In the wake of the Santa Fe High School mass shooting, a lot of people are trying to honor the victims any way they can — and that’s wonderful — but it also leads to well-intentioned people disrespecting the people they want to memorialize.
Greg Zanis has a habit of doing this. He’s a Christian whose group Crosses for Losses arrives on the scenes of mass deaths and plants large crosses in the ground for each victim.
When he did it after the Las Vegas massacre in October, I remember wondering how he could be so damn certain every victim was a Christian. Dozens of people died. Even at a country music concert, there’s no way they all believed in Jesus.
But in Santa Fe? There were (only?) 10 victims — enough for Zanis to do at least a bit of research on them. One of the victims, Sabika Sheikh, happened to be an exchange student from Pakistan.
Abdul Aziz Sheikh thought his daughter would be safe in the United States, sending his daughter to a school in Texas as part of a cultural exchange program created by the U.S. State Department to foster understanding. But Sabika Sheikh, 18, was killed Friday while at school.
Sabika Sheikh was the eldest of three sisters and had an older brother. Another exchange student, Sayyed Zaman Haider, said Sheikh was about to return home to them: The academic year was ending, so she was almost done with her cultural exchange. Her family said she was due home on June 9, and her relatives had been counting the days, her father said.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say she wasn’t a Christian. Indeed, Houston’s Muslim community held a funeral for Sheikh on Sunday.
Assuming she was Muslim herself, it’s profoundly disrespectful for Zanis to write her name on a Christian cross and stick it in the ground in her “honor.”
Zanis doesn’t ask the family members of victims if they want this. He doesn’t care what the victims’ beliefs are. He just goes around, thinking he’s doing everybody a huge favor.
No doubt it would add insult to injury if any non-Christian group advertised their faith following a tragedy using the names of dead Christians. So why does Zanis seem to get a free pass from criticism everywhere he goes?
(Thanks to Robert for the link)