Jon Stewart on the Charleston shooting: sort of like a prophet

Last night I watched this clip of Jon Stewart commenting on the tragic shooting in Charleston. And I thought to myself, “This is what prophets do.”

No, Stewart isn’t exactly like a biblical prophet–although I think personalities like Jeremiah or Ezekiel were quite good at holding an audience and had no problem using the shocking and bizarre to make a point (try reading Ezekiel 16 at the dinner table).

But I see Stewart using his public platform here to call out sin, clearly, without compromise.

Not simply the sin of individual racism that led to this tragedy.

But the deeper sin of the collective racism of our country that supports and nurtures killers like Dylann Roof and of the structures in place that can’t quite seem to get up enough steam to move mountains if necessary to do something about it.

Biblical prophets held Israel’s leaders accountable. They got in their face, like they were prosecuting attorneys bringing out a laundry list of crimes against the people.

Biblical prophets were voices of moral consciousness and tireless advocates for the marginalized, the vulnerable, the oppressed.

They were voices of what the Bible calls justice and righteousness.

Jesus spoke with this same prophetic voice while wandering the Galilean countryside speaking of the Kingdom of God, which is marked by peace, self-denial, service, humility, and an absolute refusal to mete out violence against one’s “neighbor”–against anyone we should come across.

Not just people like you, but anyone. Even people you have been programmed to hate.

Bringing justice and righteousness to our world is nothing less than what the Bible calls: salvation, deliverance, redemption–words contemporary Christian rhetoric often restricts to spiritual matters.

Though those words include our spiritual state, the ancient Hebrews understood the body and soul, the individual and corporate, the psychological and sociological to be meshed together as one organism.

Israel’s rulers had the sacred–I will say it again, sacred–responsibility to insure that justice and righteousness are upheld for the good of the whole.

And like a prophet, Stewart took a step back and looked at the big picture. He was somber, angry, exasperated, and grieved by injustice.

Like a prophet, I heard Stewart getting political–laying bare the ugliness all around us and the insanity that allows it to happen–or even excuses it.

But I also heard a bit of hope, which biblical prophets also give, that it does not need to be this way. We can live differently.

Yes, Stewart’s rhetoric was sweeping and “black and white” (the pun he himself used at the end of the segment), but that is how prophets speak when they are getting to heart of what is wrong and laying out a vision for what can be.

I know Christians, too, work tirelessly to bring justice and righteousness to our communities. But Stewart has a big platform. I’m glad he used it to shatter complacency and call for justice.

Just like a biblical prophet.

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  • Brandon

    Stewart said many good things. Our country does need to do a much better job in fighting racism and educating the public. I agree that this is a good illustration of prophetic speech, and I hope that Stewart comes to know the God that loves righteousness and justice, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    However, can I just say that this business of reducing the civil war to little more than a war between racists and non-racists has gone on long passed its expiration date. Open a history book people, it wasn’t that simple.

    • Jeff Y

      With all due respect, the history books are clear that slavery – and race based at that – was fully at the heart of the causes of the civil war. Without that, there would have been no war. But worse than the Civil War and slavery was Jim Crow which was equally if not more oppressive in many instances – and fostered even greater hatred. But, for history take a look at Mark Noll’s work, for example. Alternative views are the mythology. This quote from a central southern independence document is exactly to the point – not a central foundational view of the new government:

      “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics. Their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails.”

      http://web.archive.org/web/20130822142313/http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/cornerstone-speech/

      • newenglandsun

        So please explain why so many of our own U.S. Presidents had slaves and why racism exists in northern states as well as southern states. I think what Brandon is trying to say is that the Civil War did not contain a black/white (pardon the pun) racist vs. non-racist but rather that there were racists and non-racists on both sides. Perhaps more-so on the North.

        That document comes from a Confederate state though which had the large majority of racists but not everyone a part of a government agrees with its methods of governance.

        • Brandon

          Yes, thanks newenglandsun. That is my point. Jeff you’ll note that I didn’t bring up the issue of slavery in my comment. That wasn’t my point at all. My point was that there were racists in the north, too. And there were evolving views among some in the south. To make the Civil War a battle of racists vs. non-racists is a shoddy over simplification of the social views at the time.

          • newenglandsun

            These social conversations always seem to tend to start up flame wars and those with genuinely valid points to make generally get shoved out of the conversation quickly by statements such as “that’s ridiculous”. Or false accusations made against the commenter disintegrating into utter chaos. I try to avoid them at best but if I can actually point out a flaw in someone’s faulty logic, all the best.

            I personally don’t see why so many people think that if you’re part of “this nation” you agree with all its governing procedures. The USA runs on a representative democracy for starters which means the minority in the USA generally don’t agree with the governing procedures. Countries run on dictatorships are probably even worse. Speaking as a libertarian, I am part of the under-minority in the democratic pole.

            I think Jeff’s reply to you is about the same as saying “All Nazis were anti-Semites” or for a better point, “All Germans are Nazis”. There were some people who happened to be National Socialist who realized Hitler’s policies against the Jews was wrong and needed to be stopped. It’s generally due to lack of paying attention in social discussions like these that drive both sides nuts. I wish people would listen more than they blabbered.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            The primary issue at stake in this instance is not the complexities of the civil war; it is the flying of the confederate flag in South Carolina. There were antisemitic attitudes on both sides of World War II, and there were National Socialists in Germany who might have opposed the disenfranchisement of Jews. And the swastika is a religious symbol that is far more ancient than the Third Reich.

            But who thinks its a good idea to fly the Nazi swastika over a German province?

          • Brandon

            Thanks for the response, Beau.

            I don’t agree with the comparison of the South with Nazi Germany. They aren’t the same thing.

            At the time I wrote my comment it was out of the belief that the confederate flag represents other things too besides slavery. However, in reality all that should matter is what that flag represents to the black community and those that suffered at the hands of slave traders in the South. If they say it needs to come down, it needs to come down, even if there might be ‘more’ to that flag than that.

            This isn’t a good issue on which to have a history lesson.

    • Stuart Blessman

      The Jesus Juke was unnecessary.

      • Brandon

        Hi Stuart, I don’t know you, so I won’t presume. But I will say it is kind of offensive to reduce my comment to some phony baloney insincere ploy.

        Jesus may be unnecessary to you, but please respect me enough to understand he may not be unnecessary to me.

    • Andrew Dowling

      Stewart does know the Father of Jesus Christ quite well, considering he’s a practicing Jew.

  • http://thecuttingledge.com/ Phil Ledgerwood

    That does look a lot like a prophet.

    He made me see some things through the eyes of the oppressed that I hadn’t considered. I realize this post is about the function of prophecy, but as a white, American male, I need someone like a Jon Stewart to tell me about the racism endemic in my cultural artifacts that I don’t even know about.

