Hans Fiene, a Lutheran pastor from Illinois, really wants to find a silver lining in the senseless murders to 26 people at a Texas church yesterday. But the way he’s turning a tragedy into inspiration is absurd.
He says in an article for The Federalist that the people who were killed should be grateful because “God was answering their prayers.”
… When those saints of First Baptist Church were murdered yesterday, God wasn’t ignoring their prayers. He was answering them.
… when a madman with a rifle sought to persecute the faithful at First Baptist Church on Sunday morning, he failed. Just like those who put Christ to death, and just like those who have brought violence to believers in every generation, this man only succeeded in being the means through which God delivered his children from this evil world into an eternity of righteousness and peace.
… Although the murderer filled their eyes with terror, God has now filled them with his glory. Although he persecuted them with violence, God seized that violence and has now used it to deliver his faithful into a kingdom of peace. Although this madman brought death to so many, God has used that death to give them the eternal life won for them in the blood of Jesus.
His argument is essentially that God took them from Earth (a place where there’s evil) to Heaven (where everything is perfect). It’s what Christians pray for all the time. So getting murdered might seem bad, but it’s all part of a greater good, so let’s celebrate!
By that logic, Christians should encourage more mass shootings in churches.
By that logic, Christians should throw a party every time a member of their congregation comes down with a deathly illness.
By that logic, the shooter was doing everyone a favor.
It’s the sort of warped thinking that could only come from accepting irrational dogma.
If an atheist tried using the same logic — “Here’s why Christians should be happy that 26 churchgoers are dead!” — we’d be (rightfully) condemned for finding joy in a horrific tragedy. But when a pastor does it, I guess we’re supposed to find it acceptable.