BEWARE PILLARS OF EMPATHY
The letter regarding progressive empathy (Viewpoint, July 19) is an example of a toxic trend that is manifesting itself in American Christianity.
Writing a condescending public letter about one’s own virtuousness flies in the face of all that we know about the message of Christ. As Christians, are we not warned repeatedly to display a righteousness that is better than that of the first-century Pharisees?
I understand the remarkable value empathy carries in this postmodern society.
In fact, true empathy has tremendous value both domestically and in the realm of international affairs. However, individual Christians should never provide lists of their own personal beliefs, no matter how empathetic, and announce to the world that these beliefs command the respect and confirmation of all those who wish to consider themselves empathetic.
I saw several people, even Christian leaders, share this letter on social media, thereby including themselves in the trend of toxic righteousness.
Christians should be encouraged to promote right moral and social practices that have the potential to decrease suffering on a global scale and bring people back to God.
But this does not imply toxic righteousness. Highly condescending bullet-point lists in which Christians use themselves as stunning examples of realized empathy amount to vitriolic pseudo-righteousness and nothing more.
Ultraconservative Christianity has long struggled with Pharisaic righteousness. Figures of the Christian right have often been sinners broadcasting their saintliness and encouraging others to conform their lives to a legalistic view of the narrow path. The rising new wave of Christianity, with its clear disdain of the Christian right, fares no better when adherents prop themselves up as pillars of empathy.
NO CHILD DESERVES THAT
Whether you are Democratic, Republican, Christian, Muslim or just plain American, you must be appalled at the treatment of immigrant children at our southern border.
Separating them from parents, and putting them in housing facilities all over the country has to be the crime of the year. Some may never be united.
It is all Trump. He declared the policy. He then lifted it when it became a political liability, but not before thousands were separated.
To use children as political pawns in his immigration plan has to be the most cynical move, even by Trump standards.
They may be children of thieves, murderers, and gangs, as Trump puts it, but no child deserves this treatment.
Maybe the base will figure out Trump before it’s too late. Most of us have.
J. David Fletcher