Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The “Easter Worshippers”

I saw mentions of this online, and it certainly does make an intriguing comparison – how certain prominent politicians responded to the Muslims targeted and killed in Christchurch, New Zealand, and to the Christians targeted and killed in the cities of Batticaloa, Colombo, and Negombo, in Sri Lanka.

The following quotes I gathered are tweet-outs by the 44th President of the United States, a former First Lady of the United States and former Democratic candidate for President, and a current candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in 2020. The operative comparison of tweets is that in the first case they freely identified the targets of terrorism as Muslims, while in the second case they called the targets of terrorism “Easter worshippers” rather than Christians.

Barack Obama, re New Zealand: “Michelle and I send our condolences to the people of New Zealand. We grieve with you and the Muslim community. All of us must stand against hatred in all its forms.”
Barack Obama, re Sri Lanka: “The attacks on tourists and Easter worshippers in Sri Lanka are an attack on humanity. On a day devoted to love, redemption, and renewal, we pray for the victims and stand with the people of Sri Lanka.”

Hillary Clinton, re New Zealand: “My heart breaks for New Zealand & the global Muslim community. We must continue to fight the perpetuation and normalization of Islamophobia and racism in all its forms.”
Hillary Clinton, re Sri Lanka: “On this holy weekend for many faiths, we must stand united against hatred and violence. I’m praying for everyone affected by today’s horrific attacks on Easter worshippers and travelers in Sri Lanka.”

Julián Castro, re New Zealand: “My heart is with the people of New Zealand and the entire Muslim community this morning. We must always stand against acts of terror and hate.”
Julián Castro, re Sri Lanka: “On a day of redemption and hope, the evil of these attacks on Easter worshippers and tourists in Sri Lanka is deeply saddening. My prayers today are with the dead and injured, and their families. May we find grace.”

“Easter worshippers” smells of agreed-upon talking points to me – in that so many (not just these three) used it. I have never before noticed it being a common usage. Why would it be “agreed-upon” talking points? To avoid calling the slain and injured Christians? Of course, I expect that “people who are worshipping on Easter Sunday” are at least nominally Christians. There is room for Christian leaders to debate that fact. However, political leaders should just assume, in their use of language, that they were adherents to their faith – just as they assumed those worshipping the two mosques were Muslims.

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