Jesus had some “hard sayings” that He liked to throw out every once in a while to make sure people were still listening.
“Love your neighbor.”
“Good one Jesus, right on.”
“Feed the hungry.”
“Yup, sounds about right.”
“Clothe the naked.”
“Eat my flesh.”
That one got ‘em pretty good.
But another “hard saying” that has absolutely stumped the vast majority of us since Christ first said it is this one: forgive those who persecute you.
Hard? Yes. Seemingly impossible? Sometimes, yes. Commanded by God? Oh yes indeed.
I’ll leave it to people who know what they’re talking about to expound further on the radical nature of what Christ is demanding of us when he says this. Suffice it to say for now that it’s clear and direct and we don’t have any choice if we call ourselves Christians: we have to forgive our enemies.
And that includes the terrorists who killed 34 people in Brussels on Tuesday. We have to forgive them.
BUT…it is also written, “thou shalt not kill.” And that means that we need to kill all the other terrorists who are still out there.
Why? Because justice and reason and the teaching of the Church. The Fifth Commandment (don’t kill) imparts on Christians a duty to protect and defend innocent human life. Sooooo…it is morally just to use lethal force to prevent the killing of innocent people. Self-defense, just war, etc. etc. etc.
So kill ISIS.
Oh and by the way, and this is not meant to be insensitive to the suffering of the victims or the good people of Belgium, but is Europe going to respond to every ISIS-sponsored bloodbath in its cities with nothing more than a gushing torrent of self-soothing social media flim-flam?
Look, I get that it’s barely 24 hours old, and I get that a natural response to a national tragedy is to hunker down, be with loved ones, and get patriotic. That I don’t mind. You go on and fly that Belgian flag, and be proud of it. Everyone in America remembers the wave of patriotism that swept through us all after 9/11. It was, to borrow from someone who knew about national tragedies, altogether fitting and proper.
But it was also fitting and proper that we proceeded, post haste, to unleash hell on the medieval reprobates who did it.
What gets me about Europe is the immediate and overwhelming cascade of hashtags, memes, and cutsie artwork, of which the main point seemingly equates to standing in a circle over the bodies of your dead countrymen and shouting defiantly to nobody in particular, “Oh yeah? Well we have Twitter!”
And that’s it. No righteous anger. No shock and awe. No Toby Keith. In a month, it’s back to European business as usual. The month after that, it happens again, this time in Munich, or Rome, or Copenhagen. More tweets. More cyber-hugs. More “You’ll never make us change our way of life!”
And see, the problem with that pithy cliché is that it means absolutely nothing to the smiling boys of ISIS, whose primary reason for existing, until they take themselves into the hereafter with a bang, a flash, and an “Allahu Akbar!,” is not to end your way of life, but to end your life. And, tragedy of tragedies, you can’t re-tweet anything when you’re dead.
So here’s a suggestion for Europe. If you want to respond to the next ISIS attack with some clever artwork, try something along these lines: