Author Topic: Collective Guilt After Orlando  (Read 2019 times)

DCharlton

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Collective Guilt After Orlando
« on: June 22, 2016, 05:39:57 PM »
In the wake of the Orlando massacre, I wanted to ask how the different Lutheran churches are discussing the issue of collective guilt. 

My own Lutheran church body, the ELCA, has addressed the topic in a confused way.

We have rejected the notion that all Muslims are to blame for the actions of one person.
One the other hand some have suggested that those who oppose LGBTs rights and gun control share in the blame for the atrocity.

We have rejected the notion of collective guilt if regards to Islam and Orlando.
We have reaffirmed the notion of collective guilt in regards to white people and Charleston.

I sure that among some Christians, the disparity is reversed, that Islam as a whole is condemned and that Christians, gun owners and white Americans are absolved. 

What I wonder about is the theological arguments that exist for or against collective guilt.






David Charlton  

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Harry Edmon

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Re: Collective Guilt After Orlando
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2016, 05:55:59 PM »
Collective Guilt - Romans 3:23
Solution - Romans 3:24
Harry Edmon, Ph.D., LCMS Layman

Diego

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Re: Collective Guilt After Orlando
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2016, 06:04:30 PM »
My own congregation (LCMS) discussed the fact that people, ALL people, are collectively guilty. We as humans are guilty of tolerating brutality amongst ourselves. And the Pastor noted how we seemed to get back to normal very quickly after the event. He asked why that should be. Is it because we have become inured to such events that we consider them the new normal? Were we perhaps a little more tolerant of it because it was a gay establishment?

He spoke of the subject as a part of the aspect that we are ALL fallen people. It is not white people's fault. It is not all Muslims' fault. It is not any one group in particular's fault. It is the fallen human race.

For the record, I shall say that I think he is right. I have gone on record here as not being fond of Muslims, and not approving of the practice of homosexuality. But I shall state here and now that I don't blame all Muslims for this, and I don't think homosexuals, any homosexual, deserves to be gunned down in a bar or other place JUST for being gay.

It is our duty as Christians to preach the Word of God to both Muslims and gay persons. It is NOT our duty to kill them for weaknesses we all possess, unless we are directly attacked.

Now this crazy attacker in Florida. He claimed allegiance to two groups that are diametrically OPPOSED to each other. He had been to the gay club in question as a customer before. He had even asked out a boy in his class. He doesn't sound like the kind of guy that did this thing for terrorist reasons. He sounds like one messed up Dude that didn't know what heck his problem was.

So that is my personal take on it, and also what my Pastor had to say, in a nutshell.


Diego

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Re: Collective Guilt After Orlando
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2016, 06:05:57 PM »
Collective Guilt - Romans 3:23
Solution - Romans 3:24

Excellent post.

Eileen Smith

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Re: Collective Guilt After Orlando
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2016, 06:53:21 PM »
In the wake of the Orlando massacre, I wanted to ask how the different Lutheran churches are discussing the issue of collective guilt. 

My own Lutheran church body, the ELCA, has addressed the topic in a confused way.

We have rejected the notion that all Muslims are to blame for the actions of one person.
One the other hand some have suggested that those who oppose LGBTs rights and gun control share in the blame for the atrocity.

We have rejected the notion of collective guilt if regards to Islam and Orlando.
We have reaffirmed the notion of collective guilt in regards to white people and Charleston.

I sure that among some Christians, the disparity is reversed, that Islam as a whole is condemned and that Christians, gun owners and white Americans are absolved. 

What I wonder about is the theological arguments that exist for or against collective guilt.

I thought Lutherans did not do guilt?

My congregation did not discuss the Orlando event as it is just one more in a long series of what a sin filled creation does, same song different verse. 

Also, my congregation usually does not talk much about social justice issues.  We focus on what Jesus did, is doing, and will do for us.  We keep our eye on the main thing, usually.

I'm not sure it this addresses your question but it pretty much describes our church practice re. evil and worldly events.

... Fletch

I heard one sermon this past weekend.  I was disappointed in the sermon that I heard and I should state, it wasn't my pastor preaching.  It seemed clear that this pastor blamed Orlando on GBLT issues and gun control and those who do not support the GBLT agenda or gun control bear the guilt of what happened in Orlando.

