Thursday, March 3, 2011

Soldiers Die For America's Sins?

The title describes the words and feelings of a small group of angry Americans. Their words might sound like those of a jihadist; they are so similar in meaning. This small group shows up at soldiers’ funerals and proclaims that because America permits homosexuality – some would say promotes – God is punishing America by killing its soldiers.

The U.S. Supreme Court has strongly ruled that the words and actions of those people are protected free speech rights. And now those words have caused even more angry people to speak out, and act.

But if we look at these all of these people, protesters and counter-protesters alike, if we look into their faces and not hear their words – and perhaps, even, look into the mirror at our own angry face – we will notice something that we know is wrong. Acting out of anger, instinctively RE-acting in anger, is almost always wrong, and we know it. So let’s stop and reason, and try to understand why our reaction is wrong, as is theirs. Let’s not look at what these people are doing, and react to it, but let’s look at ‘why’ they’re doing it and why we are reacting.

I, for one, am content with the Supreme Court’s ruling: someone protesting one thousand feet from me is not really harassing me. They’re not screaming at the funeral mass nor spitting on the coffin, although perhaps they might like to. Then again, I might like to beat them up, so the court ruling may be protecting us both. No, I’m content with the ruling because laws should be made to support virtue, but not necessarily punish every sinner, for in his own heart, many a sinner thinks he is a virtuous man.

In Canada, priests and ministers have been arrested for speaking in Church on Sunday, for reading the bible and saying homosexuality is wrong. “That’s hate speech,” some judges there have ruled: you may not proclaim the gospel. Similar “hate speech” laws are on the books or proposed in this country. Similar rulings and thoughts have resulted in those protesting in front of abortion clinics, or merely praying in front of them, to be jailed. My friend, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, spent two weeks in jail, and was horribly abused there, for praying his rosary on a sidewalk. And in the middle of a western desert, a cross put in a cemetery there more than 50 years ago has been branded a hateful symbol of religion, and a single passing motorist has sued to be protected from this “horror” so offensive to him – and many judges in this country have ruled in his favor.

If the recent Supreme Court ruling on free speech serves as a basis to protect us all from those who would seek to define what they dislike as “hate speech” or “offending me”, then I praise the justices. And I praise God.

And what then of those funeral protesters, you may ask. If the repulsive thing they do is to be protected, just what would you do, you might ask me, if it were your son’s funeral? My response? Well, my response really doesn’t matter; it’d merely be another opinion of another man, but personally I think that in asking me you would be asking the wrong person. What would I do? Shouldn’t it be WWJD?

I think that if you tried to answer that question honestly, you might answer that He’d invite those protesters to the post-funeral luncheon. Isn’t that what Jesus did with the tax collectors, ate with them? Weren’t they among the most abhorrent of people in His time? He came not to admonish sinners, but to heal them. Didn’t He see their sins as virtues gone wild, which He sought to straighten out? Jesus said tax collecting was a necessary and just thing, He paid taxes, but He saw that some tax collectors were going about it wrongly, just as eating is a good thing but gluttony is not. Look at those protesters at the funeral and why they are acting that way: they want to stop what they perceive is sin in our country --- is their motive such an evil thing? I would not seek to punish them for their actions, but I might sit down and talk to them about it. Many of us instinctively react to what we think is wrong, instinctively react to protect what we think is right (perhaps that is what ALL those angry people are doing), but not enough of us are thinking and reasoning (and perhaps praying) before we act, asking ourselves why we are inclined to react, and then thinking of ways to find the best actions, not just the instinctive ones --- before we act.

I think that’s what Jesus would do: think, reason, and pray before acting, and he might sit and eat with sinners before ranting against them. I’m content that the Supreme Court by its ruling implied that is what we should do. The U.S. Government body ruling never mentioned God, but perhaps they did something on His side --- quick, look outside, has IT frozen over? Those protesters want this country to change; perhaps in some small way they were an instrument of that change, but in His way, not theirs.

Blessed is the man who does not lose faith in me. Mt 11:6


  1. 'Blessed is the man who does not lose faith in me. Mt 11:6' We are certainly being tested. I'm not sure how many would listen, but you never know until you try. And we must always pray for those who are so angry with us. Excellent points and a good post.

  2. I think these thoughts came to me in order to give hope, booklady. It's so easy with all that's going on beyond our control to not only be anxious, but to even despair. We must never despair; we must always hope in God. This was just a "well, maybe He's using this for these purposes" type of thinking, to open our eyes to the fact that we don't know everything --- even if things seem obvious.