This morning I noticed a very troubling news headline streaming across the banner on CNN. It announced that a certain presidential candidate had said that the world was not a safe place during a requisite Memorial Day speech he delivered. On the surface the statement is somewhat true. Yes, the world is not a safe place in the sense that our frail humanity is subject to all sorts of physical and other forms of inconvenience, injury or threat. Yet, this sort of observation goes without saying and the general sense in which it is true was clearly not the context nor informative aim intended by this politician.
Instead, what we have is yet another instance of someone seeking power and control contributing to an environment of fear and insecurity. It is, in a rather literal sense, a move that is “anti-Christian,” for Jesus came to bring peace and is remembered to have told his followers “do not be afraid.” That politicians in the United States, or anywhere for that matter, draw on fear to motivate their constituents to vote for them is an exercise of the worst sort of manipulation and abuse.
We are all too aware of the logical dangers in life about which we should be concerned: health matters, physical dangers, climate crises, and the like. To exaggerate and hype the specter of insecurity is something that Christians should stand up and reject outright.
We are supposed to be people of hope, love and reconciliation. We are not people of fear and insecurity, frightfully worried about specters of concern fabricated for political advantage. We are Gospel people, people of “Good news,” that fear and even death do not have the last word. Quite the opposite. Life in the resurrection wins out and we should not be afraid!
In an age where the rhetoric of state and terror saturates all national political debates, we must remind ourselves of who we are and in whom we place our trust. Let us do our best to resist the temptation to become afraid, but instead serve our communities and the world as prophets of hope and light.
Fear is not the answer, it is the problem.