On Monday, I met with my pastor and I told him about this sermon and asked what he preached.  Fletch, I would not consider my pastor as one who preaches a lot on social justice issues as I think you (and I) may define them; however, there are times when tragedies so overwhelm us that we need to hear a word of mercy and grace to remind us that God is with us.  My pastor spoke to the man who was possessed with demons and, therefore, was isolated from the community.  He related that to Omar Mateen - isolated, out of community, posted by demons.  Very frequently my pastor reminds us of the presence of Christ in community.  (There's a bit more, but isolation/community was the central point.)  The sermon that I heard on Saturday night was, to me, a discussion  - one might might take place in a Bible study, with family or friends or even colleagues.    The sermon that my pastor preached was placing the tragedy in a theological sense so that we can understand that God is in the midst of such tragedy - and that it is in this community that we find that solace, mercy, and grace. 

Good topic; I'll be interested in the responses. 

Oh, and Fletch ... Lutherans excel at guilt.   ;)

Diego

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Re: Collective Guilt After Orlando
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2016, 07:08:37 PM »
Incidentally, my own Pastor did relate the whole Orlando thing to man with Demons as well.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Collective Guilt After Orlando
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2016, 09:03:34 PM »
I made one brief reference to Orlando as an example of evil in the world that Jesus came to overcome.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Charles Austin

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Re: Collective Guilt After Orlando
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2016, 10:11:52 PM »
The letter from ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton is on the ELCA website.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Oh, my. How close we were to a situation where many people with guns could’ve killed many members of Congress. The possible result? Martial law and/or Civil War. Thank God some people are still coming forward to tell the truth.

Diego

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Re: Collective Guilt After Orlando
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2016, 03:12:07 AM »
So the clergywoman who heads the ELCA, Elizabeth A. Eaton, wrote a whole page and said very little. "We are killing ourselves." How pithy. But how inaccurate. In reality, the gunman was just a sick, disgusting individual who could not live with who he was. It is now known that he was a patron of the club on at least a dozen occasions. He had asked another boy out romantically from his class.

His claims to be fighting on behalf of Islam can even be discounted, in spite of ISIS taking credit for it. In fact, although ISIS may be pleased it happened, he pledged allegiance both to them and to yet another group, I believe Al Quaeda, both of which groups frankly hate other and want no part of each other.

What he was was a homosexual who could not deal with what he was. So he felt the need to completely lose it. As a mental patient myself, I have full understanding of what it means to "lose it", not that that gives any excuse to go kill 49 and wound 54!

But this nonsense that it was a hate crime against the LGBTQ Community, when the Dude who did it was in fact probably a messed up Gay Dude, cannot withstand close examination. Perhaps before she wrote her article, Mrs. Eaton should have waited for more information. Meantime, she could have written an article that simply asked for prayers, or something like that.

This rush to judgement that so many in the Liberal Community have is what truly blows my mind. Granted, some in the Conservative World have it too, but not generally to the same degree.

But I have this image in my mind of Mrs. Eaton automatically, as soon as she flipped off the TV, running to her computer and typing out her silly letter, as if she couldn't possibly get out the fact that yet another hate crime had been committed against the LGBTQ Community fast enough. Only to find out several days later that it probably wasn't a hate crime at all, since it was an emotionally disturbed Gay Dude that did it!

Liberalism at its finest. Gotta love it.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2016, 03:48:10 AM by Diego »

Charles Austin

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Re: Collective Guilt After Orlando
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2016, 04:34:08 AM »
She is Presiding Bishop Eaton, "Diego," and deserves the respect due to her as the one who holds that office. I challenge you to find "judgment" in her letter. And if you do not identify with those killed, their friends and their families and understand that their deaths diminish us, that their sufferings are our sufferings, then you need to have a talk with your pastor about compassion and who is your neighbor.
Your "image" of what you think "Mrs. Eaton" did "automatically" in her "silly letter" is unfounded, disrespectful and uncharitable, especially since it comes from an anonymous person and is directed towards a pastor and bishop of the church.
Furthermore, considering that our Lord calls us to love our enemies, we might even consider a bit of compassion for the one driven to commit such an atrocity and for his friends and family. He was a fellow human being possessed and driven by his own demons, a person who  - in the eyes of our God - was more than "an emotionally disturbed Gay Dude."
Shame.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2016, 04:36:32 AM by Charles Austin »
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Oh, my. How close we were to a situation where many people with guns could’ve killed many members of Congress. The possible result? Martial law and/or Civil War. Thank God some people are still coming forward to tell the truth.

