Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. I mostly avoided the interwebs simply because I didn’t want to be bombarded with all the graphics and “never forget” posts that are part and parcel to the uber-nationalism that is on display every year.
While there were plenty of appropriate reflections, prayers, word and actions of support for those who lost loved ones, there were others that took the opportunity to promote imperialism and remind us that the ‘other’ is our enemy that must be destroyed.
You see, Tooley seems to have an issue with pacifists, confusing pacifism with passivity, as many do. In a post titled “Churches, Pacifism, and 9-11“, Tooley takes his disdain for pacifism, and churches and denominations (particularly the United Methodist Church) that preach pacifism, up a notch or forty.
He seems to be particularly incensed that a prayer posted on the Sojourners website, saying:
The prayer embodies the Religious Left/Evangelical Left response to aggression: mournful self-reflection, celebrating communal sympathy, but not naming the evil or suggesting any meaningful response to it, much less how to deter its recurrence.
Oh, but wait, it gets better. Instead of a prayer for all of those affected by the violence of that day, and in the wars that followed, Tooley makes his suggestion for a more “comprehensive prayer”.
A more comprehensive prayer would thank the thousands of U.S. service personnel, plus British and other Allied personnel, who fought al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other Islamist insurgents. At the top of that list would be the U.S. Navy Seal team who liquidated Osama bin Laden. Some of those heroes were later killed by a Taliban rocket. It would also thank the security services in our country and elsewhere who have helped to prevent the widely anticipated recurrence of massive terror attacks on America.
More provocatively, how about prayers of thanks for guards and interrogators at Guantanamo and elsewhere who gleaned invaluable intelligence, saved countless innocent lives, and in thanks were widely smeared as torturers and fiends?
Yes, Tooley wants you to offer prayers of thanks to those that have tortured prisoners in Gitmo because doing so has ‘kept us safe’.
When one of Jesus’ followers attacked the ‘evil’ Romans coming to arrest Jesus, how did Christ respond?
“Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. – Matthew 26:52
When teaching about justice, what did Christ say?
“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. – Matthew 5:38-40
Never mind that whole “love and pray for your enemies” thing starting in Matthew 5:44.
Even Paul, in Romans 12, has something to say:
Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
“I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.
Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”
Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
Perhaps someone should remind Tooley what Jesus actually said. While they’re at it, they can teach them that pacifism does not equal passivity.
Pacifism is refusing to believe in a system that uses the tools of violence and death to bring about ‘justice’ for us over them.
Pacifism is believing in a better way, in the dignity of ALL people, that nobody is less deserving simply because they are from a different land or have a different faith.
It’s Abraham Lincoln that said:
Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?
- The Wishful Thinking of the Neo-Anabaptists: could government avoid using the sword? (matthewtuininga.wordpress.com)