To the Editor:
Evil is winning. Fear is spreading across the land. National figures are using language and concepts about other races, religions and nations that we have not experienced since the KKK preached its poison about blacks, Catholics, Jews and Asians. We see places of worship and faith-based universities urging their people to arm themselves against the enemies.
Christ was a radical. He defied the common wisdom of his time. He was crucified for this and so that we could have life, life to its fullest. When we denigrate others, when we arm ourselves against the stranger, we turn our backs on his sacrifice. The fifth chapter of Matthew contains some of the most radical words of Christ. “Love your enemies,” “pray for those who persecute you.” In the 26th chapter, when facing an armed mob, Jesus commands his followers to disarm. If we emulate Christ, we are Christians. If we do not live as he commanded, can we claim that name? “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
Few of Christ’s disciples escaped stoning, crucifixion or beheading. Yet we all expect to die of old age. Few Christians can live out the great command to go out to the world with the good news. We will not reach out to the stranger just moving into town, much less go to his country to experience the realities of his life. We will not greet or minister to him, but instead will arm ourselves against his desire to achieve for himself the blessings we have received.
Volunteer, Diocese of Davenport Social Action Office.