The worst thing you can write on the Internet is “I can see both sides of this” but oh well.
Some righties were annoyed by these tweets yesterday after the Sri Lanka bombings.
The attacks on tourists and Easter worshippers in Sri Lanka are an attack on humanity. On a day devoted to love, redemption, and renewal, we pray for the victims and stand with the people of Sri Lanka.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 21, 2019
On this holy weekend for many faiths, we must stand united against hatred and violence. I'm praying for everyone affected by today's horrific attacks on Easter worshippers and travelers in Sri Lanka.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 21, 2019
“Yeah, we’re actually called ‘Christians,'” sniffed NRO’s Alexandra DeSanctis. “The Pittsburgh shooting wasn’t ‘Shabbat celebrators’ and the New Zealand shooting wasn’t ‘Friday prayer adherents,’” added Karol Markowicz. It figures that the leaders of a secularizing party, committed fanatically to expanding abortion rights, whose taxonomy of victimhood forever places Christians in the role of persecutor despite evidence to the contrary, would choke on frankly identifying them as the victims of a terrorist atrocity. Who the hell ever heard of the term “Easter worshippers” anyway?
Answer: Uh, Fox News did.
That’s an Associated Press headline but Fox obviously had no problem rolling with it. Erick Erickson, a guy not known for looking the other way at leftist affronts to Christianity, kindly encourages everyone to chill out already:
A lot of people, including a few of the politicians who tweeted, only show up to church on Easter Sunday. And while the phrase “Easter worshipper” is not common, it is also not unheard of. Ironically, had Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama not tweeted to express concern for the dead and condemn the attacks, a great many of the people outraged now would have been outraged by their silence.
This is a silly controversy. Conservatives exhaust themselves pointing out how frequently progressives get outraged over minor things on social media and now are doing it themselves. The only people who care already noticed and do not need others to scream about it. It makes conservative complaints about social justice warrior insanity seem cheap.
“Easter worshipper” may simply have been an allusion to the fact that the bombings didn’t merely target Christians, they targeted them on the holiest day of the year, while celebrating the resurrection. If Obama and Hillary had wanted to minimize the Christian angle to the attack, specifically mentioning Easter is a funny way to do it. They could have omitted Easter entirely and just said “people” or “victims.” Which, per Reason, at least one other notable politician did:
138 people have been killed in Sri Lanka, with more that 600 badly injured, in a terrorist attack on churches and hotels. The United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka. We stand ready to help!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2019
This is the right-wing counterpart to that bogus attack last week on Ben Shapiro for acknowledging Notre Dame’s significance of “Judeo-Christian heritage,” notes Reason’s Christian Britschgi. In both cases the objection to anodyne terminology is a proxy for a grand disagreement about how much Christianity should influence western culture going forward. Shapiro’s critics see its influence as largely pernicious, Obama’s and Hillary’s critics see it as largely virtuous. Which is why it’s hard to form a hot take in this case: What do you do if you’re in camp two but wary of picking fights where there’s no evidence of ill intent by camp one? Do you pick that fight to win a point in the grand disagreement or take Erickson’s advice and “Maybe exercise some grace here”? There’s always a new dilemma for culture warriors.