Wednesday, May 27, 2009
More Trouble in Northern Ireland
My occasional critics who think I am too right wing or political might find some comfort in my post today. I was originally going to post on something else, until my eye caught this ENI news story about a tragic incident in Northern Ireland . . .
Northern Ireland 'sectarian killing' seen as sign of 'deep problem'
(Dublin) - Politicians representing all the communities in Northern Ireland have condemned the killing of a Roman Catholic man in what had come to be seen as a rare sectarian attack in a once conflict-afflicted area. Police said Kevin McDaid, a 49-year old Catholic, was beaten to death by a large gang of people in a sectarian attack near his home in Coleraine, County Derry on the evening of 24 May. Disturbances broke out in Coleraine following the final day of soccer's Scottish Premier League season. Rangers, a Glasgow-based club which has had a mainly Protestant following, clinched the league title from fellow Glasgow club Celtic, which has had strong support from Catholics. Both Glasgow teams have a large following in Northern Ireland.
This conflict has grieved me a long, long time, even from my youth. As they seemed to be making some progress in getting things settled from the darker years of "The Troubles," I was beginning to feel more optimistic. Then more stories like this have begun to trickle in again.
I have no political ax to grind in this, meaning specifically whether Northern Ireland should be part of Great Britain or rejoined with Ireland proper. This particular incident even appears to be more connected with sports rivalries, but the religious/political element certainly lies at the foundation. The spiritual element is what concerns me, along with the tragic violence.
I really am saddened that this continually is labeled "Catholic vs. Protestant." The implication is that it's fellow Christians warring against one another when the reality is that it's more political than religious. Naive of me? Maybe. But people who name the name of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior ought not to be killing each other. We can argue all day with each other over doctrine and practice, but the physical violence is altogether another thing.
In my view, this is what happens when you have genuine, Bible-believing, in-the-heart Christianity as opposed to what I call cultural, nominal or political Christianity. The former is made up of truly believing, spiritually regenerate Christians. The second really care nothing about Christ, the Gospel, being born again or evangelizing. "Christian," "Catholic" or "Protestant" is just a label they have without any real thought about the meaning of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. No real thought about what Christian love -- yes, love thy neighbor -- is really all about.
But the news media continually blares it out. "Catholic vs. Protestant." Christians at war with each other. Christians murdering each other.
And the children grieve.