In the wake of the terrible 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Jim Wallis of Sojourners was one of many progressive activists to quickly exploit the attack for their own political advantage. “This horrible tragedy must now become an important American moment.” Using his standard modus operandi of taking the Left’s narrative du jour and giving it a religious spin, Wallis wrote, “What are the situations and environments that allow this kind of hate and violence to grow?” Wallis’s “environment of hate” just so happened to nicely coincide with the “climate of hate” storyline that was immediately invented to blame the attack on conservatives, particularly the tea party and Sarah Palin.
Merely two hours after the shooting occurred, the New York Times farcical opinion columnist, Paul Krugman, penned a piece entitled, Climate of Hate, in which he blamed everyone from Michele Bachmann to Bill O’Reilly and FoxNews to talk radio in general. Of course, as we all quickly learned, the man who shot Rep. Giffords and murdered six others had an alleged grudge against her that went back to 2007 and had nothing whatsoever to do with talk radio or the tea party. In fact, the murderer was described as a “left-wing pothead,” and a 9-11 truther who expressed frustration with the Bush Administration. No matter. The Left had already extracted their pound of flesh from their enemies and Jim Wallis was right there with them fanning the flames.
Even though their hopes of a talk-radio-listening tea partier didn’t pan out, we were reminded that progressives firmly believe “the situations and environments that allow this kind of hate and violence to grow” are crucial to understanding these acts of violence and, more importantly, placing blame where it belongs. Fast-forward to Saturday, July 27, 2013.
“A Bethesda man was beaten and robbed early Saturday morning in Adams Morgan by three men who yelled, ‘This is for Trayvon Martin,’ before attacking him, police said. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime and robbery, according to D.C. police spokesman Araz Alali. Three black men approached an adult white male from behind while he was walking in the 1700 block of Euclid Street NW at 1:26 a.m. Saturday, police said.”
I ask, what are the situations and environments that allowed this kind of hate and violence to grow?
In a particularly inflammatory piece entitled “The Zimmerman Verdict and the Resurrection of the Old Jim Crow,” Lisa Sharon Harper of Sojourners summed up today’s reemergence of Jim Crow this way: “The lives, souls, and livelihoods of white Americans are worthy of protection more than others.” Notice, as is common for Sojourners, that Harper perfectly follows the media-invented black vs. white race baiting storyline even though a “white American” was not involved in the case. Harper continues: “We are not as worthy of protection as that of white folk.” “And like me, many of the nearly 66 million people of African descent and many others of non-European descent in the U.S. woke up from a dream on Sunday morning and realized we were living in a nightmare. We are living in a pre-1964 world. We are no longer protected by the law.” Blacks are now living in a pre-1964 nightmare where they are no longer protected by the law, according to Harper.
Jim Wallis claimed that if his “white 14-year-old son Luke had walked out that same night, in that same neighborhood, just to get a snack he would have come back to his dad unharmed — and would still be with me and Joy today.” For Wallis, race was not injected enough into the trial. “It was a political, legal, and moral mistake to not put race at the center of this trial because it was at the center from the beginning of this terrible case.” Wallis goes on to tell of young black boys sleeping in bed with their parents out of fear after the verdict. Concealed carry laws and generous self-defense laws “will lead to the death of more black men in particular,” Wallis warns.
The emerging church’s Brian McLaren now touts an “Emerging America.” McLaren ironically informs us that his Emerging America “is disgusted by political parties that win by dividing America through wedge issues, and then can blame the other side when they have rendered the nation so polarized as to be ungovernable.” Yes, we’re all disgusted by those who are dividing America. Oh, the title of McLaren’s piece? “Trayvon and George: A Tale of Two Americas.” You cannot make this stuff up.
These members of the religious left took a divisive, emotionally raw, racially-charged instance and rushed forth to stoke fears and fan hatreds. The law no longer protects black people. More black men are going to die now. Blacks now live in a pre-1964 nightmare. America is hopelessly plagued by “systematic injustice — one that allows white boys to assume success, yet leads black boys to cower from the very institutions created to protect our own wellbeing.”
It looks to me like these could be the environments that allow hate and violence to grow. Perhaps even the kind of hate and violence that might lead some to stomp a man while shouting, “This is for Trayvon Martin.” Jim Wallis and his allies at Sojourners are pouring gasoline on the fire while acting like they’re the firefighters. After the shooting of Rep. Giffords, Wallis suggested we examine ourselves and ask, “How can I not only stop conflict, but also be a part of bringing about a just community that displays the positive presence of peace?” Perhaps one way would be to pull the plug on Sojourners. After all, one the most important steps in putting out a fire is removing the heat.