    That’s the advantage of privilege – you don’t have to think about stuff. In fact, you can’t. I see the world through white lenses, and for every egregious thing (like a church shooting) I notice, a dozen other incidents slip under my radar, and a dozen more fire in my brain or even come out of my mouth without me even realizing I’m shoring up a power structure that the prophets would speak out against.

    So, thanks to Jon Stewart and everyone else who keeps pointing this out.

  • Kim Fabricius

    You “heard a bit of hope”?

    Stewart: “I’m confident that by acknowledging it, by staring into that and seeing it for what it is [i.e., a racism that is implacably deep-cultural, institutional, systemic], we still won’t do jackshit. Yeah, that’s us…” (And observe the inept and futile attempt to censor the word “jackshit”, with all its rhetorically significant expression of anger, frustration, and despair.)

    Stewart sounds to me like Amos — without the redactions. If there was hope, it was only at the very end: the hope in the hope of African Americans, their refusal to despair, the power of their endurance, the strength of their love, their testimony to what James Baldwin called “nothing less than the perpetual achievement of the impossible.”

  • http://www.lukelively.com Luke Lively

    Thanks for sharing. As you note, bringing justice to the world we live and touch is part of every Christian’s journey of faith. Divisive subjects such as racism and sexism are not figments of the imagination or simply issues to apply a verse of Scripture, bury the subject and then move on. In our not too distant past many churches overlooked or even supported slavery in the US (and Jim Crow laws) based on Scriptures. Many religious folks speak fervently of spiritual justice and godly righteousness but overlook “social injustice.” From its very beginning, the AME church in Charleston was active in helping people overcome not only spiritual challenges, but organized to battle social injustice. Stewart is right-we need to all take a reality-check and look into what he called the “abyss” of our own prejudices and biases to seek answers and real change. And, as Christians, we have a faith that is foundational, supportive and leading–it’s time we all faithfully shatter our own complacency and “call for justice.” Thanks again for the perspective. Best, luke

  • Jeff Y

    Amen. Often one hear’s white Christians say, “It’s just an individual” but don’t realize that there is a systemic evil – systemic racism, as well as violence – that has deeply infected American culture for centuries and there continues to be, as Stewart eloquently notes, a ‘gaping racial wound that has not healed and we pretend doesn’t exist.’

    • newenglandsun

      As squids will be squids, dicks will be dicks. I can help the fight against racism by not being a racist but regretfully, I am just an individual and so long as there are racists out there, racism will continue. The best way is to pray for the racist that he will see the futility of his hatred.

      • Jeff Y

        Actually, that racist came out of a family or sphere of influences that itself is part of a cultural climate that is a product of racial animosity going back centuries (and in America driven by many evangelicals who don’t denounce such but many of whom even into the 80’s were complicit with racial perspectives – I heard many racial jokes among conservative, bible believing (allegedly), fundamentalists in the 80’s and 90’s. All of that fosters such actions. To deny that is to imply we were raised in a vacuum.

        • newenglandsun

          I was raised Evangelical in an American enviornment where racism has infected us. I was never a racist.

          • peteenns

            Some people have helped me see that racism is deep and subtle. It is common to be racist without realizing it.

          • newenglandsun

            I think that statement is accurate as it simply is part of being a faulty human. Pending on how racism is defined in each instance. Reminds me of a CollegeHumor video I saw advertising a special drink called “Diet Racism”. The official beverage of the Washington Redskins.

      • http://thecuttingledge.com/ Phil Ledgerwood

        I agree with you to a point, but most racists are not self-consciously racist – they are products of a system built around the interests of white landowners. I would say a good chunk of racism in America isn’t from people who have actually decided certain races are bad or inferior. They’re people who don’t consciously have those attitudes but unwittingly perpetuate the system. They are racist and don’t realize it.

        • newenglandsun

          Why is it always whites who are the racists even subconsciously racist? I think racism tends to be an inherent part of all cultures if we are talking about subconsciously being a racist.

          • peteenns

            That may be true, but whites are the dominant culture.

          • newenglandsun

            Whites though have a variety of different cultures. To say that “whites are the dominant culture” is a little bit of a racial stereotype. That’s like saying all blacks have one culture. Asians have a variety of cultures as well (with a variety of different religions/philosophical sects–religion scholars debate whether they are religions or not). Russian culture is not the same as English culture. Mediterranean culture is not the same as mainstream white American culture either. And in places in Africa such as Nigeria, the dominant culture is black. In Jamaica, same thing. I’m not trying to say whites should be excused from their racism because others might also be subconsciously racist, I’m saying as everyone (red, yellow, black, white) is part of the human race, all are going to be subjected to fallen sinfulness.

          • peteenns

            “Whites though have a variety of different cultures. To say that “whites are the dominant culture” is a little bit of a racial stereotype. That’s like saying all blacks have one culture.”

            Nice try :-)

          • newenglandsun

            Um…please keep in mind that you’re talking to a guy who just graduated with degrees relating to cultural studies. 😉

          • peteenns

            From N. Korea?

          • newenglandsun

            From Arizona State University. Let’s go back to what you said previously though so I can clarify my point–you said,
            “whites are the dominant culture.”

            as if to say that all whites share the same culture. I can guarantee you that if I said that about blacks or Asians that they would find such a characterization as racial profiling at best and racist at worst.

            In a ritual, symbol, and myth class I took, we were discussing potential paper topics and one student was into heavy metal music (that wasn’t me though) and decided to write his paper on comparing the culture of heavy metal music to religious culture. The heavy metal culture has a mixture of whites, Asians, Mexicans, and black people but nevertheless, there is quite a bit of diversity within it.

            I don’t think it’s appropriate to characterize people as belonging to a single culture based on skin color as this neglects the vast amount of cultural diversity worldwide and amongst those of the same skin color. Not all whites find themselves embracing the heavy metal culture either.

            I think what you MEANT to say was that “whites are the dominant race”. Something that in America is probably true but if we are talking worldwide, it is probably Asians.

          • peteenns

            Fair point. I was focusing on the word “dominant.” There is treatment that most whites will never endure that routinely affects people of color.

          • newenglandsun

            I agree. However, there is something called “reversed discrimination” which does have an affect on white folk. I had a government teacher in high school who was describing a black student he had who had come from some state in the southeast U.S. who wouldn’t do any work and my teacher failed him. Apparently, my teacher was the first one to fail the student–“Well he just wouldn’t do any work so I gave him the grade he deserved,” was my teacher’s reply.

            I’m not trying to state that whites have had it at the same level as blacks but I certainly don’t like it when a president I didn’t even elect always accuses all whites of being racist when they take the wrong stand on a certain legal issue in America. Any way though, I can also point to that gathering I witnessed on CNN of the white and black together praying for those who have lost lives as further evidence that culture extends beyond skin color.

