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Let me just start this column by saying this is not the column I thought I was going to be writing this week. In fact, I even have a very nice little fluffy column half-written sitting on my desktop.
And then Saturday happened.
So, in case you didn't hear what happened in Virginia, a group of protesters were scheduled to march in opposition to the removal of a statue honoring Gen. Robert E. Lee; that group, whether by design or accident, had its numbers swelled by white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members. Police were anticipating between 2,000 and 6,000 demonstrators.
Of course, this spawned a counter-protest, with entirely predictable results: violent clashes between the two groups. Eventually, a state of emergency was declared. And then, a neo-Nazi from Ohio decided to drive his car through a group of counter-protesters, killing one young lady.
This is the ugliest face of America, circa 2017. The protests in Ferguson and Baltimore a few years ago were ugly, too, but they were somewhat anonymous and, at least, had proximal causes that made sense. This, on Saturday, was a small (Roger Simon, the columnist, did the math and places the total number of adherents to this ideology at less than one-tenth of 1 percent of all Americans) but, oddly emboldened group of deviants, misfits and repugnant humans feeling like it was okay to walk the streets and proudly proclaim their hateful ideology.
And, for me, the worst part of it was that so many of these troglodytes claim Christianity as part of their justification. So, I thought I should take a moment and educate anybody out there who thinks Christianity and white supremacy - or ANY supremacy - go together.
In the book of Matthew, chapter 23, Jesus tells his followers "The greatest among you will be your servant."
Or again, in chapter 20, Jesus says "So the last will be first, and the first will be last." Anybody claiming a birthright to be at the front of any line will find themselves at the back of the really important lines, if you know what I mean.
And, one more: Luke, chapter 14, Christ says again, in the context of a different parable, "whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." Not a lot of room in there for "supremacy" of any kind.
This isn't meant as a theology lesson, and I certainly am not in the business of using this column to try to convert anybody. This is, quite simply, a reminder that Charlottesville has NOTHING to do with any form of Christianity. It is a repugnant, vile, and despicable way of seeing the world that has no place in our churches, and no place in society.
This, by the way, should in no way be seen as an endorsement of the so-called "antifa" movement, the counter-protesters on Saturday. Adherents of that movement were heard chanting, at rallies around the country on Sunday night, "Cops and Klan, hand in hand." This, too, is a vile disrespecting of people who put on a Kevlar vest, put their blue uniform on top of it, and then go out in the streets at night to get shot at so that you and I don't. In fact, I tweeted a picture of a black cop, in full gear, standing guard over the rally on Saturday.
Not pictured was the same cop throwing up his lunch at that particular assignment.
Our society - our civic life - is starting to lose all of its civility. We stand on opposite sides of the fence and throw or tweet verbal bricks over that fence, and the media stands by and hypes it all. And, as it appears to the world that the fabric of our society is fraying at the edges and tearing at the seams, groups like the one on Saturday start to feel like it's safe to walk in broad daylight.
It's not healthy. Our collective demons are winning the day, and we are in dire need of someone capable of summoning the better angels of our nature.
Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His novels are available at MichaelJAlcorn.com
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