Sharpening Our Understanding

Unless one lives in Arkansas, it is doubtful one has heard of Rep. Jon Hubbard and former House member and candidate for the House Charles Fuqua. Hubbard wrote in a self published book that slavery was a blessing in disguise and that African Americans are better off than they would have been in they had stayed in Africa. Fuqua wrote on his website that we ought to expel all Muslims from the United State partly because to him anyone who doesn’t accept Jesus as their savior is part of the anti-Christ. Both men and their statements have been denounced by Republicans and Democrats alike. Some have even regretted donating money to Fuqua’s campaign. Rep Rick Crawford, a Republican called such writings “divisive and racially inflammatory.” A democracy grants these men the right to their views, and the right to publish them. No democracy could be true to its principles without such rights. And to the credit of our republic, they have been denounced. The tendency is to think of these views as extreme, not held by many and that denouncing them, mainly on principle, is enough. Yet, is denouncing them really enough? If one sees such views as a form of evil, a form that can mutate and multiply, then more than denouncing is needed. It’s not a question of limiting the freedom of those who hold them or voice them, it’s a question of sharpening our understanding of what evil is and can be. For the more we do, the more we are able to recognize what evil is, the more it can be exposed, and the less are its chance for survival.