“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 sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. –Matthew 5:43-48 (NASB)
I’m sure most people reading this know by now that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Baden Ginsburg is dead. What you probably also know, if you follow social media, is that this event has erupted into a major emotional storm, depending on your politic, and as it turns out, religious views.
Here’s what I said on Facebook after I ran head first into one:
Oh wow. Someone, purportedly a Christian, posted a meme (I won’t repeat it here) celebrating the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I pointed out why disagreeing with her legal opinions didn’t mean we should have wanted her to die, and also pointed out how even the Almighty did not celebrate the death of the Egyptians after Moses led the Israelites through the Red Sea. I woke up this morning and saw many notices from that conversation basically condemning both me and Ginsburg, including a pretty rough statement from another supposed Christian on how he would defile Ginsburg’s grave by urinating on it. This is the difference between studying the Bible and pondering its wisdom vs. reading it and then letting some less than kind or informed religious leader tell you what it all means. Please do not paint all believers with the same broad brush. We aren’t all the same, and some of us are pretty far apart from others.
What prompt my response? This image, well, the video it represents:
I was the first to reply to this person who is my “friend” on Facebook:
[All names and other identifiers have been removed from these comments except for my name]
James Pyles: No, I won’t do it and this is why. After the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and the Egyptians drowned, according to Jewish legend, God refused to let even the angels celebrate. He said “they are my children, too.” While I may have disagreed with Ginsburg on a good many things, I will not celebrate her death (Yasser Arafat’s yes, but that’s a completely different story). She was and is a child of God and someday we will all have to stand before our Judge. I’m no better than the next person.
The author responded to me, and then many others did as well:
M: James Pyles I am no better than than the next person, and I am worse than many. But I am glad the protector of Roe V. Wade can no longer bring about millions and tens of millions of deaths through abortion.
James Pyles I understand what you’re staying, but moral decisions and consequences are complicated and painful. You know this better than most. No matter what she said and believed, if I am to consider myself even a poor disciple of Jesus, then I cannot do what I know he wouldn’t.
LJ: James Pyles Exodus 15 — a song of Moses giving glory to God for the drowning of the Egyptian army. Good is also a judge.
T: If she was not in Christ, she was not God’s child.
Je: Then let us pray that somehow she has been given grace, even while we rejoice that she can no longer do harm.
James Pyles I have long since stopped presuming to know exactly how God will judge. I have my own life in my hands and my own sins. God will take care of the rest. I need to be accountable to what I have done and who I am. I don’t have time to pull a splinter out of someone else’s eye when I’ve got a log in mine.
Another M: “If she was not in Christ, she was not God’s child.”
S: James Pyles He kicked the moneychangers out of the Temple.
Look. She did much evil, and was a blatantly racist eugenics (“some groups shouldn’t have kids”). Her decisions in cases to try and her lack of support for involuntary treatment of the mentall…See More
B: James Pyles
I think this is M’s page. She has a right to her interpretation of whats just & saying something again will not move her will – everyday she trys to save lives Everyone speaking well of RBG should have held her accountable while living
She never cared about any babies of God
GF: James Pyles then go do you elsewhere. You’re not anyone’s moral teacher and I for one would dance on the witch’s grave before relieving myself on it.
That last comment is when I decided to stop reading. Oh, I’ve truncated the list for reading time, plus there’s only so much of this I want to take.
It’s embarrassing as a believer to have to defend against such vitriol, especially on social media where the many atheists liken Christians to everything that is evil. When we behave down to the lowest levels of those expectations, then how do we uphold the cause of Christ?
Having said all that, I’ve been just as guilty as anyone else as mixing up my faith with my politics. Oh, but it gets worse.
It seems that while many Christians are celebrating Ginsburg’s death with more than just a little antisemitism (she couldn’t be a child of God because she wasn’t a Christian), not too many years ago, the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia elicited a tremendous amount of “unkindness” from those who opposed him politically, probably the same people who mourn Ginsburg today.
Oh, people even make fun of that too:
But as disciples of King Messiah, I mean if we really are disciples, shouldn’t we live that out? How else will anyone really believe we live the lives we lecture and sermonize about? They’re the same folks who think we believe this
The horrible thing is that they may be right, at least about some, perhaps a great many of us.
What do you think? More importantly, what do you believe and how do you live that out?
For more, read about my friend Kat’s Mini Rant.