My friends in Topeka, Kansas, tell me they have seen a bumper sticker that quotes Psalm 109 in reference to president Obama. It’s not funny.
Maybe I’m sensitive because of where I live.
I sometimes have coffee in Aggieville and wonder if the ghost of Timothy McVeigh is lurking in the shadows. Aggieville was the first place America’s worst domestic terrorist was arrested. It was just a bar room fight when he was a soldier stationed at nearby Fort Riley, but he went on to worse things.
A few years after that incident, McVeigh and his accomplice rented a big white truck and filled up with gas in Riley County before they drove it to Oklahoma City and killed 19 children at America’s Kid’s Daycare Center, along with 150 adults.
During the nineties fanatics were speaking in apocalyptic terms about the evils of Bill Clinton and his wife. They were talking about concentration camps in the Southwest and Blackhawk helicopters. They were painting David Koresh as an innocent victim whose righteous blood called for vengeance. For most it was just talk. But Tim McVeigh was listening.
Or maybe it’s the hideous figure of America’s worst living hatemonger, Fred Phelps, whom I sometimes have to drive past. Fred and family give hate speech a bad name. In February I attended a conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls at Midwestern Baptist Seminary. One of the seminary’s graduates had been murdered in church, and Fred and his pitiful band of followers came to picket.
After fifteen years of hate speech directed at physician George Tiller–someone finally listened. The doctor who performed late-term abortions in Wichita was finally murdered. It happened on a Sunday morning as he was serving as an usher at his church.
Late term abortion is a gruesome and traumatic procedure–and sometimes a tragic necessity. Under Kansas law at the time Dr. Tiller was murdered, it was legal only when the mother’s health was endangered. The law was not strict enough for some, but too strict for others. But my point is this–murder was not the answer; but people kept chanting “Tiller the Killer” until someone took it seriously.
We have a peaceful way of changing national leaders every four years. In the meantime, the Bible tells us to pray for our leaders–it doesn’t tell us to take a curse out of context and pray it. You are entitled to your political opinions–but think about the effects of hate speech:
- It may set off an unbalanced person.
- It reflects on all Christians and makes us look like ignorant bigots.
In Romans 2:24 Paul quotes from Isaiah, in a passage referring to the people God chose to represent his love and goodness to the world–
God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.
How about that for a bumper sticker?