I’m sure you’re aware of the horrific shooting rampage in New Zealand that left fifty people dead. In case you were hiding in a cave somewhere (which would be understandable), allow me to briefly explain that two mosques were targeted by at least one gunman. In addition to the fifty killed, it has been reported that over twenty more were seriously injured. Ironically, all this happened in a city named Christchurch.
These incidents seem to be occurring with increasing frequency—so much so that one man calling into a radio talk show sadly proclaimed, “I don’t even feel anything anymore.” It’s almost like we expect it and have numbed ourselves to the resulting casualties.
The victims of such crimes, of course, are not limited to those who sustain physical injuries as a result. Most of us are affected in some way, even if it’s merely emotional. Other side effects can also impact us. These can be felt through such things as new stringent laws, losses of freedom, and out-and-out paranoia, just to name a few.
One side effect I’ve noticed as these occurrences begin to mount is that of the blame game. For some reason, people feel the need to lay the responsibility for such atrocities at the feet of almost anyone but the perpetrators. In various newsfeeds this week, I’ve seen people point a finger at President Trump and (of all people) Chelsea Clinton.
I can (sort of) understand someone attempting to lay culpability at the feet of Mr. Trump. Presidents get blamed for all sorts of things—even when they occur half a world away. But Chelsea Clinton? The poor woman was confronted at a vigil for the people killed and wounded in the terrorist attack. She was accused of “stoking” the attack because of her denunciation of the anti-Semitic language of U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar. Apparently, denouncing hate speech has now become hate speech itself. Oy vey!
More importantly, Chelsea Clinton was accosted for something she had nothing to do with. Even if she had been spewing anti-Muslim rhetoric (which she hadn’t), there would have been no blame to lay at her feet. I’m pretty sure the culprit was the person carrying the weapon. Does anyone remember him?
If you take a real good look at Chelsea these days, you might notice that she’s pregnant with her third child. Not only were the accusers out of line, they were ganging up on a young mother with child. Real nice…
Scripture has quite a bit to say about the blame game. Jesus talked about the log in our own eyes as we try to remove the speck out of someone else’s—quite a vivid visual. The Apostle Paul told folks in his letter to the Romans that “at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself…” (Romans 2:1). The reason he gave was the fact that we are usually guilty of the very same thing of which we’re accusing someone else. He was right, of course.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]