By Stanley Campbell
Got some responses about my “Christian extremist” comments in my last column.
I’d written “when I heard about the killings in Norway, I thought ‘Muslim extremists.’ Surprise, it was a ‘Christian extremist.’ My apologies.”
Instead of responding to my juxtaposition of the words “Muslim” and “Christian” modifying the word extremist, the complaints went straight for the idea that I would dare call any terrorist a “Christian.”
I wrote on: “I do not know where Jesus suggests that we kill our enemies, or those we disagree with. Those are the ranting of an ‘anti-Christian,’ at least in my mind. Jesus talked about love, about helping the poor, about turning the cheek. He let the Romans crucify Him, and came back to tell us we should not be afraid of death, or evil. Good will win out.”
No, the complaints focused on the use of Christian with the word extremist, as if there were no such thing.
I saw Jon Stewart’s excellent monologue about the very same thing, where Fox News correspondents focused on those two words, and ignored the story of the suffering of the victims. In fact, they declared themselves the victims, because the “mainsteam media” (i.e., every other media in the world) would dare imply that a Christian could go crazy and kill people.
First, I’d like to remind you that Christians have been killing people for 2,000 years. And second, the Oklahoma bombing was the act of Christian extremists in our own country. There are Christian extremists armed to the teeth, waiting for a sign from God that Armageddon is to begin, and they are itchin’ to deliver the first blow.
I closed with the prayer, “I wish God would come back and, with a booming voice, and maybe a fiery sword, tell everyone to lay off the violence.” No one, apparently, joined me in that prayer.
So, again, I guess we have to continually remind people that love is stronger than hate, as least those of us who believe in the nonviolent Christ. And yes, I say that to anyone who tries to use God as a reason for killing God’s creation.
I got some calls about my summer comments about the gambling legislation sitting on the governor’s desk. I’d suggested that “the betting is the governor will not approve most of the legislation. … Too much money for too few rich people, and hardly any oversight.”
A pleasant surprise: all the calls agreed with me, and one even suggested that I expand on my comments “just to make sure, try giving the governor a call, and tell him you don’t want any more gambling (we have enough already, and we are losing our shirts).” They wanted me to include the phone numbers of the governor. OK, here they are: (217) 782-0244 is the Springfield number, and (312) 814-2121 is his Chicago office number. Give them both a call.
Petitions are available online at ilcaaap.org, and you can drop them off at Second Congregational Church, downtown Rockford. Some of us are hoping to meet with the governor and tell him not to believe everything you read in the daily paper.
Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.
From the Aug. 17-23, 2011, issue