There has been no public conversation about the Open Letter among Asian American Christians.

After asking others if they were organizing anything, we decided to step forward, taking a page from The New York Times, Room for Debate series.

While we knew it would be impossible to represent all Asian Americans Christians, we really wanted to feature a spectrum of views.

  • We asked these particular voices because they were either directly involved, posted their own blogs, and/or were active in Facebook discussions about the Open Letter.
  • We solicited first-generation, South Asian, and Southeast Asian American Christians for their voices, but none accepted our invitation.
  • It is entirely an accident that all the men are second-generation Chinese-American and—with the exception of “Jo,” who identifies herself as “Asian American”—all the women are second-generation Korean Americans involved in the Evangelical Covenant Church.

All participants were given these guidelines. Photos and biographies were provided by the respondents. The responses were edited by a generous volunteer who happens to be a professional editor.

All participants reserved the right to approve and change their own text. They were also allowed to withdraw their participation at any time. (Kathy Khang, unfortunately, found herself too ill to join us.) These views thus are of their own free will and are entirely their own.

“Jo” and “Bob” are both real people who chose to give their opinions anonymously. The details about them are real. This is their honest opinion.

We know that journalists discourage the use of anonymity. We are not media. We are a nonprofit ministry that prioritizes God and relationships.

Why allow for anonymity:

  • Anonymity is one creative way to talk about what is taboo.
    Challenge 6 (of the 7 challenges that form our mission): Asian, American, and Christian cultural norms make it difficult to address our problems. It’s often really hard to express a true opinion, when others around you in your life don’t understand it, want to hear it, or believe it.
  • Anonymity allows for a safe way for necessary things to be said.
    Being honest and vulnerable is not always rewarded, especially if you are the first to express an unpopular opinion and if you do not necessarily have the authority, place, or status to express that opinion.  There are real life stakes: loss of job; loss of friends, family, and fellowship, etc. Each contributor and interviewee has to live with the consequences of publicizing his or her view.
  • We want to grow in understanding God, ourselves, and our neighbors.
    To do so, we need to hear opinions that are not as popular or ones that are only uttered in private.

We try to be responsible with our use of anonymity:

  • Opinions must be honest and true. While we know and can check the true identity of an anonymous person, we cannot check if this is truly his or her opinion. We trust them to God that they are speaking honestly. We pray and ask enough questions to try to discern if this person is a provocateur, someone who seeks controversy only for its own sake.
  • In a forum or where we’ve collected opinions of a group, anonymous views must not be already represented.

We’re still prayerfully thinking through our use of anonymity. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please let us know.

 

Comments are closed.