Brunswick Beacon, 07.07.22
Do you find public displays of piety hypocritical? You’re not alone. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “When you pray, don’t be like hypocrites, who pray standing in synagogues and on street corners so people will see them. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get. When you pray, go to your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father who sees what you do in secret and will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5-6).
I thought of Jesus’ admonition while watching a video Congressman David Rouzer emailed me recently. He stood on the floor of an empty House of Representatives “honoring” National Prayer Day. He spoke with ostentatious humility, then emailed the video to voters so we could see him warn against the “hubris of sin.” Self-awareness, alas, was absent.
So was “agape”, the selfless love for others described in 1 Corinthians 13. The patient, kind love that rejoices in truth and never fails. Without agape, wrote St. Paul, we are nothing. Without agape, evil festers.
On May 14 an avowed Nazi, anti-Semite and white supremacist shot 13 people in a supermarket. He picked Buffalo, NY because it had a large concentration of blacks. The ten dead all were black, including a security guard who epitomized “agape,” saving others’ lives by sacrificing his own.
The terrorist posted a 180-page screed falsely claiming Jews are promoting Critical Race Theory (CRT) and replacing whites with non-white immigrants.
Rouzer helps this evil fester. He spreads baseless fears about CRT, honors white supremacists, and stokes hatred accusing immigrants of bringing “who knows what” into our country. Since Buffalo’s terrorist attack, he’s voted against the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act and Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
Rouzer’s fear-mongering divides us. Though his call for prayer be delivered in the tongue of angels, without “agape” it is nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal; hypocritical, and dangerous.