"Then They Came For Me"

The nation is still reeling from Sunday morning’s headline of the bloody massacre in an Orlando night club in the wee hours of a new week. But already the news media’s scrolling litany of superlatives—“the worst mass shooting in U.S. history” “the greatest mass murder in American history”—along with its non-stop coverage of this horrific tragedy have numbed the American psyche once again. And as it was for San Bernardino California and Newtown Connecticut and Columbine Colorado, the 24-hour news cycle is eventually coopted by the new headline and the relentless pursuit of the next “breaking news.”

But left in the aftermath and forgotten in the chase will be the fifty families who will go on grieving their crushing loss—fifty funerals and memorial services, fifty caskets or urns, fifty homes and countless hearts forever broken. Fifty. A number that eventually may feel small, quite small . . . in comparison to a figure one day somewhere else that is sure to be higher.

Beyond the sheer tragedy of it all, what is stunning about the Orlando massacre is the convergence of the most inflamed issues that plague this election cycle’s national debate: Muslims, the LGBT community, the place of immigrants in this nation, the place of firearms in this society. But let’s reflect for a moment about minorities.

Take the minorities in this story.  The killer was an American-born Muslim from an immigrant family. The victims by and large were members of the LGBT community. The night club theme that fateful early morning was “Latin Night.” Minorities—people who are never identified as “minorities” in the raucous political debate of this presidential election season, but who nonetheless have been very much targeted by the rhetoric of this campaign—minorities.

Come to think of it, my own faith community is regarded as a religious minority. One candidate had trouble even pronouncing our name. But that’s OK. I grew up a minority as an American missionary’s kid in Japan. As an adult I remain in the minority as a member of a Sabbatarian community—one that worships on Saturday, while the rest of the Christian nation worships on Sunday. But I am proud to be a member of a minority. And I am grateful to be a citizen of a nation where minorities are protected from the majority.

But I fear that there are some even within my own faith community who have embraced the crowd-pleasing “keep the minorities out” spirit that now troubles America. I wonder if we have seriously, sufficiently thought through the implications of that populist mentality. Immigrant minorities, LGBT minorities, Muslim minorities, Sabbatarian minorities—the chant to “send them all home” eventually will catch up with us all.

Ponder this confession from the German pastor Martin Niemöller during the dark days of the Nazi government, words that bear repeating in this season of anti-minority fervor (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_):

 

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

 

“‘You will leave Me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for My Father is with Me’.” (John 16:32) Jesus is still the minorities' Best Friend.

Comments

I would feel differently about this if we vetted all of the immigrants coming into America. But they are being brought in by the busload and dropped in communities that cannot support them. Some of these communities are financially unstable and they can't support all of the immigrants. So I think it's very unfair. But the biggest issue is the issue of immigrants coming in with fake passports and us not getting their backgrounds. We need to know who these people are before we bring them into our country

Not to worry. This planet is the ghetto of the universe and heaven in now vetting every person here who will be worthy of its citizenship. That includes me and it includes you. I'm sure we will all feel "differently" then too.

'Not getting their backgrounds'... 'brought in by the busload'... With all due respect, people who speak in this term have never dealt with the US immigration services. First of all, the shooter in question was born in Queens, New York and an American citizen like, I assume, the person who writes. I am an immigrant - I had to go through an extremely rigorous and lengthy vetting process before being granted a VISA first, and then a green card. This included extensive criminal background checks, financial accountability checks, plenty of documents intended to verify my identity (USCIS takes all the time in the world to verify their authenticity with all sorts of cross-checks), and even a full set of vaccination. It takes about six months to obtain a VISA, not to mention a green card (at least the same amount of time) exactly because of these extensive checks. When these expressions are used "by the busload' 'dropped in communities that cannot support them', I'd like less of the Trump rhetoric "many say that" (with no factual data) and more accuracy and nuancing. That would help, as fear mongering and inaccuracy often go together.

These kinds of things have always happened throughout history of man. Since our fall in the garden of eden, Cain and Able and will continue to happen not just in our country but all over the world. We do have someone who can take away the sins of the world and his name is Yahshua Jesus and our God Yahweh! AMEN!

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