The Hostage Crisis at Congregation Beth Israel: Shameful Responses from Christian Clergy
Earlier today, a lone distressed gunman entered services at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas and took four hostages (including Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker). Amongst the gunman’s demands was the release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui (a Pakistani woman who was convicted of terrorism charges in 2010). After 11 hours, the situation ended with the death of the gunman and the rescue of the hostages.
Throughout the ordeal, I watched responses from Christian clergy on social media. Below, I’ve included some examples. Though many of these prayers are more than appropriate, pay attention to what is consistently missing.
Please join me in lifting prayers for Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville.
Prayers for the release of all Congregation Beth Israel hostages safely!
Pray for our neighbors and Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville!
Drop what you are doing and pray for Congregation Beth Israel!
Please pray for Congregation Beth Israel…
Praying for Congregation Beth Israel and their rabbi.
Holding sacred space and prayer for Congregation Beth Israel…
In times like this, I find myself so ashamed of my fellow Christian clergy.
They seem to have forgotten who we are.
Prayers for Congregation Beth Israel are not enough.
In fact, calls for prayer that didn’t/don’t include prayers for the gunman are not Christian prayers. We are called to love and pray for our enemies. None of the above prayers do that. In fact, I don’t think I saw one prayer from Christian clergy that did. Where are the hard prayers?
The responses to the outcome were even worse…
The hostages are free and safe. Thanks be to God.
Everyone at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville is free and safe!
I am so thankful for this peaceful resolution.
The terrorist never had a chance.
Praise God for a peaceful resolution!
Everybody made it out safely!
God did it!
While I too am thankful for the release of the hostages (and pray for their continued recovery), you cannot follow the message of Jesus and unreservedly/even wildly celebrate the violent death of an obviously distressed gunman. Where are the prayers of grief for him? Where are the prayers for those that love him? Where are the hard prayers?
It seems that most Christian clergy would rather just make fleeting prayers.
Love requires so much more.