Quite a controversy seems to have been generated by reports that US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton referred to supporters of one of her rivals, Donald Trump, as a “basket of deplorables”.
I first became aware of this when a Facebook friend, Ed Unneland, asked, “My question is why she regrets saying “half?” Should she not be regretting the word “deplorable?” I am not supporting Trump, but since when did we start excommunicating people from the body politic for voting for another major party?”
I would have been content to leave it at that, but then other people started discussing it on Facebook and elsewhere. Political discussions often lead to ad hominem arguments, and one of the boring things about Facebook nowadays is the frequency with which my Facebook friends post ad hominem attacks on the US presidential candidates they don’t like. I usually ignore them and pass on to something more interesting.
But what was interesting about this one was that the target of this attack was not a politician, but it was a politician attacking the supporters of a political rival. And what bothered me was that some of my Christian friends on Facebook were defending this and saying it was OK.
I think it is decidedly unChristian to call people deplorable.
In South Africa we have recently had a controversy about some US “pastor” who appeared to believe that homosexuals were deplorable, and I was amazed at the amount of free and unsolicited publicity that the media gave him.
Words can be deplorable, ideas can be deplorable. political policies can be deplorable, but calling people deplorable is the first step on a slippery slope that leads to genocide.
Our Lord Jesus Christ did not draw the line at anyone, and if we draw the line at anyone, he will be on the far side of that line and not on ours.
Our Lord Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am first.
So if there is any basket of deplorables, I’m right in there with them.