I just read, on a friend's Facebook page, about the murder of three young adults in Chapel Hill, NC.
here & here
The killings have an obvious inflammatory twist. The victims were Muslim. The alleged perpetrator is an atheist who had made his anti-religion views known.
My friend had merely posted the first story with the comment "awful." I absolutely agree.
Another comment-er said, "How sad. Three non-extremist Muslims killed by an extremist atheist. I wonder what his reasoning was." Again I agree, but not because "three non-extremist Muslims were killed by an extremist atheist."
I started writing the following as a comment on my friend's Facebook wall, but then realized it was too much for that venue. Even though my friends page has a bigger audience than this blog, I choose to write my comments here.
I agree this is a terrible act. I do take exception to the comment, however, that implies that this act is sad because of the religious views of the victims, or the lack of religion, and extremism of the alleged perpetrator. What is horribly sad is that three people--image-bearers of our Creator and therefore possessing lives of value beyond our ability to measure or express--were wrongfully killed. The Sixth Commandment does not contain any commentary on the racial or religious make-up of the people under consideration. People's lives are worthy of protection because they are people. Period! Adding to the tragedy of what happened in Chapel Hill is that, apparently, another human being, who likewise bears God's image, has so distorted that image that he was willing to perform such a heinous act.
The second news story above indicates that the motivation for this killing my not have been religious at all, but, rather, a dispute over parking. If that is the case, is this crime any less awful? Not in the least. We should be outraged because God's standard for human habitation on His earth has been violated, and because His image has been further marred.
The first story indicates that some folk interested in making a political/social justice statement out of a horrible tragedy are calling for "senior religious leaders" to condemn this act. I'm sure I'm not who they have in mind, but I am a religious leader, and I am almost 65, so I qualify.
I CONDEMN THIS ACT.
I condemn all unwarranted taking of human life. I uphold the sanctity of human life without regard for racial, social, national, religious, or gender-related considerations. The accused in this case should be given a fair trial. The families and friends of the victims should be able to grieve the loss of their loved ones without political or media pressure. Their community, including Christian neighbors and friends should reach out to them with comfort. There should be no attempt to build a riot, demonstration, or petition-drive on the back of this crime.
Further, to stretch my already thin "religious leader" status even more, I wish to go on record as upholding the sanctity of all human life. People's lives' have value because of the image of God that we bear. That is true in Chapel Hill, Mosul, Afghanistan, and wherever the life of a fellow human being hangs in the balance.