Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Letter to the Editor

This morning I opened our local newspaper to find a letter to the editor titled, "Sympathy Needed for All in Local Tragedy." The letter was written by Margie Crawder. Ms. Crawder worked for a dentist (retired) by the name of Dr. Martin Strassner.

On August 5, 2011, Dr. Strassner picked up his 90-year-old in-laws from an assisted living facility. He drove the couple to his home, parking in the driveway. He then executed the elderly couple, before turning the gun on himself and committing suicide. You can read more details, here.

You can read Margie Crawder's letter to the editor, here.

Assuming your local newspaper will print your letters (not all newspapers are as tolerant of opposing views as my local newspaper), "letters to the editor" is an excellent way to impart biblical truth to a large segment of your community.

Having read Margie Crawder's letter to the editor, I was compelled to respond.  I do not know if the newspaper will print my letter. After all, the paper doesn't print every letter that comes in to the paper.

Here is what I wrote:
In deed, the Strassner double-murder/suicide is a tragedy. There is certainly reason to feel compassion, not only for Mrs. Strassner, but also for the entire community impacted by this horrific crime.

We may never know the depth of Dr. Strassner's struggle with depression. The human brain is an intricate work of art by the Creator--an organ that can become diseased like any other part of the body.

What troubled me about Ms. Crawder's letter was this paragraph: "I'm sure he took his wife's parents to relieve her of their care. He was not a bad man."

Ms. Crawder can make such a statement because she operates from the common and faulty presupposition that people are basically “good.” Yes, we can all agree that no one is perfect. Yet most people would just as quickly assert their own goodness and the goodness of others. So prevalent is this presupposition that Ms. Crawder can assert what Dr. Strassner did was wrong, but he wasn't a bad man.

The Bible makes it clear no one is good--not Dr. Strassner, not Ms. Crawder, not me, and not anyone else--not according to God's standard of goodness (Psalm 14:1-3; Romans 3:10-18; Mark 10:18). God's standard for goodness is moral perfection. In fact, Jesus said, "You are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matt. 5:48).

Granted, no one can live up to that standard, for we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). But God doesn’t lower His standard simply because we cannot live up to it.

So long as people are seen as basically "good," so long as society maintains such low standards of morality, some will rationalize a double-murder/suicide as a terrible crime committed by a good man.

My prayers go out to Mrs. Strassner, Ms. Crawder, and all those impacted by Dr. Strassner's selfish and criminal act.
The above was also submitted as a comment to the online version of Margie Crawder's letter to the editor.