Should Christians Celebrate the Death of Hugo Chavez?


When news of Hugo Chavez’s death was first released, some people broke out their party hats. More than 200 patrons of El Arepazo, a Venezuelan restaurant outside of Miami, celebrated late into the night. Jim Treacher of The Daily Caller penned a column entitled, “Buh-Bye, Hugo Chavez,” saying, “The Vice President [of Venezuela] claims Chavez's cancer was induced by his enemies … I don’t know about you guys, but I’m happy to take credit.” And under a giant picture of Hugo Chavez’s face, the editors at the Drudge Report posted the following caption: “HELL’S A-BURNING.” They weren’t the only ones. Some Christians joined in too, using Twitter to announce their jubilation.

Todd Starnes is a Fox News Radio Commentator who is an outspoken Christian. He formerly served as assistant editor for Baptist Press and Communications Director for Union University, a Christian college in Jackson, Tennessee. He sent several tweets including one that said, “Hugo dead. The good news is now Saddam, Osama and Adolf have a fourth for Canasta” and “Hell is burning a little bit brighter tonight.”

Starnes says “he seeks to help the cause of Jesus through his work.”

Loren Heal of the Heartland Institute, who describes himself as a “logical Christian,” tweeted, “A moment of silence [for] Hugo Chavez. OK, I spent my moment picturing you enjoying hell, jackass.”

And we wonder why many non-believers think Christians are judgmental and hateful?

Sadly, even some Christian pastors responded in kind. One student minister at Christian church tweeted a link to a story about his death adding, “The world is BETTER OFF!” He also retweeted a snarky note from the leader of a faith-based advertising agency, which said, “Sympathies to Danny Glover, Sean Penn and President Obama in the loss of Hugo Chavez.”

I can’t help wondering what kind of students this ministry is producing. Is this what we can expect from the future leaders of American evangelicalism?

While Hugo Chavez was alive, he was one of the world’s most polarizing figures. He declared a socialist revolution in his country, and his administration was notoriously corrupt. Though poverty rates in Venezuela were cut in half during the populist’s time in power, he made a name for himself as a heavy-handed dictator and America hating socialist. The man is now dead at 58 years old, two years after being diagnosed with cancer, an event which leaves Christians wondering how we should respond.


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