Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mourning the Taliban

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.

"For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?"
Matthew 5:43-47

In his, “Worst Persons in the World” segment on Monday, Keith Olbermann gave the bronze medal to Tom Shales, TV critic at the Washington Post, for his critique of Christiane Amanpour’s debut on “This Week” on ABC. Amanpour had introduced a part of the program called “In Memoriam” by inviting veiwers to mourn “all of those who died in war.” And Shales had asked, "Did she mean to suggest that our mourning extend to members of the Taliban?"

Olbermann thought the question was absurd, and as evidence, he played the video following Amanpour’s invitation, which scrolled through the names of eleven U.S. service members who had been killed in Afghanistan. No one outside the U.S. was listed or even referenced.

Comments on a Huffington Post article on this fit neatly into two categories. There were those who thought Shales was an idiot for thinking that Amanpour (or anyone else) would suggest that we should mourn the death of our enemies. And there were those who thought that Amanpour was asking us to mourn for the Taliban, because she "hates America." Apparently only an idiot, or someone who hated America, would think that our mourning should extend to members of the Taliban.

According to that line of thought, Jesus was an idiot.

For Christians, the answer to Tom Shales’ question is, “Yes, our mourning should extend to members of the Taliban.” And to the 911 hijackers. And to the troubled man who shot eight people in Manchester and then killed himself. They are all children of God.

One wonders what Shales and Olbermann would have thought about Abraham Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg. “Does he really mean to suggest that our mourning should extend to Confederate traitors?” Some would argue that the Civil War was a special case. But for Christians, all wars are civil wars. It is always “brother against brother.”

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