Originally Posted by Catt of the Garage
Not necessarily, I'm afraid. It's easy to demonise people but I don't believe that most people who would adhere to a rule like that are acting out of "intentional cruelty". What is in their heads is probably not "Let us hurt her! She deserves it!". It is probably more "She has sinned! We must be seen to maintain our holiness and cannot compromise with sin" - in other words, a tragic distortion of Paul's teaching on maintaining purity in the Church and a huge blind spot to Jesus' teaching on logs and specks and forgiving 70x7 times.
The reaction most likely originates in fear. Fear of the Law; fear of stepping outwith the bounds of what is percieved as "God's will"; fear of God's rejection (we are all guilty of underestimating God's love); fear of parting with the flock. The deacons in a situation like that, who may be in other situations loving and Christlike, are falling into the trap of upholding the law of man in the place of the law of God. Jesus had to contend with this all the time (Pharisees).
from the Soulforce credo about the adversary: I believe that my adversary may have an insight into truth that I do not have.
We've got to keep this in mind, along with other points in the credo that remind us that these people are acting out of their convictions, even if those beliefs are founded in misinformation.
I am reminded of Bruce Bawer's book, Stealing Jesus
. One of his points about Fundamentalists is that so much of their belief relies on a victim/martyr concept. So while "christians" are persecuted here on earth for their beliefs, they will be rewarded in heaven. Expanding on that idea, fundies appear to take great joy in the "fact" that they will be getting into heaven while "others", like us, will not.