I have to get this off my chest. I’ll add links later because right now, I just need to write this and then get to writing that chapter.
Lately, after the increase in deadly violence associated with right-wing extremists- the death of Dr. Tiller in batshit crazy Kansas and the slaughter at the Holocaust Museum- we’ve heard the mouthpeices of the organizations attached to those who claim responsibility for these murders. I would even call these events assassinations. I’ll be honest: what disturbs me most is not necessarily the violence, per se. What makes no sense to me at all is how the people speaking on behalf of their organizations such as Operation Rescue, who adamantly claim to be doing the work of God as proclaimed in the Bible, have the nerve to say, and they say this outright in case you haven’t heard it, that Obama is making it inevitable for violence.
Do you get that? They’re saying that President Obama’s policies- and they have some convoluted interpretations of what his policies are, to be sure- are driving them to violence. It sounds an awful lot to me like the battering husband who says his wife made him do it.
So, the next question is, Really? When- WHEN did Jesus EVER condone violence? When did he ever condemn any one to hell, much less advocate killing anyone outright?
Then, the talking heads in the media, i.e., Rush and Co., claim this is a leftist thing…that’s another post. Here’s what I want to know, though: if these are the fringe, and in my heart I know they are, where is the pushback and the visible, vocal backlash from the moderate Right? Where are the moderates in all this, and why aren’t they doing more to be heard and to dismantle the viability of nuts like O’Reilly and Limbaugh? And where are the progressive denominations, speaking up and reaching out to claim their legacy of Christianity in the public forum?
I’m afraid my answer to that is too cynical. But now is not the time for silence. At best, this silence feeds the disillusionment of people like me. At worst, it ends in the death of innocent people.
An endnote: I’ve always loved Dave Matthews Band, but their new CD is a particularly apt soundtrack to the events in the U.S. the past few years. In it, I hear the words of a Quaker whose family left South Africa in protest to apartheid and they pertain all the more right now. If you haven’t picked it up, do, and listen carefully. It’s worth it, even if you don’t like them.