            Of course, there is also a theological aspect that needs to be brought up about skin color as well. When we go to church ourselves and consider ourselves a part of the church, we are considering ourselves a part of the body of Christ. There is no race–that has been eliminated and transformed. We are a culture outside the world that extends beyond race and when consider ourselves part of “this culture” that happens to be worldly, we are neglecting our status and connection to other members of this divine body. Hence, the culture of the church was seen functioning in this mass gathering I observed on CNN yesterday. Quite theologically profound I was thinking.

            I actually recently became a member of the USCF which is a member of FIDE. FIDE’s motto is “Gens una summus”–we are one people. When I go to a chess tournament, I’m not thinking about age, race, whether my opponent is Asian, Jew, or not, I am thinking “Gens una summus”–we are one people.

          • peteenns

            Do you have any black friends?

          • newenglandsun

            To be perfeclty honest, I’m much more of a loner. “Friends” equals “whoever comes over” or “whoever tends to be at church”. This includes one Asian and one Mexican. I had a black professor I got along well with. And there was a black neighbor we had who died a few years ago who was a great guy. I think most of my friends though are actually white women (I count only two though).

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            I’m really confused by that “example” you gave of “reversed discrimination”. Did your teacher receive discriminatory treatment when he failed the black student?

          • newenglandsun

            No. The government teacher was giving an example of reversed discrimination happening in places where this particular black student was formerly instructed. I’m not entirely certain we’re as big on reversed discrimination here in Arizona although I know some places where the particular work field must have “x” number of women, “x” number of men, “x” number of whites, blacks, Mexicans, Asians, etc., regardless of whether others are far more qualified for the jobs than their current staff.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Still confused. What does “reversed” discrimination have to do with failing a student who happens to be black?

          • newenglandsun

            My government teacher was the first to have given him a failing grade, the first that this student actually had to work to achieve a successful grade, due to the reversed discrimination in the places where he was from simply just allowing him to pass as remedial because he was black.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Hmmm, I’ve spent part of my career teaching part time at small colleges. I’ve seen lots of remedial students passed on through the system and the vast majority were white. Passing remedial students rather than dealing with their learning issues is certainly a problem in our educational system. I don’t think that has much, if anything, to do with the color of their skin.

          • newenglandsun

            Remedial students are not under the system of reversed discrimination. Remedial students are students who have underdeveloped skills in a certain area and need additional support in order to work on this. Considering that the education system provides remedial students with significant resources to help them achieve the skill level they need to pass, there is nothing wrong with giving a remedial student (regardless of skin color) a passing grade if he demonstrates he is qualified to do the work and pass the class just as everybody else using the resources he is given.

            There is actually no problem in our educational system concerning remedial students in regards to passing them rather than dealing with their learning issues. I’ve known quite a few remedial students and have seen the work they take to achieve a higher level of success. It is incredibly difficult for them.

            The issue my government teacher was bringing up (I EMPHASIZE SO YOU CAN STOP WARPING MY STATEMENTS) had NOTHING to do with a remedial black student but rather reversed discrimination in an area where this particular black student of his came in from.

          • peteenns

            It’s possible you’re not being completely clear, NES.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            As the husband of a wife who works with remedial students on a daily basis, I can tell you in no uncertain terms that there are a multitude of problems in our educational system failing to meet the learning needs of remedial students as they pass them forward.

            As for the anecdotal “reversed discrimination” you mention, it rather pales in comparison to the hate groups that plague citizens of color in our nation.

          • Andrew Dowling

            “I certainly don’t like it when a president I didn’t even elect always accuses all whites of being racist when they take the wrong stand on a certain legal issue in America.”

            I wouldn’t like that either; good thing it’s fictional.

          • newenglandsun

            Really? What about the Zimmerman case? Incidentally, both people involved were minority races and yet Obama turns it into a whole black vs. white argument.

          • Andrew Dowling

            Because an unarmed black kid was assumed to be a criminal, and stalked around by a vigilante with a gun. Tons of other instances of people being automatically fearful of young black men and shooting at them; heck a black woman whose car had broken down got shot knocking on a door asking for help!

          • newenglandsun

            The details of the report of the case on the news seemed foggy to me and seemed like they could go both ways. Considering the “vigilante” was a Mexican (who are also usually feared by societal standards), I am not entirely certain I could just simply throw up a “guilty” verdict on Zimmerman and when my President calls me a racist for that, I just simply think my own President is stupid. But I do not want to go into the details of a now ancient case.

          • http://thecuttingledge.com/ Phil Ledgerwood

            But I’m not talking about subconscious racism, I’m talking about systemic racism, and systemic racism in America favors whites. It is certainly different in other cultures with different power structures.

          • newenglandsun

            Okay. Well when I say I am not a racist, I am talking about systematic racism. Arizona has had quite a bit of systematic racism in its past and I’ve grown up in Arizona most of my life and I have not acquired systematic racism so the point of systematic racism being “genetic” or always just us whites is ridiculous. I’m certain that after being run out of their country, many Native Americans hold to a grudge against us white folks. Would this be systematic racism? Ever heard of reversed discrimination?

          • http://thecuttingledge.com/ Phil Ledgerwood

            I may be wrong, but you might be defining “systematic racism” as “an overt, deliberate oppression or marginalization of a people group,” and there’s certainly been plenty of that to go around, and I wouldn’t imagine you’d be part of anything like that.

            But most systemic racism is not overt. It exists in voter ID laws and how laws are enforced and standardized tests and college entrance requirements and military recruitment and wars on drugs – things that on the surface may seem harmless, equal, or even good, but actually serve to keep certain people groups away from the table.

          • newenglandsun

            Thanks for explaining what you meant by “systematic racism”. Much better understanding of it now. I think I get what you are saying and agree.

          • newenglandsun

            …and it’s not just limited to blacks either but Jews, Arabs, even Asians due to Pearl Harbor, etc.

          • http://thecuttingledge.com/ Phil Ledgerwood

            Fair enough!

          • newenglandsun

            “Fair enough” is usually not an exclamation.

          • Stuart Blessman

            You seem defensive and looking for a fight. Why is that?

          • newenglandsun

            Defensive, perhaps. When people consider me a racist simply because I take a neutral or “wrong” stance on a political issue, I will simply address I am not racist. Looking for a fight, no. If I am “defensive”, that means I don’t want a fight but have to fight back against an aggressor. One can only be defensive against aggression.

          • Maine_Skeptic

            “Why is it always whites who are the racists even subconsciously racist?…”

            They’re not. Maybe if this country was 88% black, the focus would be on black systemic racism. As it is, our shared human tendency toward bias is having a disproportionate and horrible impact one segment of our population. Who, then, needs to be reminded that they have subconscious biases? Those in a small minority, who experience the impact of other peoples’ biases every day? Or is it those who are unaware of the privilege they enjoy as members of the supermajority?

