Thank you, Alec Baldwin. You have taught me (well, reminded me of) something I should have known.
Have you heard about Alec Baldwin's comments about Vice President Cheney? If not, you can read them here. Reacting to the Vice President's accidental shooting of a man, Baldwin called Cheney a terrorist.
The immediate response I had was to think of Baldwin as an idiot and a shameless political opportunist. But I have thought some more and have come to a bit of a different conclusion.
I think we need to examine political rhetoric in America. I will speak simply for myself here about my political tradition - conservative Republican of the Rush Limbaugh-loving variety. I think that we - political conservatives who also happen to be Christians - give ourselves in the political realm more latitude to sin than we do in any other area.
If this had been Vice President John Edwards who had done this, what would we say?
What did we say about John Kerry?
What did we say about Al Gore?
What did we say about Bill Clinton?
What do we say about Hillary Clinton?
I think that we Christians who discuss politics need to dial back the rhetoric. Just because someone has a different philosophy of government than I do, does not mean that that person deserves to be spoken of in an unkind manner.
Some might object - but what if it's true? Two responses - for Alec Baldwin, it is true that Dick Cheney is a terrorist. The perception of truth is not the same as the presence of truth. If Alec Baldwin can be wrong about truth, so can I.
But besides that, does something being true make it ok to say? Truth must be equal-weighted with grace. American political rhetoric needs some grace injected into it.
And for my part, I have learned from Alec Baldwin, that starting today, on this website, grace and truth will be the standard when we are talking politics. Thanks again, Alec.