Confidence and loving in the USA
"...if any mischief should follow then he should give life
for life, eye for eye" Exodus
"An eye for an eye and everyone is blind" Banner sign
in New York's Union Square.
The gullible fanatics who believed that they were striking at
the heart of evil by taking their lives and those of five thousand others badly
missed their target. To even think that the US is somehow responsible for the
events of the 11 September is absurd. Whilst it is popular to highlight the
failures of US foreign policy, we have a lot to be thankful to the world's
superpower. Remember, if Communism had not been defeated in the Cold War, we
would be living in a very different world. In Bosnia, it was US intervention
that brought to a stop the persecution of Muslims by Christians.
Evil resides in the soul of man. Due to our kinship with the
first Adam we carry the affliction of the fruit of knowledge and only through
the salvation offered by Christ can it be expunged. The tragedies wreaked upon
the US are the works of the destroyer of souls. In this time of anguish and
retribution it is he that we should fear.
God's command in Matthew 22:39 is that we love our neighbor
as ourselves. This command demands compassion understanding and forgiveness. The
call within the US for retributive justice is not surprising, but there are
important questions about reconciling retribution with the rule of international
law and our Christian command for compassion in the face of terrorism.
We have seen a developing accountability for atrocities
against mankind. The recent trials of Pinochet and Milosevic are good examples
of the international community seeking justice within a framework of the rule of
law. At the outset the question for international jurists was whether due
process would survive the rhetoric of retributive justice. We now know that the
US have initially taken the military response and we have a new definition of
" War" that includes terrorism and counter terrorist measures.
"War" as we now know it, legitimizes the US military
attack on Afghanistan. It is unlikely that popular opinion allowed President
Bush any other choice, but the rule of law as encapsulated in the US
Constitution and the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights
does extend to those who committed the atrocities of the 11 September 2001. They
have every right to due process and to be tried before an internationally
The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes
that the "disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous
acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind", but that "if man is not
compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and
oppression, ...... human rights should be protected by the rule of law". The
bombing of Afghanistan may set in place a chain of events that nullifies the
rule of law and that would be a victory to the terrorists.
With God's command that we must love our neighbor as
ourselves, comes the question who is our neighbor? A legal view would have any
person whom we should have reasonably foreseen as being affected by our actions,
as our neighbor. Then there is the popular premise that we are connected to
everyone in the world through six people. This was a theme of an early Will
Smith movie called the "Six Stages of Separation". Whilst it is with some
hesitancy that we cite a Hollywood movie to validate a point, the most common
reaction to the 11 September attacks was its resemblance to a Hollywood movie.
The key point is that the reality of neighborhood is expanding, events on the US
east coast can affect us in New Zealand, as dramatically as an airline crash in
Antarctica. We live in a global community and our neighbor is the world at
large. So as Christians we are ordered to love all men as we would love
At this time like no other we must exhibit the fruit of the
Holy Spirit. For the fruit of the Spirit is "love .........faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law" Galatians 5:22.
Pray that God's wisdom and understanding will prevail in the hearts of
our leaders and may the followers of Islam receive the truth of God's light so
that the fruit of the Holy Spirit will become manifest.