Thomas McKenzie
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When Being Right Goes Really Wrong

Special thanks to the Albany Times Union for this story. Read the whole thing here.


Here is the story -- The Bibles were safe the night Christ Episcopal Church turned to tinder, allegedly at the hands of Caleb Uriah Lussier, police said Monday. Lussier, 20, allegedly confessed to police that he used gasoline to torch the church in late May after he gathered the Bibles in a bag and placed them outside the reach of the flames.


Lussier, of Plymouth, Mass., is a student at the Word of Life Bible Institute in Schroon Lake, not far from Christ Episcopal. Investigators said he acted out of a religious zeal. . . . Lussier thought the members of Christ Church were hypocrites who deviated from the teachings of the Bible and the word of God. He allegedly robbed the church twice in May.


"He didn't think they were following the Bible the way they thought they should," Cleveland said. "He holds to the principle, but he said he went about it in the wrong way."


So, let's all make sure we understand. This young man, Mr. Lussier, decided that folks at this Episcopal Church were not following the Bible the way they should. So he robbed the church twice, threatened the members (see the rest of the story) and then burned it to the ground.


So, obviously this guy is not thinking correctly. He's sort of in the Crusades mode: "accept the Lord of Peace and Love, or I will kill you!" Not the sharpest tool in the shed, certainly.


But, it would be interesting to think of how you and I might do the same thing. I know that I judge people for doing what I think is wrong. I might speak ill of them, gossip about them. The same as burning down their church? No, obviously. Not the same ballpark, but certainly the same game.


So, I think this story is funny. I think this kid has a lot to learn, and I assume he will have lots of time in his cell to think about it. But it also reminds me that my heart is not always that different from Caleb Uriah Lussier's. There have been a few times when I have had an angry thought about burning down a church or two, come to think of it.


I guess I'll laugh about this one a bit, at the idiocy of this kind of "religious zeal." But I'll also remember it as a warning.