Thursday, October 05, 2006

Real Christian Values

I have blogged here before about the Anabaptists and their link to Anarchism. After the recent school shootings of Amish girls in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, that old Anabaptist community came together to practice a vital and real Christianity.

One that had inspired the anarchist Kropotkin to help them find their way to North America after their persecution in Europe for their belief in non-violence. And their actions say more about real Christian values than all the political pontifications of the fundamentalist right in North America.

The Amish protest against evil

Their faith in the power of forgiveness led them to invite the widow of the nonAmish killer, Charles Carl Roberts IV, to the funeral for four of the slain girls. One Amish woman told a reporter, "It's our Christian love to show to her we have not any grudges against her."

This isn't surprising. It is common for the Amish to invite car drivers who have killed one of their community members to the funeral. Such a compassionate response reveals a belief that each individual is responsible to counter violence by expressing comfort - a sort of prayer in action.

After Monday's killings, the grandfather of one of the slain girls went to the home of Roberts's father, consoling and hugging him, pouring forth a love and innocence of the kind remembered of the girls in the school. "He extended the hope of forgiveness that we all need these days," said a Roberts family spokesman, the Rev. Dwight Lefever of Living Faith Church of God. "'God met us in that kitchen."

Like everyone, the Amish also seek justice for a crime, even as they struggle to forgive. Even so, as Abraham Lincoln said, "I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice."


Public Suicide

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