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Friday, January 14th, 2011

Time Event
Not over till it's over
It's already been a long, busy day. Got a lot done, and now my body is crying out for me to crash. Too bad. The confirmands are arriving at 7:00 p.m., and I've got to get my stuff packed and get over to the meetin' house.

Prop me up, Lord. This is important.
We've been here before
In the early '80s, I was the Associate Pastor to one of those Southern-born, "Liberal Evangelical" preacher types who came north in the late '60s and early '70s to spread enlightenment to our darkened region (and because they had often made themselves persona non grata in the Deep South). One day, my Senior Pastor was going through some old newspaper clippings, and there was one from his home State back in 1963. His picture ("look at that handsome rascal," he said) was prominently displayed. The article was the text of the sermon he preached on the Sunday after JFK's assassination, in which he asked rhetorically, "Who killed President Kennedy?"

His answer was, We All Did. For being such a mean, heartless, unloving, unfair country. Which means, of course, You All Did, since the speaker is giving voice to sentiments quite unlike those he sadly condemns. I'm sure he thought it was an original thought back in 1963, though it's amazing how many sermons just like it were preached on that occasion, and how often it's been echoed since by preachers and pundits of a certain persuasion.

This kind of sanctimonious tommyrot has been on full display this past week following the shootings in Tucson. Except that some of the speakers can't even be bothered to include themselves in a rhetorical We All Did. They rush to blame Those People Over There (on the Right). They Did It: Palin and Beck and Rush and the evil Conservatives. Some preacherly types, who love to issue mournful declarations over the sad falling-short of our beloved country/church/society/neighbors joined in the chorus so they could remind us all how mean, heartless, unloving, and unfair we are. Never let a sermon illustration go to waste, as they say.

For the record, a feckless loser, an ex-communist who was "ex" only because even the Commies couldn't find a use for him, shot President Kennedy. And a violently disturbed guy in Tucson without much in the way of discernible political opinions, who has been fixated on Rep. Giffords for the last three years, shot all those people last week.

"We" had nothing to do with it. "They" (see, above) were not involved. Only "he," one Jared Loughner, shot all those people. And I don't know whom to pity more -- the families of those wounded and killed, or his own parents. If, in fact, he did it because of his mental illness, then even though he has done a terrible thing, he himself is pitiable -- which is not to excuse what he's done. I reserve my contempt for those who have seized on his actions as a means to win political points.

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