Disclaimer right up front: #NotAllChristiansBlahBlahBlah and #ButButButShariaLawBlahBlahBlah and #DontWantToHearIt
In I, Claudius, the emperor Caligula survives a near-death illness. Afterwards, some toady senator is sucking up to him and avers passionately that he had prayed to the gods to take his life instead of Caligula’s — and Caligula levelly says, “Well, why are you still here then? I’m alive, and it seems wrong to me that both of us should be.” The senator is forced to commit suicide.
Caligula takes a statement at face value and pursues it to its excruciatingly logical conclusion. Albert Camus wrote an entire play about Caligula around this very concept.
Idea — > Action
So, this happened.
Here’s the deal: I’m sure you’re horrified (as you should be) and condemnatory (as you should be) of what this young man did. I’m sure you’re grateful he didn’t get to go through with it.
But are you horrified and condemnatory of why he did it?
Of course he’s mentally ill. But is the basis for his actions unfamiliar to you? Were you surprised to find that he thinks that gay people and non-Christian people are “other”? What does your religious environment teach you about those people?
I mean, if he had planned to bomb his school because he thought people who liked broccoli deserved to die, you would have shaken your head and thought, perhaps, “That’s just weird.” But gay people and non-Christians — let’s face it, his position on those people is not something you’ve never heard before, is it? I know you condemn his actions, but do you agree with his premises? Is it OK for him to think like that, just not follow through? Is that what your church professes?
Before you reach into your pocket for your “Hate the sin, love the sinner” shibboleth, don’t. You’re still drawing a circle around “those people,” and I’m pretty sure — having survived a Baptist upbringing — that you’ve been given explicit instructions about that.
Idea — > Action
It’s as simple as that.
Thanks. Glad we could chat.