At the June 18 Troy City Council meeting, the people's mayor Janice Daniels told us that we should admire her for all of the wonderful things she has done.One thing to be proud of, she tells us, is this:
Yes, indeed. With dozens of nationalities and languages represented in Troy, we are the second most diverse city in the state of Michigan, behind only Ann Arbor in our international-ness!
Now how can I complain about that? That's wonderful! A multi-cultural event here in Troy brought to us by the mayor we all thought was a closed-minded bigot who only cared about straight, white Christians.
She's promoting an event about proving how much we respect our neighbors from other lands by letting them teach us about their cultures. Here's the website of the Who's My Neighbor group putting on this event. Isn't it lovely and selfless and welcoming?
So why is this wonderful organization doing this?
Because they are missionaries, of course.
Scour their website and you won't see a single word about Christianity, missionaries, or bringing out people of all religions for the purpose of trying to convert them. Hmm, I wonder why?
Perhaps because if they did, people wouldn't come?
The first event they held like this was in Dearborn, MI. Hmmm, why Dearborn, I wonder?
Way off the Who's My Neighbor website, if you search enough, you can find what they are really about. This is a post on the organizers' blog, called "Going Places with God," describing the event in Dearborn:
Today we had the privilege to share at a Barbecue planned by our friends in Dearborn, MI. It was a cold and cloudy day but that didn't stop over 150 people coming out. They were there from Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Palestine, S. Korea, and USA! As well as Syd from N. Ireland. The sun came out as we started to speak and everyone stayed and listened as we talked about Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven. We promised we would all pray for their nations at this time. Jesus is King over all the earth. It was wonderful to see everyone stay and listen as Syd & I spoke for 30 minutes about God's good plans for us all and how Jesus paid the price for our sins to be forgiven and our place to be secured in God's family in His Kingdom, the only Kingdom that is secure in these unsecure times.
Now religion is fine. All religions. But pretending an event is about diversity, to get people from all nations to come out for the express, secret purpose of trying to convert them, is dishonest at the least, offensive and xenophobic at midrange. For our mayor to promote it seems a wee bit exclusionary to me.
And that's certainly how it felt to the Jewish woman in Troy who pointed it out to me. Is Troy now exclusively for and about Christians?
This is another of-the-site communication to people about the Who's My Neighbor event in Ohio:
We invite you to take part by first praying for this great opportunity to reach out to the international community amongst us. If you would like to become more involved, you can have a booth to display the outreach (particularly the international outreach) of your church or organization. We are asking for a small donation to cover the cost of the tent and tables. Your members can also help out with many aspects of the day, the KIDZ ZONE, the evangelism team, or other behind the scenes jobs.Everyone is invited! Its a great place to bring all the church family and their friends - people who don't yet know Jesus, will have a great time!
I remember hearing Janice Daniels say on a recent TV appearance that she is a Conservative Christian when talking about her POLITICAL stance. Why mention religion? Isn't she the type of persoan all jazzed up about the myth of Sharia law coming to America? Doesn't she know America is a land of laws, not religion? Does this mean that the mayor of the second most diverse city in Michigan cares only about Christians and converting all the rest?
Just what is her intent????????
We already know that she doesn't like gay people and believes they are mentally ill, sickly and should be kept away from genteel society and given no rights.
We already know that if you are a loathesome bigot who hates public transportation because it brings people from Detroit to Troy (and he hates Muslims, gays and teachers as well), you are welcome in her world and she will demand that you be given 20 minutes to speak before city council.
We already know that if you use ethnically insulting terms about Chinese people, Mayor Daniels will put you on the most important commission in the city.
So what does it mean that she intends to mine Troy's international community, not for the richness of their culture or for their points of view, but to try to convert them?
Once again a member of our city government, this time Janice Daniels, reminds me of Stephen Colbert's buffoonish, conservative alter-ego who spoke at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner, ridiculing people who think like her:
And though I am a committed Christian, I believe that everyone has the right to their own religion — be you Hindu, Jewish, or Muslim, I believe there are infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior. (It's a joke, folks)
Now you can tell me that Janice has every right to promote this event. Sure she does!
The problem is that she is promoting it at city council meetings and on her website that she has made to look like an official city website. And why has she done that? Because the city won't allow her to use OUR official website for her shameless self-promotion.
And the city probably wouldn't approve of her dragging out our international community in order to proselytize to them.