Thursday, August 9, 2012

Murder at a Sikh Temple: Why I Care

News about the murder of six people at a Sikh temple in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has been almost as hard to miss this week as coverage of the Olympics. Then the man who decided to kill those folks killed himself, bringing the body count to seven.

Judgmental as this may seem, I think killing those seven people was wrong.

There are a lot of folks in Wisconsin, and India, hurting. This is just a suggestion, but prayer couldn't hurt.

Folks Who Don't Look Like Me: Why I Care

As the name of this blog suggests, I'm a practicing Catholic.

That means I'm a Christian, and take some basic principles seriously, particularly 'love God, love your neighbor;' and 'everybody's my neighbor.' (Matthew 5:43-44; Matthew 22:36-40; Mark 12:29-31; Luke 10:25-27; Luke 10:29-37; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1822, 1825)

I grew up in a sensible mainstream Protestant household, and learned about Matthew 5:43 as a child. I spent my teens in the '60s, when quite a few folks my age took ideas like these seriously:
"...Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions....
("Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" from Hair)
We changed society. Some of the changes didn't go the way I had hoped, others had implications I didn't see at the time. On the other hand, I remember the 'good old days' that came before: and never want to go back.

My point is that loving God and my neighbor, and seeing everyone as my neighbor, wasn't a belief I had to change when I became a Catholic.

Upset About Mass Murder? Yes

Maybe you've run into a Christian whose faith seems dedicating to hating particular groups of people; or who said 'love,' and behaved - otherwise. I'm not surprised.

But like I said, that's not what the Catholic Church teaches.

When seven people are killed, I'm not happy at the loss. At all. Even though I didn't know them personally. It 'upsets' me: although that's a rather mild term for my reaction.

So: I'm upset when a bunch of 'foreigners' get killed. Does that mean I hate people who don't realize that Christians disapprove of murder? Or shouldn't? No - and I'll get back to that idea. Ideas.

"I Don't Hear..."

I routinely check a server log analysis to see which posts and pages get read. Don't worry. There's no personal information in the data.

I suspect there is an all-too-familiar assumption behind one entry I saw:
"I found this search term in today's logs:
" 'i don\'t hear christians upset about the sikh\'s being murdered'

"Whoever used that found this post:

" 'Wisconsin: Dead Sikhs; Disrupted Lives' ( )

"Don't let the lack of histrionics fool you: I'm plenty upset about those deaths."
(Brian H. Gill, Google+ (August 6, 2012))
Again: I collect no personal data. All I know about that 'hit' on this blog is that someone typed "i don\'t hear christians upset about the sikh\'s being murdered" into a search engine - and found my post about those murders.

Whoever wrote that was probably quite sincere and accurate. My guess is that quite a few Americans haven't heard or read about Christians who care about these murders.

Murder, Life, and Rules

The Catholic Church has a reputation for 'forcing' folks to follow a lot of rules. There's a little truth to it.

I think we'd have a lot fewer pages written about why loving your neighbor is a good idea, if folks hadn't been trying to weasel out of the 'simple' version for two millennia. (September 26, 2011)

I said that murder is wrong. That's my opinion: but it's also what the Catholic Church says. (Catechism, 2258, 2268-2269)

Suicide is a very personal subject for me. (January 28, 2009) It's also wrong. (Catechism, 2280-2283) But despair is not an option. (Catechism, 2283)

About 1,100,000,000 or so Catholics are living today. Some of us aren't particularly good role models for our faith: including me. I haven't murdered anyone, but I'm pretty sure that some of that throng have.

But what the Church says about murder being wrong doesn't change because someone kills an innocent person. What that act does is deprive someone of life, and put the murderer in an awkward position.

That doesn't mean that I hope that the man who killed those folks burns in Hell. I don't need that kind of trouble. And that's yet another topic. (Matthew 7:1-5; Luke 6:37-38, 41-42; Romans 2:1-11; and see footnote 10 in Luke:6)

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.