  • Al Cruise

    This took place in the shadow Bob Jones University. This would be a good time to have a discussion on what was taught in that institution over the the years about race. Then broaden that discussion to all fundamentalist evangelicals.

    • archaeologist

      why?

    • Stuart Blessman

      Conservative school, conservative theology, conservative shooter that everyone keeps saying had “traditional conservative” values.

      I’m noticing a pattern. And I’m refusing to ever be a part of it again.

      • http://david.dw-perspective.org.uk/ David Anderson

        That is textbook slander, served neat. With some hear-say thrown in for free.

        When someone walks into a church, and murders people at a prayer meeting, and you decide that this is a great reason to publicly blame a group of Christians, without any evidence of a connection, you’re not saying anything at all about the event, or about any Christians. You’re saying things about yourself and your own state of heart.

        • Al Cruise

          This shooter said he wanted to start a race war. This is all about racism. The discussion needs to happen on what are the origins of racism. White people are not born with a hatred for Black people. That kind of racism is a taught and learned behavior. It is taught by people who first create a culture to make the teaching of it acceptable. There is not environment more suited, than a fundamentalist conservative religious environment with inerrant Bible beliefs, where nothing should be questioned, for such teaching to occur. I suggest you seek out and talk to people who attended Bob Jones university over the past decades and find out first hand on what was taught about race in that institution. That teaching was spread throughout the south in private schools through teachers who were indoctrinated at that institution. Hard copy evidence is available as proof from former students to assert these claims

        • Klasie Kraalogies

          You are saying a lot by running away from the obvious truth.

    • jbarlow

      After their recent sex abuse scandal and attempted cover-up, this would be a good time to have a discussion on whether or not that malignant and corrupt “university” should continue to exist in any form.

  • Stuart Blessman

    I heard it again last night amongst my friends, and I’m hearing it again today, the common rebuttal of “all lives matter” to anyone who says “black lives matter”. It’s an effective rhetoric silencing and marginalizing of the pain and trauma the black community experiences, effectively whitewashing or “whitesplaining” away their grief and rage.

    As believers…how do we best respond to this? Both to the person shouting, and to the person rebutting. Should we even?

    • http://thecuttingledge.com/ Phil Ledgerwood

      I say, “Yes, but your life already mattered.”

    • newenglandsun

      I think that to state “all lives matter” is neither whitewashing or “whitesplaining”. It is important to note that racism exists, however, the black community is not the only community that has experienced discrimination. White communities have also experienced discrimination. Catholics in America have been historically persecuted and they were largely amongst the white population. Irish immigrants have also had to deal with discrimination. “All lives matter” can only be taken as discrimination, whitewashing, or “whitesplaining” IFF it is assumed that black lives are not included in this all.

      • Andrew Dowling

        Sorry, the experience of white ethnic minorities is not in the same ballpark as that of black Americans. I’m a white Irish Catholic and my people were not being lynched or legally segregated into squalor within living memory.

        • newenglandsun

          In England, Catholics were in fact lynched simply for not belonging to the state church for a long while.

          • Andrew Dowling

            Completely apples and oranges. You’re talking about the post Reformation wars that happened centuries ago and don’t affect anyone nowadays. There is no such thing as anti-Catholic persecution in 2015 England, and there hasn’t been for quite a long while (not to mention, you can’t even tell someone is Protestant or Catholic by looking at them).

          • newenglandsun

            Not “apples and oranges”. Why do you always put people down like this? I am simply bringing up that people have been in fact persecuted in the same way black people are today. FYI, black people weren’t persecuted in England along with the Catholics for not being a part of the Church. So much for “apples and oranges”. Next time, learn what that phrase means and get with the program.

            This is one reason I don’t get into debates concerning social issues on the internet. Whenever I say something that has reason, I usually have that statement rejected by someone who just simply wants to read into what I say something negative. Or just state “oh, that has nothing to do with the situation” when it DOES! So to you I say, apples and apples.

          • Stuart Blessman

            #allfaithsmatter

          • newenglandsun

            I agree that all faiths matter. I find it stupid when my own parents talk about Mormonism and try to find fault or silliness in what Mormons believe. Of course, I believe Mormons need to strive toward a more orthodox Christianity but their beliefs are no more crazy than my own Anglican beliefs (FYI, I’m not a Catholic :) ).

          • Stevie D

            Yes, in the 17th and early 18th centuries. Not the 20th and 21st

          • newenglandsun

            I acknowledge in the 17th and 18th centuries. If you’ll note, the black community was not persecuted though in England in the 20th and 21st centuries. I am simply making a cross-historical comparison the only differences being the time periods and that one is an ethnicity, the other a religious group.

            Would it be more closer to “apples and apples” if I brought up how the Jews were also quite heavily persecuted by Hitler in 1939-1945 but are no longer being man-slaughtered (except by groups such as Hamas) today? I am just simply saying that all ethnicities, religious, and cultural groups, have struggled through the same persecutions as blacks are currently facing. Please read no further into my statement as I am extremely angered and displeased when people spoon-feed words into my mouth.

          • Stevie D

            No it would be more germane to your “argument” to stick to the issues facing races other than whites in 21st century America. Instead when you recognize the unsupportable position you have taken, you try to muddy the waters by transferring to religious persecution in England 300 years ago.

          • newenglandsun

            I am leaving this conversation as it seems most of my statements are being deceitfully warped and it is starting to anger me. You can go on and read what I said and try to figure it out from there. I’m certain you’re smart enough to do that. But do not add to what I say.

          • Stevie D

            No sir, your arguments are not being “deceitfully warped”…they are being played back to you; challenged and found wanting.

          • newenglandsun

            No. My arguments are being deceitfully warped. I noticed that the person who up-voted your comment made a comment earlier about “all lives matter” was “racist” and then made a #allfaithsmatter statement to me as if to use my own arguments against me which failed equally.

            I call a spade a spade here and wish not to discuss with either you or Stuart until you STOP DECEITFULLY WARPING MY COMMENTS!

      • http://aldaily.com/ Justin L. Conder

        “All Lives Matter” is like going to the funeral of a grieving family and stating “I too have experienced great loss! Many people in the world have suffered too!” It’s extremely inappropriate because it’s not the topic of the conversation and implies all ethnic groups are experiencing discrimination roughly equally at this time. Which is untrue.

        • newenglandsun

          No. You don’t say “all lives matter” at a funeral. You state “all lives matter” in a time of tragedy in which numerous people have been killed. I was watching CNN yesterday and they were showing a broadcast of a gathering of people who had come together to pray. Among them, there were black people holding up a sign reading, “All lives matter”.

