Perhaps you’ve heard of the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom. This is the group that has commandeered a closed visitors center at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. They’re demanding… um, something—it’s not really clear what— from the federal government, and they won’t leave until they get it. Mostly I think they’re getting time in the media and not much else. The FBI so far seems content to ignore them.
Twitter hashtags have emerged: #VanillaISIS or #YallQaeda waging #YeeHawd. So the group is being mocked.
Here’s my confession:
I’m way too quick to laugh at the mockery.
Don’t get me wrong… I think this group is misguided. If they’ve got gripes, this takeover isn’t going to do anything for them. I agree with people who see a double standard in our society that is driven by race:
(Cartoon by Carlos Latuff)
But what concerns me about me is this: I’m too willing to “other” the people in Oregon. I’m all too eager to laugh at their expense… to be glad I’m not like them…
Jesus also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.” But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.’
Luke 18:9-14, NRSV
Looking for the Imago Dei in each person. No othering. I’m still working on my New Year’s resolution.