Sunday, January 5, 2014

Newsroom Public Condemnation

A Church newsroom article published recently says the following: 

"We join our voice with others in unreserved condemnation of acts of cruelty or attempts to belittle or mock any group or individual that is different – whether those differences arise from race, religion, mental challenges, social status, sexual orientation or for any other reason.

Another recent article from the LDS church news room says this:
"Stated simply, we would like to be known and recognized for whom we are and what we believe, and not be inaccurately associated with beliefs and practices that we condemn in the strongest terms."

And another recent article says this;
"Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form."

Yet another says this:
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints condemns abuse of any kind.

The Church in multiple statements has identified itself in the role of condemner.  "Unreserved condemnation"Condemn in the strongest terms"Unequivocally condemn"Condemns abuse of any kind".  We get the picture, they WANT the public to know that they condemn things.  

I find it interesting that the word 'condemn' is used by a religious organization with such abandon, frequency, and with no reservation (per their own words). The word comes from the Latin root "damnare: inflict loss on". and "con" meaning expressing intensive force. From those, Old French and the English word "Damn" we get the word "condemn".  It's a well known scriptural word, and we all seem to sense it's meaning at some level.  It's not good. 

As I read these continuing and frequent newsroom statements of condemnation my mind went back to the end of the new Testament, as Christ was on the cross.  He was mocked, abused, belittled, treated cruelly, discriminated against.... by the religious leaders of the day.  Among his final words were a petition to forgive those who were in the act of killing him.  He not only didn't condemn them, he forgave them (Luke 23:34).  In scripture He seems reluctant to condemn.  The scriptures say that he did not come to earth to condemn, he came to save people (John 3:17).

These statements of public condemnation by the Church are not an accident, they are carefully prepared by paid professionals and were likely researched for a particular effect.  And as they say in very clear terms, the condemnation they level is unreserved.  They have no reservation about it.  This gives me pause.  It's easy to read these statements and not comprehend what is happening.  However this does not seem to agree with the example and scriptures we as a Church claim to follow and who's name our church carries.  I"m not saying anyone should condone things which are wrong, or not speak out against evil, wickedness, and or societies ills that need to stop.  Calling to repentance is different from just unreservedly ascribing condemnation to others.  The attitude and words employed in the above official statements begin to place condemnation on just about everyone at one point or another, and it seems increasingly distant from the role and path Jesus taught us to follow.  

Repentance is hopeful, Christ's message is a hopeful one.  We should follow Him and His message.  Within that message there is no need to take upon us the role of public condemner, the Gospel does not ask us to do so.      

John 3:17 17 "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."

Luke 6:37 "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:"

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