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June 10, 2009

Breaking: Shooting at the Holocaust Museum in D.C.

The Washington Post has more.

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Billy Atwell

But wait a minute....it's illegal to carry a gun outside of the home in DC! I guess gun laws are only for those who choose to obey them.


As usual, Lileks says it all:


Karen Strong

I am not happy with many things about President Obama. But I am dismayed by the virulent political, personal, and "socio-religious" attacks upon him. And this from many of those who claim commitment to "conserving" the best in the American Experiment. I wonder if the howling reactions to virtually everything he ever does or says is creating a social environment that invites extremists like this shooter to come out and (from their POV)"clean things up in our country." It is unnerving that a neo-Nazi in the nation's Capitol felt it necessary and just to open fire at people in the Holocaust Museum. What a statement of contempt for Semitic lives--for lives in general. I'm guessing he's pretty torqued about a black president with a name like Barack. Who will stand up and be a voice for civility rather than vitriol in cultural and political disagreements (even deep ones)? Shouldn't the Body of Christ model that and not join in the general howl and then be shocked when ideological extremists take the next step and act out their fury? Have we all given up on respectful critique and disagreement? BTW, I'm not pointing (ha, nice pun) any fingers at this blog and its tone. But have you heard the rhetoric out there? Including zingers about "false prophets" and even the antichrist. Armageddon words. Do they invite violence?


Karen, the term "antichrist" means "false messiah". Recently a TV commentator seriously said that Mr. Obama was above nationalism, "sort of God". And even during the election Mr. Obama was referred to in messianic terms, including "savior". Anyone who has read the last several books of the Bible will recognize this pattern. So this term isn't being applied without cause.

As to the idea that uncivil criticism leads to violence, well, perhaps the solution is to silence the criticism. Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong had many workable ideas. Tiananmen Square - ooh, I'm sorry, the "June Fourth Incident" - almost worked, too. There are those pesky "freedom of speech" and "right to peaceable assembly" issues, but if you get someone on the Supreme Court who sees the Constitution and its Amendments as "living documents", adaptable to current situations, then I suppose anything can be legalized.

But this is very reminiscent of when Katie Couric blamed James Dobson for the murder of Matthew Shepard. Still, if something can be used to silence one's political enemies, then I suppose the ends justify the means, even if the means involve falsehoods or vague innuendo...

Karen Strong

LeeQuod, Thanks for your thoughts. I am not advocating silencing criticism. I am wondering what role avowed Christians should play in stimulating a more civil way of doing it. I'm not "blaming" anyone for this shooting. Just asking a question about the cultural milieu and where the "salt and light" fit into it.

Jason Taylor

Actually Lee, antichrist usually refers to THE antichrist. Not to just any false messiah of which there are plenty enough. The adualation which Obama is given is distasteful and contrary to republican traditions, but Antichrist means something else.

In any case, Obamism is in a way just one eccentric manifestation of a trend that has crept up on us. We have bestowed on Presidents a gigantic avalanche of foppery that is more in keeping with a monarch then with a President. Why do we have a parade following the President? I realize the purpose is partly to keep the President safe but does that not beg the question of just how valueable the Presidents life is? Succession is provided for and the machine of state will keep humming. It will be more of a disaster if the President is abducted. Are we willing to say that the President is less expendable then a given citizen? There is the instrumental value of the President's life of course but others whose life also has a great instrumental value to The Republic are not guarded in proportion to their actual contribution.

And that is just about security which is at least a legitimate concern. But why do we have what is in essence a palace for our President? Why do we have a private plane and a private heliocopter when the President has the authority to requisition any vehicle owned by the Federal Government? Again such things have instrumental uses. A private plane is useful for long diplomatic trips(though in real life, Presidents cannot afford to conduct negotiations personally until the deal is pre-arranged for him; to much media pressure). A palace is useful to wine and dine foreign VIPS. And in any case if being President did not have it's perks, few would be so masochistic as to want the job.
Nonetheless it may be time we looked at all this fol-de-rol and ask if this is the image we wish for our country.

Obamism is a foolish fad. It will pass like other fads. But we might consider taking a look at all this.

This is an off-subject of course, inspired by Lee's and Karen's comment.


Jason Taylor wrote: "Actually Lee, antichrist usually refers to THE antichrist."

My blushes, dear old friend:

Karen Strong wrote: "I am wondering what role avowed Christians should play in stimulating a more civil way of doing it."

Ah - I'm delighted to hear that. Before posting I often ask myself WWGD - What Would Gina Do? She, first among equals at The Point, frequently demonstrates how one can raise an issue, speak one's mind, and still allow the other side to have their say. And, as other friends of mine have pointed out, the real test is What Would Jesus Have Me Do? (This would be the same guy who called the Pharisees hypocrites, and worse, to their faces.) There's a time to be accommodating, and there's also a time (as my good friend labrialumn often pointed out) to tell it like it is. (If only he'd leavened it with mercy and grace!)

Overall, Karen, I think you'll find that The Point bloggers do an excellent job of confronting the issues, rather than the people, except when the people themselves (such as Jeremiah Wright, for example) need confrontation. So I'd recommend that you study their examples, and emulate what is good and point out anything you find that's questionable.

Gina Dalfonzo

Goodness, my friend, don't ask yourself that! I've made so very many mistakes. . . .

Jason Taylor

I am aware of that quote Lee. And I still hold the position that when most people say antichrist they mean the antichrist. If you choose to use that formulation in a purely theological discussion do so. But when you say "antichrist" in that context most will not read that as meaning, "Obama is hubristic and lacking in gravitas and the media's adulation is phenomenoly disgusting as well as verging on the blasphemous". The average person reads it as "Obama is the antichrist".

Accusing someone of being incredably insufferable and accusing them of being the Antichrist are two different things.


This complicates matters a little:


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