Joining a Mob

No matter how great our desire to show remorse for past and present collective sins, we can’t let our emotion run away with our discernment.

Many Christians find themselves eager to express a desire to do better than we have in the past in our treatment of minority believers, we rush unthinking toward opportunities to show our disgust at any accusation of racism in our ranks. We think we must not only have an opinion, we must broadcast it as quickly and stridently as possible, with the Biblical weight of Scripture often attached. This is a far greater error than so-called fake news, as we use our faith as cover for our rush to judgment.

 

Approximately 15 seconds of video from the March for Life had many Christian leaders united in a harsh condemnation of an anonymous teenage boy this weekend.

The clip showed a tight shot of a Catholic high schooler in a red “Make America Great Again” hat grinning, or, to some minds, sneering, at a Native American veteran who stood inches away playing a drum. The clip was circulated with the claim that the boy and his classmates surrounded and taunted the veteran by chanting, “Build the wall.”

Prominent pastors, theologians, and Bible teachers quickly expressed outrage. “Let’s be clear, this isn’t simple hate, it’s demonic activity,” tweeted one pastor. Another publicly wondered if college admissions offices would post their pictures with the message “Do not admit.” A theologian commented, “This is white supremacist terrorism.” Others posted videos that showed a still image of the student’s smiling face next to pictures of smiling Nazi youth and young civil rights era segregationists.

Finally, a leading Bible teacher with nearly a million social media followers tweeted, “I cannot shake the terror of adolescents already indoctrinated in enough hate and disrespect to smile that chillingly and jeer without shame or fear of God. Uncurbed, this utter glee in dehumanizing is what humanitarian horrors are made of.” She added in a later tweet, “It reeks of the vomit of hell.”

And they all would have been right—if the 15 seconds in question had accurately represented the entire incident. It didn’t. As the weekend unfolded, further videos cast a decidedly different light on events.

Read More