This weekend we were introduced to the horror in Wisconsin as a man shot into a Sikh Temple that left six people dead, and an officer seriously injured. The gunman was killed by police. It seems this type of thing happens a lot. I don't have numbers on the exact numbers of these types of attacks, but it's definitely too many. Not that there's ever an appropriate number of attacks like this or any other. One is too many.
Details have come out about the shooter, and it appears that it was racially and religously motivated. Witnesses claim that the shooter was a white male with sleeveless/short sleeved shirt and a 9/11 remembrance tattoo. There were also reports that he was either a skinhead or a white supremacist.
The Southern Law Poverty Center, which tracks hate groups has said that the gunman was on its radar since 2000, and that in addition to posting on the white supremacist website "Stormfront", he also led his own neo nazi band as well. He had been described as a "frustrated neo-nazi who had been the leader of a racist white power band"
There have also been suggestions, not verified as of this time, that he was seeking out Muslims to kill, and mistook the Sikh's with their turbans as Muslims. There are also reports of another tattoo on his arms that feature a symbol associated with the Christian Holy Trinity, which has brought in the religious angle, aside from the 9/11 memorial tattoo and his allegedly targeting Muslims.
As if that wasn't enough to smear good Christians nationwide, another religous attack has occurred in Missouri when a Mosque was burned to the ground (the second fire attack on the Mosque in a month). Thankfully there was no injuries or fatalities reported.
MORE AFTER THE BREAK
This is a subject that really eats away at me. There's a reason that there has been a massive rise in atheism over the recent years, and that's because of shit like this. Because of people like Pat Robertson, who when talking about the Sikh Temple shooting said that it was because Atheists hate God. No, Pat. This didn't happen because Atheists hate God. It didn't happen because same sex marriage is legal in some states, it's not because women got birth control or whatever other bullshit crackpot theory you have.
In fact the reason a lot of people hate Christianity and hate God, is because of people like YOU. I doubt it's a good selling point for Christianity when someone who for some inexplicable reason is viewed as a figurehead of the faith, and you go out spouting these insane theories, such as saying that the massive earthquake in Haiti that claimed thousands of lives and wreaked incredible damage, was due to an alleged pact with the devil that the Haiti people had made 200 years before. FYI: that's bullshit.
Or when he and the late Jerry Falwell claimed that the September 11th attacks were caused by "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"
These things are so far out of common sense and rational thinking that you would imagine nobody would possibly give him any credence at all. But there are those who do. There are those who follow his every word and believe everything he says, and there are those who despise him for what he says, and thus uses him to paint the entire faith as reflective of his views.
This type of intolerance has to stop. This type of hatred that some of my Christian brothers and sisters have for those of other faiths has to end. Jesus did not say "love one another...except for the Muslims." He didn't put a qualifier on what he said, he was very clear and deliberate with his words, even when speaking in parables. This type of hatred of those we do not agree with religiously is going to destroy our faith if we do not stop.
If you think God wants you to kill Muslims or Sikhs or abortion doctors or whoever, stop...take a deep breath...and realize you're wrong. God was able to create the entire world and everything in and around it in six days, but He needs YOUR help to kill some people He doesn't like? Did you READ the Bible? Do you honestly think that if God has a problem with someone that he can't do it Himself?
I've always said that I see no reason to get bent out of shape because someone else is doing something I don't like or agree with. If God truly truly has a problem with someone for what they are doing, then guess what? He'll deal with those people in due time. Those people will have to face God's judgement in the end, and He is more than able to take care of his own business.
Maybe you don't want to hear that because you feel it'll make you less special if you're not "doing God's work" by killing people. However it's a bitter pill you'll have to swallow.
Also I want to take this opportunity to encourage all of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to please PLEASE step up and denounce these types of attacks when they happen. We need high profile individuals to go on the air immediately on the cable networks and decry these actions.
When someone kills someone and they claim that they were doing God's work or they imply that they were doing it because they are a Christian and these other people are "unbelievers" or whatever, then we need people to step up immediately and denounce it. Speak up and let everyone know that this man or woman does NOT represent true Christianity.
That while there has been a nasty history involving Christianity and violence, that you do not under any circumstances condone what was just happened, and that you reject it wholeheartedly. Until this happens, sadly, we will have more and more people reading "so and so killed some people because he felt he was doing God's work" and they will shake their head and think, "so THAT's what God is about?"
Just like when a white person claims they killed a black person because of the color of their skin, we mock them and ridicule them and completely understand that not all white people are like that. There are a lot who feel that way but more that don't. Just like there's a portion of straight people who feel they should beat up gay people, but the majority absolutely are horrified by that idea.
I want it to be like that when someone has the balls to go and claim that they killed in the name of God. I want that to be so verboten and such a ridiculous notion that as soon as they say it, everyone immediately denounces them and say "No, that's not what God is about, despite what you may think."
So that excuse is never there. We need to be better than this, as Christians. We need to stand up for our faith which is being maligned and misrepresented. Much like Islam has been maligned and misrepresented by extremists. People think of Muslims and they think of terrorism, sadly. A lot of that blame can be laid at the feet of our political process and entities like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. You keep saying something or implying something over and over, and eventually it WILL stick.
I wrote a piece last year about my frustration with this, and how it goes a little to understanding how it must feel to be a normal everyday Muslim who has to deal with people the world over believing your faith is represented by the September 11th attacks, when all you want to do is go about your day.
I reject all forms of violence in the "Name of God". For all those who claim that God permits "an eye for an eye", you should also remember that He also said "do not repay evil for evil, for vengeance is mine".
Interesting how some of these killers pick and choose what verses they want to adhere to when they go to do what they want to do.
Finally I'll leave you with a quote which is outstanding, and is one of my favorites.
"You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image, when it turns out that God hates all the same people that you do." -- Anne Lamott