The White House’s deputy press secretary today downplayed Muslim attacks on Christians in Egypt, joking about the savagery that has left at least six Christians dead.
Press secretary Josh Earnest was asked by Fox News’ correspondent, Ed Henry, if President Barack Obama has a “red line” beyond which he would act against Muslim attacks on Egyptian Christians.
“Well, I didn’t bring my red pen out with me today,” Earnest joked.
After making his joke, Earnest said the administration is “outraged… and concerned” about the Muslim attacks on almost 100 churches, monasteries, orphanages and other marked Christian sites. Many Christians’ shops and homes have also been looted and burned by mobs.
There were a couple of contentions that we held constantly during two election cycles. One was that Mormon jokes, while not necessarily prejudiced of their own, contributed to prejudicial attitudes amongst the populace. The other was that if the nation were allowed to be bigoted against the Mormon, more orthodox forms of Christianity would be next. The persecution of Christians in Egypt is no laughing matter. Do I really need to rant about this? Is it not self-evident?
And while we are dredging up old ideas. Remember how often we contended here that anti-Mormon prejudice had become codified in the 2012 cycle, still active, but never directly mentioned? Consider this story out of Turkey:
For decades, religious minorities in Turkey, especially Christians, have complained that the state assigns them secret identity codes. Christians maintain that government officials use the codes to discriminate against them when it comes to jobs, licenses, building permits, and so on. Of course, such discrimination would be illegal under Turkish law, which has banned religious discrimination since the Kemalist revolution. And complaints about secret identity codes surely must seem a bit paranoid to outsiders, a kind of conspiracy theory–though, given the genocide of Armenians and other Christians in Turkey 100 years ago, one could forgive Christians for being anxious. The rumors turn out to be true, however.
This month, for the first time,Turkey’s interior ministry acknowledged that the secret identity codes do, in fact, exist.
“The great lesson of the Obama administration is that the abuses of democratic plebiscites abroad are not contrasted, but amplified by the increasingly lawless American model, when it uses the IRS and the Justice Department to go after political opponents, allows senior officials to lie under oath to the Congress, and fails to execute faithfully those laws passed by the legislative branch. If we are to offer America as a model, then there must be some honesty and transparency about the Benghazi, Associated Press, IRS, and NSA scandals.”
I reflected during my vacation just concluded on how awry so many Christian Americans are theologically. The Christian message has been reduced to one of mere salvation. Christ’s statement that He came, “Not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it, ” has been misconstrued to the point of meaninglessness. With denomination after denomination ordaining practicing homosexuals and engaging in same-sex marriage ceremonies, (not to mention the relaxation of views on things like divorce and co-habitation that now seem quaint) it is almost as if the Law has disappeared. I am sorely tempted to dive in the the theological and hermeneutical deep end here, but shall resist.
Instead, let me say this – if the church has no rules, or fails to lead society – society has no rules. If society has no rules, democracy breaks down. So, what is at root in Hanson’s observation?