Friday, June 09, 2006

Justified Homicide?

According to this article from the New York Times today, concerning the assassination of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi:
Five others died in the airstrike: Mr. Rahman, one woman, one child and two other men, General Caldwell said. The identities of the four were not known.
Simple question today. Was the deaths of the others in the house (and honestly, I'm thinking particularly about the woman and child) worth the death of the one terrorist? Was it worth it to kill four unkown peoplein order to kill one man?

Is our answer different if we think of ourselves as citizens of America first who happen to be Christians (if you're reading this and you are a Christian), rather than citizens of the Kingdom who happen to live in America?

And finally, when Jesus tells us to love our enemies, does that mean terrorists too? If so, what does THAT look like?


Tony Arnold said...

As a Christian, I cannot say one innocent life is worth the death of the terrorist. But, one could argue who was responsible for innocent death, those that struck or the terrorist who through violence brought violence down on them.

I have come to the conclusion that with sin, evil, and violence in particular, the issue is not who is at fault or who is right or wrong or justified or not justfied.

It is one simple fact: that once one person executes sin or violence, then it begins a process where everyone involved loses. It is a lose-lose situation. Even if the justified party does not respond to violence, he or she may still suffer just as they may suffer or cause additional suffering if they retaliate.

For the disciple of Christ, we have to err on the side of love and mercy, but that will likely not eliminate suffering at the hands of violence and evil. The best it may do is begin a process of breaking the violence cycle.

I think many Christians, me in the past, don't like the fact that part of discipleship is to be willing to suffer and die in order to do the right thing, therefore, we ignore this fact and try to justify retaliation and self-perservation.

However, if the Christian chooses not to respond to violence in kind, he or she must be ready to suffer the effects of letting the violent person continue. A very tough dilemma hence my conclusion of lose-lose. God may call the Christian to one response, but judge neither.

War, violence, sin, and hate all breed lose-lose situations. I think this was a key point of Jesus' message.


Tiffany said...

This is something I've struggled a lot with. I see that Jesus lived out a radical love-everyone paradigm, and I know that, as individuals and the church, we are called to follow. Does our government then, especially because it is (in theory, anyway) a representative government, need to follow that same ethos?

As a fun anecdote, you should have seen the looks on the faces of the girls at a devo I went to the week after 9/11, when I suggested we pray for Bin Laden and all the other members of Al Qaeda. Which I think we should, by the way.

Justin said...

If you are looking at the situation, not from a christian standpoint, but from a governmental standpoint, then yes, it was. Of course, you have spun the situation one way, where others could say, "is saving untold lives of soldiers, innocent iraqis, and others by killing zarquawi and 3 innocents worth it?" From a strictly governmental standpoint, the answer would have to be yes.

We have to realize, that regardless of our own personal morals, the government exists to protect its citizens. Its trying to do that right now. Is it doing it the best way. Maybe not. But as soon as we start trying to force the government to abide by Jesus's standards, we are just as bad as those who want to ban gay marriage or make sure I'm not allowed to say certain curse words on network TV.

We are to love our neighbors and that includes our enemies... bin laden and all. But we have to remember the passage in Romans (I can't remember the chapter) about the government, and how it shouldn't be feared by those that do right.

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