No sooner had the last of the 168 bodies been removed from the horrendous bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City than America began celebrating the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. The sharp contrast between the competing images could scarcely have been more glaring.
On the one hand, the jubilation at the war's end recalls an earlier period of remarkable national unity and optimism. On the other hand, the recent image of the worst terrorist bombing in our history betrays deep fissures in the American psyche and society. And this has provoked a period of national soul searching.
Michael Lind, senior editor of Harper's, stated in The Washington Post on April 30 that "the story of Oklahoma City and the militias should not make us forget that the main form of political terrorism in the United States is perpetuated by right-wing opponents of abortion."
Charles Colson was enraged by this article and responded in the May 9 Post:
So there it is: Conservative Christians are dangerous people with the blood of innocents on their hands. Nero himself could not have put it better.
Though I hate to play the role of temperance worker at the keg party, perhaps it is time for people who complain about a "climate of hate" to sober up and make a few distinctions. It is most egregious and irresponsible-indeed a fanatical stretch-to suggest that whoever committed the Oklahoma atrocity is somehow linked to religious conservatives.
Of course Colson is correct. In no way do religious conservatives share responsibility for the bombing in Oklahoma. Those on the Christian Right were as devastated as any other Americans by this heinous act.