, bringing justice where there is none, and being a faithful presence to the poor and oppressed? And without being overly insensitive, are there many people more poor and oppressed than the voiceless rape victims of Detroit, MI?

So, I went to this website and gave some money to help cover the cost of testing the rape kits–about $1,500 per kit (although I didn’t give anywhere near $1,500!).

It just seemed more Christian than posting a gun control meme on Facebook.

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About Tim Owens

I'm a husband, father, and Christ follower. I also live in Albany, NY, where I work as a pastor.
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6 Responses to 11,000 rape kits or 1 birth certificate?

  1. Laura says:

    Reblogged this on Enough Light and commented:
    I really hope you’ll take a moment to read this challenging post. We are too often obsessed with certain issues to the neglect of other ones. It’s time that Christians embrace a holistic theory of involvement that sees politics for what it is: simply one, and far from the best, of the countless ways of getting involved.

  2. Anonymous says:

    T.O. this is awesome! I love your perspective and ideas.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I wasn’t logged in..Sorry..The above comment was Hannah Feinberg 🙂

  4. Faith says:

    now this is a post I really like.

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