Judge a tree — or protest — by its fruits

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Jesus said in the Gospel of Luke: “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit.”

This made me wonder about what “fruits” we’ve seen from the protests and riots of the past several months. Have we seen greater racial harmony, or reduced crime, or fewer cases of “police brutality”? No. In fact, our country is more divided on race right now than it has been in decades.

Crime rates, especially violent crime and murder, are spiking in the cities where the protests and riots have been most active. Hatred of the police — not just healthy criticism — has been stoked, resulting in police officers being attacked, killed, vilified by politicians and the media, and generally disrespected.

As the police have either withdrawn on their own accord, or been told to stand down by feckless political leaders, the inevitable result has occurred and now the people who most need police protection in dangerous neighborhoods are being victimized.

People always try to justify the protests and distinguish them from the riots, but the two are closely related, and I would argue that the riots are the natural fruit of the protests.

When the main message of the protestors is that this country is evil to the core and that police are the primary manifestation of white supremacist hatred of black people, what do you expect?

This is a toxic, hateful position, one that is not supported by facts at all, especially when the cities most affected by riots have been run by Democrats for decades and have police forces led by African-Americans.

We don’t even know for a fact that the officer involved in George Floyd’s death was “racist” or motivated by racism. That case has not been adjudicated, nor have most of the cases that continue to fuel the carnage.

But that is another fruit of this false “cry for justice”: the death of truth and facts. Police killing of unarmed black suspects is portrayed as being so endemic and commonplace that, as Lebron James said, black men have to be afraid every time they leave the house. But there were 14 cases of unarmed black men being killed by police in 2019. Fourteen. And in all cases the suspects were involved in some sort of criminal activity and were resisting arrest.

When your “tree” is based on lies, hatred, and left-wing ideology of the worst kind, it is no wonder you see the rotten fruit of violence, discord, anger, and division. But this isn’t a surprise. The Black Lives Matter organization (not the sentiment, of course, which goes without saying) is avowedly Marxist and if any tree has produced rotten fruit in the last 150 years, it is the Marxist one. The oppression, slaughter of millions, and general misery created by Marxist/Communist states like the Soviet Union, Communist China, and now Venezuela should be proof enough that such principles can only ever increase the suffering of the peoples they claim to help.

Martin Luther King, Jr., on the other hand, called for justice and equality based on the principles found in Christianity and our country’s founding documents. The fruits of his tree were real changes in our society and laws. He appealed to the better angels of our collective human nature, not to our perverse desires to hate our enemies and seek their destruction.

If the ideology or political cause you embrace leads you to anger, malice, and even violence, if it takes away your inner peace and replaces it with inner rage, do you really think it is a truly noble cause? Or is it perhaps an excuse to blame everyone else for personal and societal problems other than yourself?

Remember, a good tree produces good fruit out of its store of goodness, and does not produce rotten fruit. The good fruit of racial harmony is a true and noble goal, but if your efforts to achieve that seem to only lead to the kind of chaos and rage we have seen over the past several months, then you need to think about other ways to achieve that goal, ones that do not lead to the destruction of lives, property, and societal harmony.

Trey Hoffman

Peachtree City, Ga.

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