The recent tragedy in Tucson will have had at least one positive outcome if it leads to some soul-searching about the vitriolic political rhetoric that threatens to end civil discourse in this country.
If it does I can only hope there might be some spillover into the nature of religious discourse as well.
The night after the Tucson shootings I was listening to a Christian broadcaster on short-wave radio. The preacher referred to the Supreme Court judges as “snakes in black robes,” to the president and members of Congress as “snakes, the spawn of Satan, and enemies of the Lord.” He then quoted God as saying in the Old Testament: “Bring me my enemies and slay them in my presence.” I could scarcely believe my ears. He was justifying the attempted assassination of a member of Congress. I tuned around and listened to several other Christian broadcasts. I heard nothing but hatred spewing out of the mouths of reverends X, Y and Z: hatred of gays, Muslims, Jews, racial integration, inter-racial marriage, etc. It is clear to me that Islam has no monopoly on religious extremism. We have plenty of it in our own Christian family.
How terribly sad to see Christ’s message of love for our fellow man twisted into a message of hatred and intolerance. And how frightening it is to see the coupling of religious and political extremism not only abroad, but here in the United States as well.