It’s not an easy topic. Certainly there are things in this world to be rightly angry about, so long as anger doesn’t drown out everything else. Even the teacher of universal love, Jesus, had some angry words to say. In one translation Luke attributes this to Jesus:
Damn you, Chorazin! Damn you, Bethsaida! If the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have sat in sackcloth and ashes and changed their ways long ago. But Tyre and Sidon will be better off at the judgment than you. And you, Capernaum, you don’t think you’ll be exalted to heaven, do you? No, you’ll go to Hell.
Luke 10:13-15 Scholar’s Version
The evidence was right in front of their faces, but they refused to change their ways. No great cleverness is necessary to substitute birtherism into that text.
The prophets in the Hebrew scriptures railed against con men (false prophets) and those who would take advantage the weak—widows, orphans and aliens. Character assassination and smears were elevated to the level of getting their own commandment among the Ten:
You are not to testify against your neighbor as a false witness.
Exodus 20:13b, The Five Books of Moses, Everett Fox
While belief in conspiracy theories is in the main just a human quirk, a visible sign of an underlying psychology that we all share to some degree, there are factors contributing to birtherism that deserve condemnation and anger, specifically racism, xenophobia, and fraud. I will continue to apply harsh words where they are deserved.
Birther prayer list
I mention my “birther prayer list” sometimes. Its content varies over time. Jerome Corsi is the first on the list, and Mike Zullo isn’t on it at all. The saying, “hate the sin, love the sinner,” sounds trite but it isn’t. Nobody is truly represented by one issue unless they are totally consumed by it. Recognizing the depth and complexity of our fellow humans is part and parcel with following the commandment about false witness. The difficulty about putting Mike Zullo on the list is that everything I know about him proceeds from his birtherism, which itself is characterized by false witness. The only way someone can see him who does not know him personally is as a cartoon villain, and I cannot pray sincerely for Lex Luthor.
We’ve heard examples in comments here about how birtherism has split families and ruined relationships. It can’t be easy being a birther and being shunned by society, and outcast for being a crackpot.
Birthers are easier for me to deal with if I separate them into the hateful bigots and liars, and the deluded victims. In reality, those neat categorizations are made with significant bias on my part, and they may be just a convenient way to escape some hard judgments. That problem I just have to live with. In the mean time, if you’re a prominent birther, and you feel your ears tingling about 10:30 on a Sunday morning, it might be that your name is being spoken in prayer.