          • Stuart Blessman

            Among them, there were black people holding up a sign reading, “All lives matter”.

      • DavidC

        That’s “important to note”? In this context of immediate reaction by people to an event like this? Really?

        Regardless of whether that point even has merit, I just can’t see how this is the proper context to “note” such a thing in the least.

        Why can’t we just respond to “black lives matter” with a sincere and heartbroken “I agree”?

      • Stevie D

        I note your use of the past tense in your justifications.

        Does this infer that the black community is CURRENTLY suffering unfair discrimination on a significantly greater scale than your other examples?

        • newenglandsun

          I am not ignoring that the black community is suffering unfair treatment. I am simply saying that over the years, EVERYONE has suffered unfair treatment at some time or another. I can only deal with current problems but simply focusing on black problems experienced now as if blacks were the only people to have suffer injustices is to ignore that people are historically connected.

          • Stevie D

            You are dancing round the issue again.

            You appear to agree that the black community is CURRENTLY suffering unfair discrimination on a significantly greater scale than your other examples.

            Then (rightly), to say ” I can only deal with current problems”

            You follow with an excuse based on historicity.

            Internal contradiction

    • charlesburchfield

      how to respond? to know that those who frame an argument like that do not empathize & are living in a reactive one size fits all fantasy. they know not what they do. Thank god you do!

  • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

    But it’s so much easier to blame others for my sins, Dr. Enns. I can construct massive rational and mythological frameworks which can con the vast majority of people into thinking that the victim is at fault. That’s such a gratifying endeavor; are you really telling me I have to give it up? But if I did that, I would have to admit how much evil I have caused, and how much evil has happened while I sat idly by, if not cheering it on.

    • charlesburchfield

      yep! this is the heart of darkness/heart of addiction i think! meanwhile the inevitable looms; the ‘bottom’ for every addict is that eventually the obsessions stop working to hide the reality of one’s hope of being in control.

  • John N

    Every time Pete posts, I read. I graduated with a Masters in NT Studies and Pete doesn’t cease to open up new vistas for me in the OT or regarding the OT’s place in the New Testament. That being said, every time a political statement is made (and Pete is not the only one in this regard), it is always in support of the left. I try to engage it honestly and assess it on its own merits, but I walk away time and again and wonder why? Are there not tragic social issues such as abortion that the left turns a blind eye to? The prophets were righteous men that didn’t sit on one side of the aisle and pretend to be moderate with their rhetoric. Jon Stewart is no prophet. “Prophets” who cry out only when the issue fits their agenda sound to me a lot more like hypocrites than God’s righteous spokesmen. I would be drawn to these pieces a lot more if I sometimes (even once or twice) saw Pete raise or talk about social issues that rattled the other side.

    • http://thecuttingledge.com/ Phil Ledgerwood

      I didn’t get from the article that Pete was saying that Jon Stewart was a righteous spokesman for God, but rather that he was doing to America what biblical prophets did for Israel. Obviously, Jon Stewart is not a biblical prophet, but he is engaging in the same sort of national wake-up calling that the biblical prophets did.

      On the other hand, do you think it’s legitimate to dismiss Stewart’s points just because he doesn’t speak up on other issues you think are important?

      • peteenns

        John, do you realize that you are suggesting that racism is a “liberal” issue? I appreciate your point but the particular issues that I care for may not fall neatly on one side of an ideological line or the other.

    • Andrew Dowling

      Well John N, the OT prophets had a lot to say about the wealthy disenfranchising the poor, material injustice, systemic repression etc. Gay marriage and criminalizing a woman choosing to end her pregnancy are not on the radar. So who is being biblical?

    • swincepatrickfeladio

      “Are there not tragic social issues such as abortion that the left turns a blind eye to?”

      I don’t think the left turns a blind eye to abortion. It’s just that the left acknowledges that the government can’t force a women to keep an unwanted pregnancy.

      Let’s say, as a hypothetical that there’s a 2 year old that needs it’s mother to give part of her body to the 2 yo, in order that the 2yo survive. Let’s say the 2 yo needed a liver transplant that only the mother could provide.

      Can the government force the mother to donate her liver to save her 2
      yo child? Of course the answer is no. The government can not force
      the mother to go into surgery to save her child.

      So, how can you expect the government to force a woman to keep an
      unwanted pregnancy. The fetus has no more right to use the mother’s
      body than the 2 yo does in the hypothetical situation.

      If someone out there, regardless of who it is, needed your body to
      live, you have the right to deny that person use of your body.

      We recognize bodily autonomy as sacrosanct in this country. Right now
      you could house a bottle of vodka, wait a few minutes, and get in your
      car and seriously injure a number of people and you would not be legally
      required to use your body to sustain their life even though you
      directly caused their harm. Why would a woman have to give up this right
      just because she had sex?

  • Andrew Dowling

    This line is so poignant “Bringing justice and righteousness to our world is nothing less than what the Bible calls: salvation, deliverance, redemption–words contemporary Christian rhetoric often restricts to spiritual matters.” That the Patristics spritualized Jesus’s teachings and dispensationalized the OT (and mostly ignored the Prophets except by taking them out of context to show that they “predicted” Jesus) is a flawed legacy that the Christian tradition has failed to correct for the most part.

  • Mark K

    This is a very good homily.

  • http://david.dw-perspective.org.uk/ David Anderson

    Every time I see a mass shooting, I look (amongst other things) for information about the murderer’s home, and whether he had a present father who wasn’t in an abusive relationship with his mother.

    Again and again, I find that fatherhood was lacking from the murderer’s life.

    The news has already shown that was the case in this evil man’s life.

    The other thing I see, again and again, is that this fact is never made the centre of anyone’s narrative. How could it be? It would involve supposedly “toxic” cultural issues. Everyone, liberal and conservative, pastors, preachers, Bible scholars, knows what subjects not to talk about too much, if they don’t want to be thought of as a crank. And besides, too many fingers would point back at ourselves – our own surrender to the sexual revolutionary agenda, and tolerance of it in our own churches. Because mass family-breakdown is as much in the churches – whether black, brown or white or whatever – as anywhere else in society.

    Hence, the commentariat will spill many words on other subjects, and almost none on this one. It’s much easier to talk about other stuff. Perhaps the elephant will kindly oblige us by leaving the room whilst we talk about something else?

    • peteenns

      So…there’s no such thing as racism, just bad parenting?

      • http://david.dw-perspective.org.uk/ David Anderson

        The logical process one would have to follow to make that inference reminds me of this recent Dilbert cartoon: http://dilbert.com/strip/2015-06-07 . Which is to say… that doesn’t seem very logical.

        • peteenns

          I’m just playing with you, David.

