Meditations on Hatred

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Meditations on Hatred

The U.S. Congress just passed the latest example of hate crime legislation, the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. These laws have become very popular over the last decade, and their purpose is to eliminate hate by increasing punishment when a crime — usually an assault on the persons or property of ethnic groups — is motivated by hatred. The strongest opposition to these laws has come from conservative Christians. Seen from historical perspective, this is surprising, because hatred used to be considered a deadly sin, and laws criminalizing hate thus use state power to impose traditional Christian morals on all Americans.

A Christian Administration? Hardly.

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A Christian Administration? Hardly.

President Bush has called Christ his most important moral teacher. Following this lead, the current administration regards itself as deeply religious and many of its members are very open about their faith. Yet, in spite of the abundant professions of piety, it is difficult to avoid the feeling that something is wrong somewhere. The source of the unease is obvious: Christ taught humility, meekness, loving one’s enemies, turning the other cheek and sacrificing one’s life for others. The Bush administration talks about a unipolar world and American empire, fights wars, tortures prisoners, defends that torture, builds an all-powerful presidency under “unitary executive” and ferociously character-assassinates those who disagree with it. This article investigates the mystery of how President Bush and his team can keep calling themselves Christians in spite of the obvious conflict between their actions and Christ’s teachings.


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