Thursday, April 25, 2019

Easter Worshippers

Much ado has been made over a couple of tweets from this past weekend.  Following the attacks on the worshipers in Sri Lanka on Easter, both President Obama and Hillary Clinton offered their condolences to the "Easter worshippers" affected.

Conservatives latched on to the use of "Easter worshippers" instead of Christians.  They noted the similar misspelling of worshipers in both and viewed it as a reluctance to reference Christians by the left.  It is painted as part of a continuing avoidance of recognizing Christian persecution or suffering.  A part of Christian persecution itself.  Downplaying anything related to Christianity, while playing up the suffering of other faiths, especially Islam.

Let's side step the fact that Easter worshipers is the more accurate term for those affected by the bombings. It conveys the additional fact that victims were actively celebrating Easter when they were killed.  They were worshipers and it was Easter.  If anything, the combination of words put extra emphasis on the religious nature of the attack, pointing out that it happened on a day of special spiritual meaning to the victims.  It puts emphasis on the high holy nature of the day.

It's a construction that has been used in other headlines.  "Finsbury Park Attack: Roses for Ramadan Worshipers" by the BBC.  "Afghanistan Suicide Bomber Kills Eid Worshippers at Mosque, Police Say" from The Guardian.

Why, then, did conservatives latch on to the least charitable interpretation of these sentiments?  Beyond politics?

Perhaps it hit a nerve.  Was the least charitable interpretation of these words a little too close to home?  Easter services are known for attracting a lot of visitors that may only attend once or twice a year.  Further, it's a big assumption to assume that everyone worshiping on a given Sunday is a Christian.  I'm sure there are many people that are just going through the motions every Sunday.  They come, they sit, they participate, but they don't believe.  And maybe they never did.

Beyond everything, why are we consistently looking for the worst in everything?  Why are we looking for persecution wherever we can find it?

Maybe for once, we could could be charitable, as we are called to be.

"My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry."
James 1:19

"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."
Matthew 7:12

That's my plea, one Easter worshiper to another.

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