Moral Clarity on Terrorism

I can still hear my father’s voice ringing in my ears. He told me as a young boy that if I ever started a fight, I would not enjoy myself when I came home. He also said that if someone else started a fight with me, and I didn’t stand up for myself, I would not enjoy myself when I came home. His point in giving me these boundaries as a young person was to teach me that it was wrong to be an illegitimate aggressor, but it was right to defend one’s self against illegitimate aggression. I think that most people will agree with these statements. The problem is one’s definition of illegitimate aggression. When is it right to fight?

It appears that our world, most assuredly with altruistic intent, has attempted to redefine moral standards. In this attempt we have dismissed ideas that were fundamental to the formation and success of our government under the guise of political correctness. These ideals were responsible for our nation’s rise into prominence as a respected nation throughout the world, and as these ideals diminish in their application within our government we lose our position of prestige as a nation. It is not the greatness of our country that allows success, but the greatness of the principles that drove our country that allowed great success. Let us rightfully observe that the application of these principles is directly proportional to the success of our nation. There is a mass misunderstanding in our country that the freedoms that we possess are preserved by our birth into this nation. Our freedoms are given by God, and they are defended by men and women who hold these truths to be self-evident. Freedom implies being free from something, and I argue the fact that freedom exists proves the existence of evil. Think about that for a minute. What are we free from? Freedom implies evil.


Let us ponder the words of the Continental Congress, signed by Henry Laurens in 1778.

“The Congress, considering themselves bound to love their enemies, as children of that being who is equally the father of all; and desirous, since they could not prevent, at least to alleviate, the calamities of war, have studied to spare those who were in arms against them, and to lighten the chains of captivity. 

The conduct of those serving under the king of Great Britain hath, with some few exceptions, been diametrically opposite. They have laid waste the open country, burned the defenseless villages, and butchered the citizens of America. Their prisons have been the slaughter houses of her soldiers; their ships of her seamen, and the severest injuries have been aggravated by the grossest insults.

Foiled in their vain attempt to subjugate the unconquerable spirit of freedom, they have meanly assailed the representatives of America with bribes, with deceit, and the servility of adulation. They have made a mock of humanity, by the wanton destruction of men: they have made a mock of religion, by impious appeals to God whilst in violation of his sacred commands: they have made a mock of reason itself, by endeavoring to prove that liberty and happiness of America could safely be entrusted to those, who have sold their own, unawed by the sense of virtue or of shame. . .

. . .While the shadow of hope remained, that our enemies could be taught  by our example to respect those laws which are held sacred among civilized nations, and to comply with the dictates of a religion, which they pretend in common with us to believe and to revere, they have been left to the influence of that religion and that example. But since their incorrigible dispositions cannot be touched by kindness and compassion, it becomes our duty by other means to vindicate the rights of humanity.

We, therefore, the congress of the United States of America, do solemnly declare and proclaim, that if our enemies presume to execute their threats, or persist in their present career of barbarity, we will take such exemplary vengeance as shall deter others from like conduct. We appeal  to that God who searches the hearts of men, for the rectitude of our intentions; and, in His holy presence, we declare, that we are not moved by any light and hasty suggestion of anger and revenge, so through every possible change of fortune we will adhere to this our determination.

Done in Congress, by unanimous consent, the thirtieth day of October, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight.”

Signed Henry Laurens, President.


There are a few things to note when we read this text that was formative in securing our freedoms.

The Congressmen begin by applying Christian principles, as Jesus told us to love our enemies in Mathew 5:44. The following point was to state that they were children of the being who is the father of all. They rightly understood the truth that Jesus stated clearly in John 14:6 when Jesus stated that He was the only way. Jesus and the Congress did not openly assert in this document that all religions are the same. The congress stood united in the God of the Bible. This should be rightly understood because it is formative in the restructuring of our nation’s moral code. Different religions teach different things as what is right and true. While the altruistic intent is observed and noted in people of this view, the conclusion is inescapable. In a reduced and simple explanation, the books teach different things. Views should be based upon the respective books.

As the Congress goes through observations of their opposition, I find a great many similarities to our issues today. Most notably, of course, is the butchering of people. This is contained in much more detail when we read about their “wanton destruction of men.” The Mockery of religion is made by appealing to God while violating His commands, as if He was unaware of their evil intentions. As if man can place blinders on deity in a wildly absurd assertion for a theist. Finally, in this tremendously powerful series of statements a mockery of reason is noted, and I find this glaringly obvious today. Reasonable men and women see what is going on, yet don’t possess the influence to stop the senseless and glaringly horrific murders of Christians.

