Christians Need to Speak Out against these sorts of Abominations!

On Facebook and elsewhere, I’ve begun to see signs of the extremism which I am convinced does not characterize everyone on that side of the political and religious spectrum, but which will need to be addressed by other conservatives who recognize it as not merely inappropriate hyperbole, but expressions of hatred, if we are to have any chance of moving forward as a society in a positive fashion.

What sorts of things am I referring to? First, there’s the comparison of president Obama to Herod on Facebook (HT Bob Cargill):

Then there’s the McDonald’s restaurant flying its flag at half mast:

And then there’s the death threat which Joel Watts shared.

This sort of extremism shows just how badly skewed the moral compass is of some people – and here I am interested in those who claim to be Christians. If you think that the election of a president who is himself a Christian is comparable to living under Herod, or the equivalent of someone dying, or a reason to kill, then at least have the courtesy to just call yourself a “right wing extremist” without the Christian label. For some of us, words and labels actually mean something, and having this attitude is incompatible with claiming to be a follower of the one who taught us to love our enemies. And if you are a Christian on the Republican side of the political spectrum, and are as appalled as I am at the above, then please have the courage of your convictions and call your fellow conservatives on this. They are more likely to listen to you than to a liberal.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dcspinks Chris Spinks

    “Then there’s the McDonald’s restaurant flying its flag at half mast:” – and upside-down, from what I can tell. Even classier!

    • Pseudonym

      It’s a violation of the United States Flag Code. Half-staff and union-down constitutes disrespect for the flag.

      Though I should point out, for completeness, that there are US Supreme Court rulings to the effect that politically-motivated violations of the Flag Code are protected by the First Amendment.

  • Straw Man

    Uh, back when Bush (also a self-identified “Christian”) was killing innocent Iraqis and Afghans by the bushel, it was “left-wing extremists” who suggested there might just be something, um, wrong with that. So now that the same acts are perpetrated by a president with essentially the same policies, complaining about it makes one a right-wing extremist? I’ve switched wings without changing my position in the slightest, and saying the same things I’ve been saying since about 2004? That’s… quite amazing.

    The comparison to, say, Herod, would fit Bush and Obama equally well, and would have fit Romney if he’d been elected. They claim the right to kill on their word alone. I don’t compare them to Herod, but that’s only because I compare them to Nebuchadnezzar myself: “Whom you will you put to death, and whom you will you keep alive.”

    Does that mean they aren’t Christians? That’s not for me to say. Paul was a serial killer who became an apostle. There have surely been Christian serial killers before. Including Christian serial killers convinced of their own rightness, like Torquemada for instance.

    • Claude

      The comparison to, say, Herod, would fit Bush and Obama equally well, and would have fit Romney if he’d been elected.

      Really? Please cite the executive order commanding the US military to purposively slaughter babies. I’m sure it exists somewhere in your Manichean world.

      • Luke

        Yes, because Obama signed an order to order doctors to perform abortions. Really? Is that really what you are saying? I think not. No one wants to see more abortions. Please show me where Obama said he wants to see more abortions happen.

        • Claude

          What? No, that’s precisely not what I’m saying. We are making the same point!

          • Luke

            Sorry, totally misread your post. My apologies.

            • Claude

              No problem!

        • andom

          “Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare”. Sentence from the 2004 Democratic Party platform.
          ‘Rare’ removed from the the 2008 and 2012 platform.

  • Ken Brown

    Not to defend the indefensible, but I’m fairly confident that your poster was simply assuming that abortion=the murder of a child, and Obama’s support for free-access to abortion is no secret. On the scale of hateful Facebook remarks, I’m afraid I’ve seen far worse today…

    • Paul D.

      I guess it’s too much to hope that that Facebook poster was referring to, say, the slaughter of hundreds of peaceful civilians in dozens of villages around Pakistan by Obama’s drone attacks. The deaths of furriners are completely off the radar of political shills.

  • Kaz

    I was appalled too when Governor Walker’s life was threatened by a liberal on Facebook, but, sadly, that was only one very small part of the extremely bad behavior exhibited by liberals in Wisconsin during the recall election. All such bad behavior is inappropriate for a Christian, and all Christians should acknowledge as much regardless who the object of hatred happens to be.

  • koala_rocket

    Why was everyone’s name/face blurred out (on the facebook screenshot) except for the guy with offensive comment’s? It’s like you’re subtly encouraging people to harass him online. Not cool at all.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I don’t know the answer to that question, since the image reached me in this form. If I had made it, I would have blurred out all names. But since it was already circulating in this form, it didn’t seem to me that making additional changes to the image would accomplish anything, and so I didn’t tamper with it.

  • andom

    Prof. McGrath,
    where are your posts about death threats against Romney?
    http://digitaljournal.com/article/335002
    For some strange reason you seem to be able to see only signs of extremism of one part.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I only heard about the death threats against Romney well after I posted this. I obviously condemn extremism and the issuing of threats of violence or murder no matter who they are aimed at or who makes them.

  • Pseudonym

    To be fair, we don’t know why the McDonald’s was flying its flag at half mast. I was sad to hear that britcom legend Clive Dunn died.


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