Ok, so CNN is making a big deal about Swine flu, but is anyone else? The answer, for me, is YES! Many, many of the families, friends, and non-Christian Jordanians I know ask me about it all the time. Do I know anyone with Swine Flu? Is there Swine Flu in Michigan? These are the questions I get very frequently.
So here’s my problem: The ones who ask me also warn me about hanging out with Christians because they eat pork and thus have (or may get) Swine Flu. Boy am I irritated with whoever decided to call it Swine Flu! Strangely, while most were very tolerant of my “christian” status last year, Swine Flu seems to be a perfect opportunity for EVERYONE to tell me now that Christianity is wrong, Islam right, and that God told us not to eat pork because it’s bad and now he’s punishing the Christians.
So, in my bad Arabic, I can explain that people don’t get Swine Flu from eating pork, but they don’t believe me. I can’t imagine what the news is saying over here that everyone (except my Christian friends of course) seems to believe you get it from eating pork.
What’s worse, is that I don’t have the Arabic to engage in a theological discussion with them, so I end up sitting through interminable lecturs on the Quran and Mohammed–usually telling me things I already know (historically) and arguing points of “truth” that I am incapable of rebutting. Great huh?
My best response (because it seems to stop the discussions and discontinue further ones) is that in the US, we don’t talk about religion openly, that our belief is between us and God. This is good, because I can then talk about the separation of church and state, and how that is different than in Jordan (which is a Muslim state).
So why am I venting about it here? Well, I guess because the thing that makes me so irritated is that I, of all people, have to DEFEND Christianity. In the US, I would hardly even call myself a “Christian” with a capital C: I have serious doubts about the divinity of Christ (tho I really love most of what he might have said–hence I tend to think of myself as a “christian with a small c”), and am even more dubious about religious “Christian” institutions. Yet, here, I am a Christian ethnically rather than theocratically by virtue of being American, which is highly-influenced by Judeo-Christianity and thus differs from Muslim Jordan.
I thought that some of you might be interested in these musings. Feel free to comment!