          But seriously, (1) do you think the Charleston shooting was an act of racism, and (2) do you really think his actions were largely a result of father issues?

          I’m just not sure what your theory adds to the topic at hand.

          • http://david.dw-perspective.org.uk/ David Anderson

            My background was in mathematics. A mathematician, a physicist and an engineer were travelling into Scotland by train. They saw a black sheep (that’s not a reference to race). The engineer said “Scottish sheep are black.” The physicist said “there are some sheep in Scotland which are black.” The mathematician said that “there is at least one sheep in Scotland, at least one side of which is black.”

            The murderer’s manifesto has been published; it would be wilfully perverse to not unambiguously affirm that he was consumed by racial hatred.

            And yet, is it reasonable to think that, if he lived in a racially homogeneous population, he would not have been consumed by hatred of something else, given what else we know about his youth? Are we supposed to treat his latching on to African Americans as objects of hatred is solely because of their race, and to take his own explanations totally at face value?

            Well, we’ve only seen one sheep today, and we only know what colour one of its sides is, so this is speculation. My point, though, was an observation based on trying to learn about what information was available about the home life of each angry young male shooter that I’ve seen in the news – and comparing that with the public narratives given about the causes; the matters that apparently merit words, and the ones that don’t. Something’s missing. We’re all playing “join the dots”, but if I had to guess the right answer or be shot for getting it wrong then I’d plump for saying the lack of fatherhood has certainly been a very significant factor in significantly many of these cases. “Show me an angry young male and I’ll show you an absent or abusive father” is a rule of thumb which works out far too well for something that gets so little attention from the culture – why is that?

          • peteenns

            Now you’ve really lost me. If you want to answer the two brief questions I posed, that would help.

    • Andrew Dowling

      Your hypothesis fails in that a sizable percentage of what could be described as some of the most liberal families (well to do east and west coasters) have the most intact families and strong marriage rates, whereas out of wedlock births and marriage rates are abysmal in the Bible belt. Suggesting the decline in marriage and absence of fathers has much more to do with economic shifts following globalization and the decline of manufacturing than any cultural effects of the 1960s.

    • Stevie D

      This just looks like racism denial

  • Frank

    A prophet speaks the truth. Stewart simply has a bias which he is using this tragedy to perpetuate.

    • peteenns

      I’m going to guess you wouldn’t be saying that if it had been someone you agreed with.

      • Frank

        Bad guess. Facts are facts and reality is reality whether we agree with it or not.

        • peteenns

          “Facts are facts and reality is reality” is a bit misleading, since we ALL interpret facts and reality. Anyway, what about Stewart’s comments have disturbed you so?

          • Frank

            I am not disturbed, frustrated maybe.

            Trying to tie this one extremely racist and vile act to “institutionalized” racism does everyone a disservice.

          • http://omg-occasionalmuffledgrunts.blogspot.co.uk/ Jez Bayes

            Would the term ‘systemic racism’ fit this scenario better for you than ‘institutionalized racism’?

            The aggressor here was on his own, not part of an institution, but he was the product of a society with a communal history that leads some people to have very distorted beliefs about their status, their world, and other people’s place within it.

            Without that background, for which we here in the UK are historically complicit for introducing to the new world the possibility of capturing, transporting, selling and dehumanizing other racial groups, this crime would have no societal narrative with which to explain it.

            Sadly, hundreds of years of precedents show that it does have that context, and statistical evidence to do with prison population demographics, poverty, educational attainment, and too many previous similar incidents, show that seeing this demoralizing incident as yet more proof of systemic racism is depressingly rational.

          • peteenns

            This is helpful, Jez.

          • Frank

            No because it doesn’t exist.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            And I suppose the League of the South, the KKK, the Neo Nazis, and the Aryan Brotherhood don’t exist either?

          • Frank

            They sure do. So do The Nation of Islam and the New Black Panthers. Groups of racists exist. No one is denying that.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Then what, exactly, are you saying does not exist?

          • Paul D.

            I guess Frank is arguing that institutions which practice racism don’t constitute institutionalized racism. I am looking in vain to see the hair he is trying to split.

          • http://thecuttingledge.com/ Phil Ledgerwood

            Frank is a troll who goes around to Christian blogs and makes inflammatory statements to get a response. He is not interested in any actual discourse, reasoning, or argumentation even for his own points. He just likes to say hyper-fundamentalist things to get a rise out of more “progressive” Christian blogs. I’m fairly certain he doesn’t even believe most of the things he says.

            He usually keeps it up until he gets banned or people quit interacting with him. He’s like the herpes of Christian blogs – you start messing with him and he gets everywhere.

      • Frank

        Facts and truth remain true whether we agree with them or not.

        Do facts and the truth frighten you?

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Don’t be obtuse; what facts and truth are you referring to?

    • AHH

      What, a bias against racism and mass murder? Count me in on that bias.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Very good post, Peter. As a Canadian that was born in raised in South Africa in the seventies and eighties, I have seen every justification for racism, and every excuse, and every denial possible – including the ones made in some comments here.

    I am sorry to say it, but the right on this continent (I have traveled in the US) is thoroughly soaked in old fashioned racism. Some on the left too. In South Africa, many had to face their own hearts. The Dutch Reformed Church (the church with the biggest influence in apartheid SA) confessed its sin openly. When will it happen here?? Truth be told, here in Canada it is not so much white vs black, and the racism that is there is less intense – but there is a lot of anti-First Nation racism. Maybe because they are a much bigger portion of the population. Last month the TRC here called the residential school system this country used to run cultural genocide. It was done in cooperation with the Church (Catholic, Anglican and others). Where is the dust and ashes?

    In the US, I would like to see the likes of the leaders of the SBC and BJU and even the LCMS and others to publicly repent of the past. Otherwise they babble but hypocrisy….

  • Victor

    this is such a sad situation – 9 innocent people murdered by a sick individual, and already the people on this blog are blaming Bob Jones University, Fox News, white Christians, etc.

    This was a sick and perverse person. He was on psychotic medication. He didn’t need racism to do what he did. It is sick to see the people on this blog blame conservative Christians and a culture of racism for this attack.

    It is equally sick when I see conservative Christians blame environmentalism for the Unibomber’s actions.

    In both these cases, a messed up person did heinous and unspeakable acts.

    Yes, there is racism everywhere – there are white racists, and there are black racists. They do stupid things like insult people, spraypaint graffiti on their houses, cheat and steal from them.

    But, when a 21 year old kids walks into a church and shoots 9 people dead, that isn’t racism – that is utterly disgusting barbarism at it’s worst.

    So yes, lets address racism that is in the country, but don’t cheapen these people’s lives by trying to blame what was done on racism, or growing up in a conservative home, or living near Bob Jones University. That is plain lazy and disrespectful of the situation.