Eileen Smith

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Re: Collective Guilt After Orlando
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2016, 07:12:55 AM »
The opening paragraph of Bishop Eaton's letter reminded me of a tragedy, the Oklahoma City bombing.  I was taking a course in Philadelphia at the time and stunned students and professors gathered for prayer. A week later to the day we joined together in worship.  Later that month the Metro NY Synod came together in worship to pray for the victims; Pastor Barbara Lundblad preached.  She spoke of how the Oklahoma City bombing stunned a nation and cited how people sought answers and solace in joining together in worship.  She spoke of how this sort of tragedy is something that while we as a nationwide stunned, tragedies such as this happened frequently in other countries.  A large part of our shock, she said, was that the people who were killed were us -they were from our country, they looked like us, spoke like us.

While I will admit I don't care for a sermon that points to one's guilt, I did find Bishop Eaton's letter as insightful as her many other writings.  Diego, one area I will agree with you is that I sense this gunman was filled with self-loathing, but, moreover was probably suffering serious emotional issues.   Do we have a role in finding better care for the mentally ill; yes, we do.  Even if it is petitioning our representatives, we have a responsibility to those who need care. 

Bishop Eaton reminds us of what Pastor Lundblad said so many years ago - the victims of this tragedy are "us" - the victims of Sandy Hook, and Oklahoma City and San Bernadino are us and the kids being killed in inner city violence are us.  We need to work to find ways to address such violence. 

I referenced above a sermon preached last weekend.  It isn't helpful, in my opinion, to dredge out the GBLT and gun control mantra (although I do support gun control!!) when a tragedy like this occurs, but I think Bishop Eaton hit the nail on the head.  She's placed the humanity of the victims in front of us and has reminded us that in their humanity they were created in God's image as are we.   We need to see ourselves in this tragedy.  She didn't advocate a position but encouraged us to examine ourselves.  Her letter was en pointe.

What we also need to accept is that this person, however disturbed, did this in the name of ISIS.  Though he may have been self-radicalized, he carried this out in the name of religion.  We need to name that.  Rather than the fear of lumping all Muslims as terrorists by using the term, 'radical Islamist,' it allows that it is only a piece of the Islamic religion that breeds such hatred and violence.   We also need to examine ourselves as to our views of (for lack of better term) 'moderate' Muslims, those who abhor and speak out against this violence.


David Garner

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Re: Collective Guilt After Orlando
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2016, 08:31:47 AM »
While I certainly think all of humanity suffers when each of humanity sins, I abhor the rush to assess blame and assign fault in the aftermath of tragedies like this.  It rarely brings out our better nature.  More often, we end up pointing fingers at our neighbor instead of looking in the mirror ourselves.  We are, at our core, a nation of narcissists.

"Blame and shame" is neither the basis for good policy nor good Christianity.  We can do better.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

Team Hesse

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Re: Collective Guilt After Orlando
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2016, 08:42:03 AM »
While I certainly think all of humanity suffers when each of humanity sins, I abhor the rush to assess blame and assign fault in the aftermath of tragedies like this.  It rarely brings out our better nature.  More often, we end up pointing fingers at our neighbor instead of looking in the mirror ourselves.  We are, at our core, a nation of narcissists.

"Blame and shame" is neither the basis for good policy nor good Christianity.  We can do better.


Could it be that one of the highest of accolades given to a person in the scripture, "He walked blameless before God" actually means these people walked before God without blaming others for things which occurred?


Ponder the possibilities....


Lou

David Garner

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Re: Collective Guilt After Orlando
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2016, 08:52:56 AM »
While I certainly think all of humanity suffers when each of humanity sins, I abhor the rush to assess blame and assign fault in the aftermath of tragedies like this.  It rarely brings out our better nature.  More often, we end up pointing fingers at our neighbor instead of looking in the mirror ourselves.  We are, at our core, a nation of narcissists.

"Blame and shame" is neither the basis for good policy nor good Christianity.  We can do better.


Could it be that one of the highest of accolades given to a person in the scripture, "He walked blameless before God" actually means these people walked before God without blaming others for things which occurred?


Ponder the possibilities....


Lou

I'm not fit to agree or disagree with that take, but I do like it.

Which is damning by faint praise, but still -- I like it.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

Charles Austin

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Re: Collective Guilt After Orlando
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2016, 08:54:22 AM »
Lou, we may actually have a measure of agreement here; since I believe that - while we are not directly responsible for the actions of another - our attitudes and the culture we create or encourage around us can feed into the craziness of another, making all of us and our words and attiutdes - if not "responsible" - at least part of the problem.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Oh, my. How close we were to a situation where many people with guns could’ve killed many members of Congress. The possible result? Martial law and/or Civil War. Thank God some people are still coming forward to tell the truth.