Eye on the Middle East Oct/Nov 1999
Christians who understand what it means to be a true friend of Israel and the Jewish people were horrified upon learning of the tragic shooting of Jewish children in Los Angeles last August. Anti-Semitic violence is always unspeakably reprehensible. But when someone sprays a group of pre-schoolers with 70 bullets from an automatic weapon, it is another story. Even in a nation that has been virtually anesthetized by violence, decent citizens still shudder collectively at the sight of small, defenseless children lying helplessly in a playroom or street, spattered in their own blood.
For Christians who take their commitment to Christ and the Bible seriously, it is the more tragic, because when we see a Hitlerian maniac basking in his cowardly atrocity, grinning his way to a jail cell while proclaiming his deed a “wake-up call to kill Jews,” we are stunned. To make matters worse—if that’s possible—we are told that this man was involved with the “Christian Identity” movement. These people are raving anti-Semites who attempt to dignify their malignant hatred by draping it with Bible verses and calling themselves Christians. They are no more followers of Christ than is Satan himself. Their leaders proclaim a “theology” that consigns blacks to the status of sub-humans and Jewish people to being direct descendants of the devil. To say that this kind of inhuman intolerance should be loudly and unequivocally repudiated by Christians of every persuasion is a colossal understatement.
Furthermore, fallout from the tragedy has negatively impacted perceptions of Americans among people throughout the Western world. Perhaps an Israeli journalist, writing in The Jerusalem Post, said it better than most.
“The Bible,” he wrote, “a sacred document a few thousand years older than the American Constitution, lays down the basic rules for any civil society, including the prohibition against murder. No exceptions are made for members of hate groups, and a society that cannot prevent murder has no future. Sodom and Gomorra have disappeared from the face of the earth. Americans pride themselves on their religious (mainly Christian) devotion, and the time for them to return to these basics is long overdue.”
To this we say “Amen.” America is paying the price for having repudiated its historic Judeo-Christian standards and values. If we don’t “return to these basics,” we are self-condemned to reap the whirlwind in the future. Yes, this tragedy, and too many similar hate-crimes now occurring repeatedly, should be a “wake-up call.” But it must not be the type of call the shooter of small children intended. It should be a shout to Jews and Christians to stand up and be counted as responsible people and guardians of innocents, rather than a generation silenced by the destroyers.