Wednesday, June 22, 2016

For Orlando - The Ultimate Dishonor of the Dead

It is referred to as “The Trial of the Century.” The official name of the 1995 case that earned that nickname was the “People of the State of California vs Orenthal James Simpson” (a.k.a. the O.J. Simpson murder trial). It became known as the trial of the century because it was the most famous trial in terms of ratings, followers and the polarizing infamy of the verdict. It was also infamous for another reason – it was just another beginning to yet another sad end. You see, everyone knew that O.J. Simpson was guilty of murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. The evidence was overwhelming. But the jury deliberated only four hours and declared O.J. Simpson “not guilty.” The trial's fame thereby made it a landmark beginning of the end of impartial justice and impartial media. It was also the beginning of the end of honoring dead victims.

The ultimate dishonor of those that are killed is when the known killer is declared innocent. Can you think of something more dishonoring to the victims and their families? For example, in the civil trial that followed the murder trial, O.J. Simpson was found responsible for the killings and the families were awarded large monetary damages. But, following the monetary award, in the words of Ron Goldman’s father, “The jury decision of last Tuesday [“not guilty”] was the only decision important to us …The money is not an issue. It never has been. It's holding the man who killed my son and Nicole responsible.” When we experience a tragedy of violent proportions, after we have had the time to mourn, it is crucially important to soberly honor the murdered by holding the murderer fully accountable. That begins by declaring the guilty, “guilty.” But, when we look clearly in the face of the guilty and boldly declare them “innocent” or attempt to transfer guilt to a party that is not even remotely at fault, that is the ultimate dishonor to the murdered.

And, this is the dishonor that we are witnessing in the horrific wake of the Orlando terrorist attack at the Pulse night club. What is guilty in this case is something other than what we seem to be holding accountable. The 49 dead were not killed by the Second Amendment. They were not killed by easy access to guns. They were not even technically killed by an AR-15. And they were certainly not killed by a hostile environment created by homophobic Christians. Yet, those are the wrongly convicted things that seem to dominate the vast majority of our condemning speech. But, evil is always at the hands of humans, not things, not laws and not fictitious environments. By convicting wrongly, we are failing to rightly declare the guilt and motives of the truly deserving party – militant Islam.

Instead, political correctness rules on a mighty throne and demands that we bow and dare not utter the proverbial identity of the proverbial killer lest we be defamed as racist (even though religion is not a race). Politicians seek to take political advantage and find compromise on hasty gun control laws. They seek to close the infamous (yet fictional) “gun show loophole.” They seek to restrict actually explicit Constitutional rights in favor of those that don’t even exist. They seek to castigate the ease of buying weapons when in fact buying weapons is not as easy as is being screamed. The shooter in this case passed all background checks in spite of being on FBI’s watch list (and he did not buy his non-AR-15 at a gun show). Side-note: if the FBI can’t even protect us from a terrorist on their watch list, how can we naively believe that our government can screen Muslim refugees? I digress. Ironically, those at the highest levels of the political left in this country were quick to say that naming militant Islam would not have prevented this crime. By that same logic, passing the legislation that they seek to pass would also not have prevented this crime. But, alas, bad logic apparently can only be applied against one side free from accountability. Lastly, the victims were certainly not killed by a hateful environment created by Christians. All of the above are examples of refusing to declare clear guilt upon the clearly guilty – militant Islam. Sadly, when we seek to blame all the things that actually had little to do with the crime and refuse to actually name the central and blatantly guilty party, we become shamefully guilty of the ultimate dishonor of the victims. And punishing the innocent is further enabling more carnage by the guilty.

I know what is racing through your mind - you probably hear that voice in your head pleading or sarcastically repeating, “Islam is a religion of peace.” Well, there is a time for peace and a time for war. When those in your religion are committing terrorist acts in the name of your religion, being peaceful/silent is actually incorrigible. Silence in the wake of terror is complicit and truly unacceptable. That is precisely how Nazism was so effective in brutally murdering millions of innocent minorities – because the moderate or peaceful Nazis were too cowardly to speak out or were actually silently affirming the atrocities. Well, if you won’t hold militant Islam to account in this case, then it is you who should be ashamed, not those who truly identify it. The silent Muslims are part of the problem. Silence is not acceptably peaceful because it dishonors the victims. In fact, this brand of silence must be confronted.

For example, when so called “Christians” were bombing abortion clinics in the late 1990s, Christians had every right to deny that the bombers were part of Christianity. What if Christians were silent then? What if our leaders and the media failed to identify the bombers as Christians? What if we ignored their motives? But, none of that happened. Instead, the vast, vast majority of the rest of us Christians stood up, condemned the bombings as horrific murder and helped all parties oppose and prevent them from happening again. Together with non-Christians, we did not blame weapons or other religions. We were not complicit. But, why are “moderate” Muslims not condemning the attacks today? Muslims remain largely silent, partly because those in power do their bidding for them, including protecting their silence from public scrutiny. But, at best this bidding dishonors the dead. How many more Christians, homosexuals, women, Americans and Europeans must be brutally slaughtered, raped and tortured before we wake up and deal with a very clear and present danger?

Lastly Christian, never forget that this same dynamic is on parallel display in the very origin of our Christian Faith - the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When Jesus died on the cross, it would have been easy, yet wrong, to cast blame at the Romans, the Jews, or even the invention of the cross. That would be wrong because the guilty party was me. My sins nailed Him there. And, yours did as well. To claim anything other dishonors the One who died for that very reason.

In conclusion, in Isaiah 5:20 God says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” Translation: God, the ultimate Avenger, will judge and execute justice upon those who call the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent. Christian, in light of that verse and everything else we know about God’s nature, in view of this horrific terrorist attack in Orlando, you should watch your words and thoughts very carefully. Do all that you can to refrain from calling evil “good” and good “evil.” Speak truth even if it offends. Call evil “evil”. The victims deserve so much better than the current deception with which they are being insulted. They deserve our love and prayers in addition to holding the guilty accountable. After all, God does not call “woe” upon anyone lightly. He always means what He says ... and executes it.

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