In the second to last paragraph the Congress stated that their opposition’s disposition was incorrigible and was not moved by acts of kindness. They then, in firm resolution, stated they had a duty to vindicate the rights of humanity. This is a Christian view in light of real world experience dealing with evil. Allow me to reduce this from macro to micro in an effort to illustrate the point. Let’s set the scene here. You are standing with your child when an armed man walks up and picks her up. He places a knife against her young throat and you plead with him to let the little girl go. Her blood begins to trickle down her neck from the pressure given by the knife, but it has yet to begin to cut deeply. What do you do? Your innocent little girl is at the mercy of an evil foe. The child that you have brought into the world is about to be killed in a bloody and gruesome fashion. If you or another person have the ability to intervene and successfully resolve this, is it right to do so? Yes, it is. It is right to protect this innocent child, and if the cost is the evil man’s life than that is the cost of his illegitimate aggression. Let us be clear who is the primary aggressor here, let us be clear who is the innocent person, and let us be clear that if the pleading doesn’t bring a peaceful resolution a choice must be made in favor of the person who did not contribute negatively to the situation. The aggressor chooses to place himself in that position, and the rightness of defense of the innocent becomes clearer. Are the recent religiously motivated murders of children different? This is the picture of illegitimate aggression, and subsequent action to cease it. It is vitally important for us to understand that inaction caused by our rightful disdain for violence is inadvertently, or perhaps intentionally, a support of illegitimate violence and the murder of innocents.

I want to encourage all who read this to seek clarity in the Word of God. Examine Jesus commanding us to preach the “Good News” to people and then simply walk away if they choose not to accept. In contrast examine recent events in forced religious conversions, or the consequences of not converting to them. Examine Jesus being lovingly forceful, and directly forceful with His words as recorded in the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Finally examine the fact that Jesus is the ultimate giver of Freedom from evil, and that assumes evil to exist. Seek this clarity, because if we don’t have clear thinking here, we are not impenetrable as a nation. Our strength will be non-existent if we don’t have the strength that is given by a solid moral understanding given by the God of this universe.

We must not incite or commit illegitimate violence as a person, religion and nation, but we must stand firm in the defense of freedoms that we have the privilege to possess in this life. We must seek and obtain moral clarity that allows us to clearly define what is needed at this point in time of the history of the world. We must allow this clarity to drive our fortitude and we must act in such a way that discourages all who will attack the innocent without legitimate cause.

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  1. The Continental Congress of the Unites States of America. Henry Laurens, 1778 A Manifesto, Page 477. Principles and Acts of the American Revolution, ed. Hezekiah Niles. Baltimore, Maryland: William Ogden Niles, 1822.

Thanks and God Bless,

Marc

Comparing ISIS and Christianity

The President’s remarks at the Prayer Breakfast have been quite popular on social media recently. He, in the eyes of many, compared the brutal recent actions of the Islamic State to the actions of Christians that occurred quite a while ago in world history. I am compelled, therefore, to visit this idea. However, I think it unwise to simply speak about atrocities that have been committed and then cast blame. I don’t see a successful conclusion to this worldwide problem being brought by trying to see who has done the most evil throughout the history of the world. Atrocities have been committed by people of all faiths throughout time. I do like that the President stated that we should not be on our high horse. He is right in this aspect. We should not be on our high horses, because we lose the view at ground level where we can learn what is really taking place. We should be clear here, this high horse idea has nothing to do with accurately judging and deciding what we should do about this significant threat to our God-given freedoms as created men and women. We should not be sitting on our hands when Christians are being murdered for their faith. I think our hands should be doing other things. This post is intended to show the difference between judging Christianity on the actions of Christians and judging Christianity on the actions of Christ. This delineation must be made for us to have any sort of moral clarity that is needed for clear thinking in times like these, and we need moral clarity now.

 

It is illogical and down right silly to judge Christ based upon the actions of people who claim His name. Who do we look at? The Christian, the Church, or Christ? Scripture teaches that we are to look at Him and not at each other. I think perhaps we should start doing that. A funny thing happens when we do this. We look at ourselves in the backdrop of who He is, and we conveniently have no horse to get upon for a lofty view. We can’t get on a high horse, because we are embarrassed to see who we really are. Christian doctrine teaches that all people have transgressed God. All of us. Every single one of us. This is the appeal of Christ. The curse that is placed upon us as transgressors has been bore by Him because of His love towards us.

 

When I was growing up, my pastor told a story from his childhood. His mother placed newly washed white sheets on the clothesline to dry, but got busy and forgot to take them down when they were dry. Snow came in the night, and when he awoke he saw the sheets against a new back drop. The sheets against the dirt, clay and grass were pristine white. Not a spot to be seen, no stains and perfect to behold. Then the next morning they were filthy. They were stained and dirty in his perception. The newly fallen, fresh snow had placed a new framework around what they were previously. It is the standard in which the sheets were deemed to be clean or dirty. This is Christ. We compare ourselves to others in such a way that we think we are clean and shiny, only to be filthy when compared to perfection embodied. Again nothing to do with a high horse, it is actually quite the opposite.   When we take this into consideration, I think there is a vast difference between one comparing themselves to others, and comparing themselves to God. We must then search for clues of how God would deal with this problem, and allow Him to be on His high horse where He rightfully belongs anyway.

 

I want to encourage anyone reading this post to not compare evil actions of people with evil actions of other people trying to find the less evil person. This is a ludicrous spiral into confusion and the lack of moral clarity that is needed so much at this time in our world. Let us place all men and women against the standard of Christ, ourselves included.

 

Our decisions in this time of war are to be grounded not in emotion, but in firm resolve rooted in absolute moral clarity.

 

Thanks,

Marc