A rabbi once said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?”
Love your enemies.
We don’t do that well in America at all, this supposedly Christian nation. We hate our enemies. We treat them horrifically; we call them names. We laugh at their missteps, and refuse to listen to them.
This has always been simmering in the background, but really came to the forefront in the 2000 Presidential election, when Gore v. Bush made it to the Supreme Court and people felt that their votes didn’t count. So the best way to address this was to resort to name calling.
I saw on Facebook last week a picture of Hitler talking about Socialized Medicine. A friend of a friend posted it, and tagged my friend. Of course, the implied message was that President Obama had stooped to the depths of Hitler. I’ve heard this before of course. And I saw bumper sticks for Bush/Satan back in 2004 (instead of Bush/Cheney).
Where has the dialogue gone? What about even showing a bit of love?
Many Christians have aligned themselves with the GOP who have quite a few incendiary radio personalities (the left have them too, but I don’t think they are as well known). They listen to the radio and then get worked up themselves and start viciously name calling. There is little if no denouncement of things that cross the line. Some Christians have aligned themselves with the Democrats, and often claim a sense of superiority, looking down on Republicans as unintelligent (and much more).
The problem is that Christians have gotten so used to this that they get downright nasty to those who disagree with them. And when people who do disagree with them (be they Christian or no) talk with them and get heated, well it keeps escalating.
Jesus says we need to love our enemies. Show them respect. Turn the other cheek.
If nothing else we should at least be civil.
When a person claiming to be a Christian equates a President wishing to bring medical care to more people is equated with a man who killed 6 million Jews, well that’s just wrong. When a person claiming to be a Christian says all those living in Red States are ignorant, inbred rednecks who can’t have an intelligent thought, well that’s just wrong too.
If we were a Christian nation, there would be more civility in the public arena. And this won’t change until Christians, and others, begin following the advice of that wise rabbi.