Selective Outrage

February 25, 2008

Some people have selective outrage--attacking some people for something but ignoring others for basically the same problem. Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy appears to have that problem. Tooley has written lately attacking the World Council of Churches for criticism of Israel but not Hamas during recent violence in Gaza. Now, he has a piece about violence against Palestinian Christians in which he attacks Hamas but says nothing about Israel. The problem with his one-side assessment becomes obvious as his last example is Gaza Baptist Church pastor Hanna Massad, who was a speaker at the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant. At the Celebration, Massad talked about ministering in the Holy Land and the need for the Baptist witness among the Palestinian people. His church is the only Protestant one in the Gaza Strip and has been damaged by both sides in the conflict. You can watch his and other addresses online here.

Massad's speech was a poignant reminder to pray for and help our Palestinian brothers and sisters. But it was also a reminder that the real tragedy is that they are being caught in the crossfire even as many American Christians support one of those sides causing the hardships. Tooley therefore is guilty of the very type of bias that he attacked the WCC for, except that he became overly biased for the opposite side that he attacked the WCC for supporting. To completely ignore one side's fault because of your political bias is dishonest and unhelpful. Ironically, Tooley attacked the Celebration as a "rally for leftist Baptists" even though it had as one of its speakers a man he now celebrates. Rather than write from afar like Tooley, the Celebration actually invited Massad to come speak for himself and get his message across. Tooley's criticism was because of the address by Al Gore (even though Tooley did not actually attend). Perhaps he should have checked out the rest of the Celebration, such as Massad's speech. Perhaps then he could have learned from Massad about the full truth of the tragic situation in Gaza. But, of course, such knowledge might have gotten in the way of his bias.