And while racial prejudice and sexual discrimination (and the objectification of women in our society, hat tip to the ikonoclast) continue to fester and infect our society, the "Derangement Syndromes" surrounding political philosophies and our supposed opponents and members of opposing political movements has reached a boiling point.
It hit really close to my home (both physically close and close in terms of religion and values) Sunday with the shooting and murder of two members of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church during morning services. The shooting occurred during a children's performance. Thank God no children were killed.
The shooter, Jim D. Adkisson, left a letter in his car with the reason for his rampage. Adkisson "stated hatred of the liberal movement."
Thankfully Adkisson himself was not killed in the rampage and didn't have the chance to commit suicide. One report stated he had 76 shotgun shells and planned to use them all. He was wrestled to the ground by church members. He is now being held by the Knoxville police.
Among the many sins of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church were it's sponsorship of the American Civil Liberties Union and its support of women's rights and gay rights. They had recently put out a sign welcoming gays to the congregation.
These people were shot for the very beliefs I hold and practice every day.
As a society we must learn to respect each others views, religions and politics or we will find ourselves mired in internal fighting like the ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, or past sectarian battle in Ireland.
Love is the spirit of this church and service is its law.
If only everyone could live by this simple and non-sectarian creed. Please send your prayers and thoughts to the friends and members of the Knoxville community touched by this tragedy. This tragedy touches everyone.
Here is a link to the website of The Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church