    • peteenns

      Congratulations, you may be the only person on the planet suggesting that “racism” is not the killer’s motivation.

      • Jochem Frank

        Victor may – in the end – be wrong, but he makes valid points that speak to the heart of your post (i.e., you assume a particular dynamic to be true and he says you are seeing it too simplistically). I found his post relatively respectful; your reply, not so much.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Sorry, Jochem, Victor’s post was far from respectful:

          “It is sick to see the people on this blog blame conservative Christians and a culture of racism for this attack.”

          Was Pete’s reply worse than this? Not so much.

          • Victor

            Wow. This blew up. I think my post was not clear, or at least not qualified enough. Yes, the guy was a raving, lunatic racist. He hated black people. But, this country has lots of racist people – and they don’t kill 9 people in cold blood. My point was that there is something sick inside him, beyond racism that caused him to kill the 9 people.

            Similarly, there are lots of Muslims who hate Jews. I eat at a restaurant where the owner is Muslim, and he is always saying something negative about Jews under his breath. But, I don’t expect him to murder 9 Jews in cold blood. He’s a racist, yes. A lost racist at that. But, he is not a sick individual who will strap a bomb to his back and blow up a Temple.

            My other point was my sadness at how quickly people jumped on the Bob Jones, white Christian stereotype that fostered it. Sorry guys, but you are living in a progressive Christian echo chamber where people pat you on the back for taking shots at white Christians who are patriotic. That did not create the climate for this kid.

            In fact, the kid lamented the fact that there were no skinheads for him to connect up with. No KKK, and no neo-nazis (yes, read his manifesto). Last I read Andrew, Bob Jones University must have closed down their Skinhead club because I don’t see it on their website as a valid club. The neo nazis and KKK also appear to not be a viable club at Bob Jones University. But, it’s just to easy to throw out the “oh, how horrible our white Christian country is..”. That, of course gets you lots of points on this blog.

            The bigger point of my post was that you guys on this blog were so quick to throw the white conservative racism card at this one. That is lazy.

            I’m one of those guys who came from a fundamentalist background: the flag, the gun, the electric chair – go ‘merica! But, my encounter with Jesus has caused me to re-evaluate all of those ideas. People on the waaaay Right want no budging on the 2nd amendment, people on the waaay left want all guns banned. Jesus has taken my right-wing views and caused me to reconsider them. But, if banning guns can stop this murder, perhaps we should ban heroin and crack cocaine so that we don’t have a drug problem – or, better yet, lets ban guns in DC so there aren’t any more gun crimes – oh, wait…

            So yes, I apologize if my post, hastily written, implied that I didn’t think racism was a big factor in this kid’s actions. But, I stand firm that to blame white America for the murder of these 9 innocent lives is just lazy, anti-intellectual argumentation. Its just plain lazy. And I think Andrew’s comments about conservative homes and BJU was uncalled for.

          • http://thecuttingledge.com/ Phil Ledgerwood

            Hey Victor,

            I appreciate your clarification. It’s important to take more factors into account besides this person’s flaming racism in the bigger picture of why he did what he did. There are plenty of crazy people claiming to be Jesus or that God told them to kill their neighbor’s cat, and we wouldn’t blame Christianity for those things.

            However, racism has proven itself to be a sufficient motivator for violence all its own, not just in this country, but in many. It does not need crazy added to the mix to make it a cause for violence. Otherwise perfectly respectable people who wear badges or are decent churchgoing folk have demonstrated that, once you view someone else as subhuman, it’s very easy engage in atrocious behavior against them.

            So, while it might be lazy in some sense not to look for other factors involved in this particular case, it is not lazy in general to take a flaming, outspoken racist who shot some minorities and assume that was the lion’s share of the problem. If no racist had ever been violent, we might well wonder what the X factor was that set this one off, but that would be absurd.

          • Al Cruise

            Give yourself a history lesson and check out what conservative protestant Churches in the south taught in their churches after slavery and right into this century. Things like, the mark of Cain, etc. Teaching this kind of crap in the name of God, is what gives birth to these extremists.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Blaming conservative Christians, no, and Pete didn’t do that; as far as I can tell, only one commenter tentatively mentioned Bob Jones University.

            Blaming a culture of racism – emphatically yes!

          • Frank

            Except that one statement by Victor is stated quite well. It is sickening to see this tragedy coopted by those that have an agenda.

          • RedQueen

            And what agenda is that?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            What agenda would that be?

        • Sven2547

          he makes valid points that speak to the heart of your post

          If by “valid points”, you mean naked, unsupported assertions

    • Andrew Dowling

      While ultimately an individual is responsible for his/her actions, humans don’t live in a vacuum. While I sympathize with the general sentiment that not every act of mass murder can be blamed on a systemic problem, I think it’s pretty clear that since Obama was elected President, the amount of racial vitriol (Obama was born in Kenya/is not American, his policies favor society’s “leeches” etc.) out and about in the public sphere has increased significantly, and I find it gullible to think it doesn’t have a cumulative impact. I’ve heard a number of racist comments made to myself (they incorrectly thought I’d be “down” since I’m a white male) about the President over the past 7 years, and these are from people I consider to be intelligent and even of good character (although that opinion did drop after their comments). They are not alone.

    • Al Cruise

      You are incorrect in your assumptions. This was racism. The shooter has admitted that. People who are sick and messed up [your words] don’t care who they are shooting at. They walk into malls, colleges,schools, movie theaters, and shoot at whoever they can. This shooter targeted a specific race, did research on the Church where they were at, sat with them for awhile, and then killed them because of their race. I believe he has also left a written document about his views. This racist act that he did, is the final manifestation of an area of darkness that some accept as just a “stupid thing that people do”. It is not. All acts of racism are sowing the field and we might not like what we have to reap one day. Jesus said just as much.

    • charlesburchfield

      Victor I cannot help but notice you are getting pushback for what your wrote. I think that it’s interesting this discussion is revealing of ppl’s assumptions & lack of empathy. Why do they not understand racism isn’t in & of itself the only issue here? Is it bc no one wants to admit that the little twerp that done this could be them but for the grace of god? He’s not a monster. He’s as much in need of grace as you or I and is forgiven at the place and time when jesus said ‘forgive them father they know not what they do.’ All of us are capable of hidious acts of violence for many complex reasons. We all want grace so why does anyone think he is the exception?

      • Maine_Skeptic

        I“…I think that it’s interesting
        this discussion is revealing of ppl’s assumptions & lack of empathy…”

        You make an awful lot of assumptions
        for someone chiding others for a lack of empathy. The author of this article was decrying the corporate sin of racism that supports and nurtures murderers like this idiot. How did you overlook that in chastising those who have more empathy for the nine victims than for their murderer?

        “…Is it bc no one wants to admit that the little twerp that done this could be them…? He’s not a monster.”

