• Foundations of Truth

Christians: Seek Unity, Not Division



Sometimes, too much news media can be a bad thing.


Recently, a click-grabbing headline was posted on the conservative news-site World Net Daily, which mockingly declared “Bang! Facebook suddenly changes course on Rittenhouse praise.”[1]

While the article’s ensuing critique of Facebook for rashly labelling Kyle Rittenhouse a “murderer”and blocking searches related to his name is well-founded, the tone of the headline toward Facebook was unnecessarily contemptuous.


This critique is not unique to WND but could be applied to any news organization, which emphasizes a “Gotcha!”style approach to news reporting.


Bridging hostilities on politically-loaded matters like the Rittenhouse case could have helped restore calm as riots erupted across the nation from groups who opposed Rittenhouse’s acquittal in the shooting of three men who were protesting in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year. [4]

The wave of protests came at the heel of aggregate insurance data from 2020 that demonstrated a staggering jump in civil violence and destruction across the United States. [2]


Our nation is tearing itself apart. This kind of dogged antipathy, even in the face of a positive shift in behavior on the part of Facebook, risks creating irreparable divides.


Further concerning reports were released by Brown University last year indicating that the United States is polarizing far faster than other similarly structured countries. As researcher Jesse Shapiro writes, “There are good reasons to think that when people in different political camps cease to respect each other, it’s harder to make political compromises and create good public policy.”[3]


As Christians, we should choose a different path. While we have an obligation to stand up for righteousness, we must also be peacemakers. As Matthew 5:9 famously says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”


Statistically, our own political parties hate each other more than they love their own parties. [5] This becomes even more concerning when acknowledging that a majority of Republicans (who are certainly one half of this equation) identify as “Christians.”Recalling 1 John 3:15, hatred is not compatible with Christianity: “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.”


This is a dangerous state of affairs. It is not helped by news media fanning the flames. As TIME magazine reported in 2018, consuming too much news media can have a negative effect on your mental health. [6] Research in this study has shown that news has become increasingly negative and emotionally charged, potentially driving the polarization across the United States.


It is time that followers of Christ stood up to this madness. Did not Jesus, a Jew, accept the humble faith of the centurion, a Roman enemy of the Jewish people in Luke 7:1-10? While not all of us are running news organizations that have the power to change the conversation, in our own lives, we should not try to fan the flames of hatred. Instead, we should affirm areas where we agree and attempt to bring about a reconciliation that will save our nation.


Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.

 

[1] WND News Services, “Bang! Facebook suddenly changes course on Rittenhouse praise,” World Net Daily (December 1, 2021) https://www.wnd.com/2021/12/bang-facebook-suddenly-changes-course-rittenhouse-praise/.

[2] Tim Campbell and Miha Hribernik, “A record year for civil unrest in the United States,” Verisk (November 12, 2020), https://www.verisk.com/insurance/visualize/a-record-year-for-civil-unrest-in-the-united-states/.

[3] Jim Kimball, “U.S. is polarizing faster than other democracies, study finds,”Brown University (January 21, 2020), https://www.brown.edu/news/2020-01-21/polarization.

[4] Sharon Pruitt-Young, “Kyle Rittenhouse verdict prompts protests in several cities,” NPR (November 20, 2021), https://www.npr.org/2021/11/20/1057643957/kyle-rittenhouse-verdict-prompts-protests-in-several-cities.

[5] Harry Enten, “Statistically, Democrats and Republicans hate each other more than ever,”CNN (November 20, 2021), https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/20/politics/democrat-republican-hate-tribalism/index.html

[6] Markham Heid, “You Asked: Is It Bad for You to Read the News Constantly?,”TIME (January 31, 2018), https://time.com/5125894/is-reading-news-bad-for-you/.



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