Jesus wouldn’t shoot anyone. He wouldn’t shoot anyone over a parking space whether the person was Muslim or not. Jesus wouldn’t shoot a person because they had black skin. Jesus wouldn’t shoot anyone over land, oil, religion, or politics. So if you are going to commit violence with your actions or your words, please stop using Jesus to say that you are justified or that someone else’s horrific actions are justified. Jesus was not violent and did not advocate for violence against anyone else. Those of us who call ourselves Christians need to stop saying that Jesus would approve of shooting, of war, of any kind of hatred or violence.
I think of what happened on that mountain top centuries ago with Jesus and his disciples. Then I think about all the violence and hatred supported in the name of that bright, shining light, God’s own beloved, and it makes me sick. I know I am not alone. I will not remain silent. I’m tired of those who spread nothing more than hatred in Jesus’ name having all the say. I don’t know if Craig Stephen Hicks had any religious motivation for killing three people. But I have heard others justifying his behavior because his victims were Muslim. They were human beings, young adults who had so much life ahead of them. Nothing can convince me that there is any good reason for them to be dead. And saying that they were Muslim so that somehow makes it okay, just makes the tragedy of their murders that much worse. For those of us who have witnessed the Light and have heard the voice of Love, to remain silent is a greater crime.
The outrage after President Obama’s reference to the Crusades shows just how much we aren’t willing to consider the violence throughout Christian history. The problem is that it has not ended. No, we are not declaring a religious war against another nation or people. But violence is pervasive in our society where Christianity still holds the religious majority. Too many of us or our friends or neighbors still think Christianity makes some kinds of hatred and violence okay.
Who really thinks that Jesus would not want LGBT people to marry? Who really thinks that Jesus would want poor people to remain hungry and thirsty and without medical care? Who really thinks that Jesus thinks differently, feels differently, about people based on the color of their skin or their country of origin? It’s time we stop this foolishness. Christians today may not be as bad as ISIS, but we have been in our sordid past. And some of us aren’t all that much better even now. If fear and hatred guide our words and deeds, then we are still committing violence and, likely, using Jesus to justify it.
So I repeat myself. Jesus would not shoot anyone for any reason. Jesus would not exclude anyone from the rites and sacraments of the church. Jesus would not hate anyone. It’s time to make it stop. Wherever you are, make the violence stop in your life and let the transfiguring light of God shine through you so that other lives may change.
The Crusaders of long ago didn’t know better. We do. Let’s do better. Now.
RCL – Year B – Transfiguration – February 15, 2015
2 Kings 2:1-12
2 Corinthians 4:3-6
Photo from Pixabay.com. Used with permission.