Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Knuckle Draggers

I'm writing this post after taking a melatonin and failing to sleep.  You have been warned.  Recently, after an event I don't actually have to name, I found myself referring to a certain terrorist group as knuckle dragging mouth breathing child rapists.  I'm sure you know who I'm talking about.  I don't have give them more internet search hits by naming them.  Then, in typical white girl liberal fashion, I got reminded that Jesus Christ is out to ruin my day by telling me to pray for my enemies.

Think about it, there's several ways to go about this.   Dear Lord, let their brakes go out while they are going downhill.  No, nope, nope.  Can't sincerely pray that way without going to hell.   Dear God, please give them drone strikes for Christmas.  Nope, nope, nope.  Brain aneurysms?  Nope, nope, not happening.  Can't do it.  Father, bless those knuckle dragging mouth breathing.....

Still can't do it.  The temptation, as with every war, (though let's not elevate this to that level) is to dehumanize the enemy.  The bad guy.  The other.  The thing.  Couching it other terms, the redskins, the red coats, krauts, japs, frogs, savages, barbarians, hordes, dogs, and gentiles.  Anything but another human being, made in the image of God, for whom Christ also died.  A person so broken, warped by sin and hell that they think God will accept murder as a sacrifice.  A person so desperate for respect they seek it in hurting other people. People.

These are people who are doing this.  People who are broken.  Damaged.  Do I know what to do about it?  Oh Lord, no. No, I don't.   I just know we aren't doing ourselves or them or Christ any service by playing into their hands and getting down on their level.  Reducing human beings to things and animals and deciding whose life is worthless.    We need to change the conversation.   Father, forgive them (and us) for they know not what they do. 


  1. So very true. It isn't just terrorist groups either. We have to be careful how we talk about people or groups of people because the words and phrases we use reflect our conscious and subconscious thinking and can cause us to dehumanize them and once we are capable of dehumanizing any person or people it is very easy for us to deny them their human rights, dignity, equality, real justice, etc. And it isn't like we don't know this. We've known this long before science came along and confirmed it. That's why the "bad" guy's underlings often are nameless and wear masks and uniforms that distort their humanness. A paper written as a college thesis about why stormtroopers in the Star Wars franchise miss shots while rebels hit them uses this point: the stormtroopers see a human being and so subconsciously miss while the rebels do not see a human and so subconsciously do not miss. The US military and other militaries have done significant research on this and that's why they use specific words and phrases to add to the dehumanization of the enemy. The terrorists know this and that's why they employ psychological tricks of their own to dehumanize their targets. Only when we wake up and truly see every person as a human being and work towards reconciliation and healing with each other will the madness stop. In the meantime, the rhetoric about refugees, gays, blacks, poor, rich, cops, etc, etc, etc that continues to dehumanize these groups of people and causing further hurt does not bring us to a place of reconciliation and healing, but just keeps and feeds the cycles of violence to continue. Jesus didn't say it was easy to pray for our enemies, bless those who curse you, etc. He just said it's what we should do. Coincidentally, Jesus wasn't alone in saying this as every religious tradition has this teaching. It's kind of sad that people often know the "gays are bad" parts of their religion more than they do this part (or any of the other parts that speak about honoring the dignity of other people. For me the true reflection of a person's faith is in how they speak to and about people as well as their actions upon them. I'd say that we should expect Church leaders to speak up, but the reality is that Church leaders are often the last to speak up. Thankfully, the Church is more than just its leaders and there are everyday people within, though titleless, who work to remind the Church of its Christ's teachings. And that gives me hope, not just for Christianity, but for all of the world's religions.