        Most people are disgusted with what he did; they’re not dismissing his humanity being because of it (as modern Christians so often do of people they don’t like). Why would you assume that “people” don’t understand this man’s hatred got the better of him, which could happen to any of us? Why take issue with the label “racism” in this case, when racism is one way that human beings sear away their sense of shared humanity?

        “We all want grace so why does anyone think he is the exception?”

        Perhaps because “grace” was not on his mind for the people he murdered in cold blood. He couldn’t have “grace” for nine people who’d committed no sin other than having dark skin?

        • charlesburchfield

          please remember the thief on the cross & that when jesus looked down fr the cross
          he saw his racist murderers & asked that god would forgive them bc
          ‘they know not what they do.’ Why this blindness to cause & effect main s.?
          The problem is much much bigger than racism isn’t it?

          • Maine_Skeptic

            “…Why this blindness to cause & effect main s.?…”

            Which effect are you talking about, and what seems obvious to you as “the cause?” Why does it bother you so much to admit that racism motivated this murderer, regardless of what other things may have been wrong with him?

          • charlesburchfield

            ok main simmer down. racisim is kind of a weasel word isn’t it? lets ‘unpack’ it. The boy was racist fr a racist fam & culture I assume. He took his racism to the extreem did he not? not everybody who is racist is going to do that. So what other factors motivated him?

          • Maine_Skeptic

            “…So what other factors motivated him?…”

            You have a perspective you wish to share, and I’m listening, but I’m not interested in a Socratic approach on this.

          • charlesburchfield

            Ok here are some things I actually eperienced.
            I came fr a racist fam, racist community, was sexually abused and had other
            childhood trauma, had a dysfuntional alcoholic family system
            (wether or not alcohol is involved),
            Learning disability,
            early onset of young adult mental illness,
            P.t.s.d.,
            history of being bullied, lowself esteem.
            My criminality and and psychopathy did not turn as violent bc I didn’t have a gun but my rages were murderous. my life obsession became abt
            just looking for a vulnerable target to project on.
            In rehab I learned to control my addictions as well as my violence & I found a spiritual program that works bc I Work it in AA.
            My criminality took a diff turn but if I had access to a gun I could have killed myself or others & I almost did w my car!
            dunno what a socratic approach is.

          • Maine_Skeptic

            Mr. Burchfield, if that’s been your life, I’m just glad you didn’t go so far you couldn’t come back. I hope your life is a lot better now; it sounds like you’re due for some better times.

            The Socratic approach is when you teach disciples using questions rather than telling them the answers. I thought you were trying to lead me toward some nonsense about “sin nature” being the cause, because there’s been a lot of defense of racism since the massacre last week.

            I agree with you that the easy presence of guns is like throwing gasoline on a fire when it comes to hatred. I’m not opposed to gun ownership, within reason, but I don’t own any myself, because they make more problems than they’ll solve. For every story of someone “defending” their home and loved ones with a gun, there is a massacre, and for every time when a crazed bad guy was taken out with a concealed handgun, there are hundreds of stories of accidents, deadly firefights, deadly domestic violence, and suicide.

            I was carjacked years ago, and if I’d had a gun that day, I know I’d have had it in me to kill the attackers. The greater likelihood is that I couldn’t have reached it in time, and I’d either be dead or they’d have stolen the gun, too.

            So I guess I agree with you. Racism didn’t kill in this case; a racist with a gun did.

          • charlesburchfield

            Thx4 that! I think we are understanding each other better & that’s a great feeling! Thank you for hearing me.
            Every thing i’ve been thru is an exp that has turned around & is precious to me
            cuz it’s been a source of deep compassion for others who are suffering & trying to work thru the pain of abuse, abandonment, betrayal & inner stigma. All the work I have done to process my pain has made me certain that god is a loving god and we are all going to recover no matter what we’ve done. I think we are in the s**t right now as a nation & it’s getting worse. What is good abt it
            is that hitting bottom can be liberating some energy that was formerly used
            Keeping denial in place.

          • Mark

            IMO, you are focusing on one of the trees, and not looking at the forest. Sure, we should have forgiveness in our hearts for the gunman, and Timothy McVeigh, and Hitler; but, we should absolutely NOT overlook the continued racist attitudes in this country that contribute to acts like this, and should, instead, focus on eliminating those attitudes and minimizing the number of times something like this happens again.

          • charlesburchfield

            yes! i want to talk more abt ‘why’. Do you have some thots abt that?

    • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

      Unbelievable. A white man sits in a black church and kills 9 black citizens. He has proclaimed his racism on the internet and to friends. All of this in a state that still flies the confederate flag and is home to the such racist, white supremacy organizations as the League of the South.

      This wasn’t racism?!!!!

    • http://omg-occasionalmuffledgrunts.blogspot.co.uk/ Jez Bayes

      What was the ‘psychotic medication’, and where is your source for that statement?

    • newenglandsun

      Your post says some good things and you MIGHT be right that this was more about psychosis than racism, however, as someone who has mental disabilities of my own, I am going to have to STRONGLY disagree that racism had “nothing to do with it”. I am not too fond of what we white Christians typically style “black” churches as I prefer more quiet than rowdy which is what we white Christians typically think of when we think of “black” churches. This was a Methodist Episcopal Church though in an African American tradition which I’m guessing is NOT what we white Christians typically think of when “black” churches are being described. Being that it WAS a church, perhaps the killer’s motivations were religious rather than racist. But due to the stereotypes we white Christians have typically given to “black” churches, I’m 100% certain that this was motivated by pure and utter contempt for those with black skin color. We pray for the shooter that he is healed nevertheless as that is what the victims whose lives were lost would want.

      No, it is not all conservative Christians’ faults. You are correct about that. As for Bob Jones University, they are an unaccredited institution so I have no clue what they teach. I do know that one particular Fred Phelps went to that school. Ever heard of Westboro Baptist Church? They are NOT Christians because he who does not love, does NOT know God. Nevertheless, their head-man went to BJU. As for Fox News, I honestly don’t know enough about them but while they take a politically conservative view which I do not hold to, I see them as nut jobs at times. Then again, CNN is littered with its fair share of nut jobs as well. We need a good libertarian oriented news station is what we need.

  • Bex

    “He didn’t need racism to do what he did.” Yeah he did. He also needed a gun which he had no trouble getting. Spare me your rambling excuses for that toxic combination, Victor.

    • Victor

      155 murders in Baltimore this year. 3 last night alone. Spare me your one-sided, naive view of the world.

      Any thoughts on the illegal alien who killed that girl in San Francisco.

  • Jim Lyle

    when a sin is committed in the darkness, who is the greater sinner- the one who committed the deed, or the one who created the darkness. ancient jewish question.