At church, we make it an unspoken “policy” to stay away from blatantly political discourse. That doesn’t mean, however, that we are unable or unwilling to take a stand on the issues of right and wrong. Christ himself speaks numerous times throughout his ministry about being the salt of the earth and the light of the world in a world of darkness. In essence, it’s our job to call out right and wrong for exactly what it is.
It wasn’t long after the tragic events in Charlottesville, Va., last month that commentators hit the airwaves in an attempt to dissect what was wrong with our country and why racism and racist events — with some turning violent — seem to be on the rise.
Easy answers are nowhere to be found. And when someone offers up an “easy answer,” it’s typically nothing more than a trite platitude, as the words “easy” and “answer” typically don’t go beside each other in real life.
But what we should shoulder as our responsibility, regardless of whether we lean to the left, the right or fall somewhere in the middle, is that violence against others because of their beliefs is not something Jesus would condone. Ever.
And for that reason, it’s also our responsibility to let it be known that we will not tolerate groups that are spreading any kind of hatred, be it political or otherwise.
Every generation has the collective “moment” that is forever seared into our minds as the day horrific reality becomes just a little bit too real. Whether Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK or MLK or the events of Sept. 11, we remember right where we were. For my generation, the escalation of religious and/or racial violence began with Sept. 11 and hasn’t stopped since. While each act of violence is separate and horrific in its own right, all the senseless attacks and terrorism of the last sixteen years share one common denominator — they are wrong because Christ is not a savior of hate.
As one of my many favorite Christian singers, Natalie Grant, recently pointed out online, we must point out violence for what it is — violence is evil, regardless of the “reason” behind the hatred. We must choose to love our neighbors, as we are commanded to do. And we must not tolerate any “ideology” that suggests otherwise.
Christopher Dixon is the Chief Operating Officer of eLectio Publishing (electiopublishing.com) and the pastor of West Finley Baptist Church near Fordland, Mo.