‘Stone Him!’

On an NBC talk show two nights ago the guest said, "I'm thinking to myself, if we were in other countries, all of us together would go down to Washington and we would stone Henry Hyde to death... and we would go to [Republican leaders'] homes and kill their wives and their children." Sound like a Mafia figure or a tribal leader in some savage land? No, it was actor Alec Baldwin, making one of this week's ugliest attacks on conservative Republicans. It was typical of the kind of sentiment flooding our nation, caught up in the throes of incivility in the midst of the impeachment debate. Amazingly, very few people have denounced Baldwin. But, God forbid, if a Christian had said these things, he'd be pilloried, and rightly so. Law professor Alan Dershowitz weighed in. He said, "If this president is impeached, it will be a great victory for the forces of evil—genuine evil... [a] victory over decency and decent people." Let me get this straight: These are the folks who don't have a problem with perjury, obstruction of justice, or illicit sex in the Oval Office—and they're calling the Republicans evil? Well, these are just some of the tasteless and unfair slurs that are tearing away the very social fabric of a civilized people. Man is, by his nature, a social being. As Aristotle said, "Politics is simply determining how we order our common lives together." But one condition necessary for living together as a people is to treat one another with a certain level of respect. To attack people verbally or to threaten them with violence for their reasoned opinions runs counter to maintaining a healthy society. It makes rational discourse impossible. It's knocking at the door of barbarism. There's an object lesson here for Christians as well. Remember we must above all guard our own tongues, no matter how objectionable our opponents may be. The impeachment debate, which is resuming today after the staggering events of the last two days, seems to have brought out the very worst in many people. And that's tragic. Our leaders must soberly and solemnly weigh their constitutional responsibilities. We must do it without the name-calling and threats which undermine our civility. As Yale law professor and civility expert Stephen Carter put it, "if we decide to treat others well merely to provide a social lubricant, we quickly begin to make enough exceptions to swallow the rule: this one does not deserve respect because he is so rude, that one because of her political views." "I suspect," Carter writes, "it will be possible to treat each other with love only if we are able to conceive of doing so as a moral obligation... that is absolute, bearing no relation to whether we like them or not." Why should we feel that obligation? Because "the other human being is also a part of God's creation." Let the people's representatives work their will as the Constitution prescribes—solemnly, deliberately. We showed the world this week that we could unite behind the president when facing a tyrant abroad. We should also show them that we can be civil and responsible together as we carry out our constitutional responsibilities here at home.


Chuck Colson


  • Facebook Icon in Gold
  • Twitter Icon in Gold
  • LinkedIn Icon in Gold

Sign up for the Daily Commentary