Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tragic - and Unacceptable

Boy's Killing, Labeled a Hate Crime, Stuns a Town

(NYT, 2/23/08)

OXNARD, Calif. — Hundreds of mourners gathered at a church here on Friday to remember an eighth-grade boy who was shot to death inside a junior high school computer lab by a fellow student in what prosecutors are calling a hate crime.

In recent weeks, the victim, Lawrence King, 15, had said publicly that he was gay, classmates said, enduring harassment from a group of schoolmates, including the 14-year-old boy charged in his death.

“God knit Larry together and made him wonderfully complex,” the Rev. Dan Birchfield of Westminster Presbyterian Church told the crowd as he stood in front of a large photograph of the victim. “Larry was a masterpiece.”

Pastor Birchfield has it right. All people are created by God and are wonderfully made, in the words of Psalm 139. All of us are imago Dei, in the image of God Himself. No one deserves death or indeed any kind of ostracism because he or she is different or perceived to be different. We declare that we will "respect the dignity of every human being" every time we renew our Baptismal promises. We dare not forget this, and all Christians should speak out agains such bigotry.

There is no room for hate in God's economy.


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