Today—Good Friday—is the funeral date for a grandfather and his grandson murdered this past week at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas by a neo-Nazi Klansman. The service will be held at the Methodist Church of the Resurrection in nearby Leawood (New York Daily News). The white supremacist, a former KKK "Wizard" with crazy eyes and a grisly persona, also charged upon a Jewish retirement home that day and shot down the 53 year-old daughter of a resident in that facility—also a Christian. A funeral mass took place yesterday for her in a Catholic Church.
But the one thing none of us should do is to dwell on the irony.
The 73 year-old alleged assailant, who has the last name of Miller but who uses the moniker of Cross, is unrepentant, coarse, and obviously ignorant. One really wonders if he even thinks about the grim irony that he killed three Christians while on a rampage to exterminate Jews.
It’s now the annual lunar/solar confluence of the springtime festivals, Passover and Easter. Jews have already paused at our Seder meals to reflect somberly; Christians will gather further comfort from the hope of resurrection and eternal life.
But the one thing none of us should do is to dwell on the irony. The madman was looking to kill Jews and he wound up killing Christians. It all adds up to the same outcome from the vantage of the angels who administer both of the current holidays and all of the faiths. Blood is blood, whether it is painted across Hebrew doorways in Egypt or dripping from the Cross in Jerusalem.
The real absurdity, the tragic sarcasm of this American pogrom, is that men and women of the killer’s ilk routinely don the skewed righteousness of ethnic supremacy while planning and carrying out their ungodly plots. Was the Overland Park shooting an act of anti-Semitism? Yes. Was it also, psychically and literally, anti-Christian? Yes.
Yet both of the yesses make it no less frightening for the Jewish community and no less grievous for the Christian household. The killer has used the last name of Cross, which only compounds the incongruous spiritual illiteracy that is endemic to this kind of blind hatred and dehumanization of others.
It is reassuring to know that state and federal authorities have quickly applied hate crime statutes to this horror. We have some bad people living in America, but Americans increasingly apply good values when it comes to not grading evil in accordance with creed.
This fellow, Cross, if convicted, will be removed from society. And in our society, Christian families will enjoy the arts at Jewish community centers, Jews (like myself) will work out at the YMCA, and we will realize even more so that only the haters will fail to see anything but God’s children in our streets, schools, and shopping malls.