Sunday, June 22, 2008

What Happened To Christian Compassion?

Lloyd Clarke of Frankenmuth, MA, who happens to be an atheist, has asked that crosses be removed from two bridges and the seal of his town. Now, there is nothing terribly usual about this situation. It's far too common for Christian symbology and beliefs to infiltrate aspects of the government. And it isn't unusual for those who believe in the separation of church of state to request that the symbols, or whatever, be removed.

To be fair, the town removed the crosses on the bridges, but they are fighting tooth and nail to keep the cross on the seal. And that's not uncommon either.

Here's something else about this situation that doesn't seem to be uncommon:

Children taunted the 66-year-old Clarke. A letter writer accused him of trying to reduce Frankenmuth to "Satan's pit." Another said crosses were as much a part of the town as its renowned chicken dinners...

The local paper received a deluge of letters that questioned why Clarke moved there, accused him of harassing them, and said he should move to Russia or China.

Talk radio called him an idiot. A blogger told him to pull in his horns.

Two prominent themes run through the reaction to Clarke's request, themes we've seen played and replayed again in the fight to keep church and state separate in a country that is dominated by those of the Christian faith: the Christians are acting belligerantly toward the minority en masse and are simultaneously claiming that they are being "harrassed" for their beliefs. I don't think I have to point out the inconsistency in this particular situation. Sounds like textbook projection to me. But my question is: what happened to all that Christian compassion and humility I keep hearing about?

Christians will often say that their religion is one of compassion, love and humility. But these certain aren't traits being displayed by the Christians of Frankenmuth, nor have they been displayed by Christians in other separation of church and state disputes. I think it is about time for Christians like those in Frankenmuth to clear up this contradiction one way or the other. Either admit that your religion isn't about compassion and humility and loving your neighbor or start acting like it is.

And for those of you who have the thought "those aren't real Christians (TM)" on the tip of your brain, answer me this: are there any real Christians (TM)? Where are they? Why aren't they loudly condemning those who act the way the people of Frankenmuth have?

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