NO ideology is worth killing for

Today, the man who killed people at a Planned Parenthood clinic acknowledged that he did and that he’d do it again. “He’s a warrior for the babies”.

Years ago, after 9/11, Bill Mahr said he had to admire the courage of these terrorists to do their own fighting and stand up for what they believe in.

Donald Trump continues to insult people on a daily basis and people like what he’s saying  — ok, maybe not like what he’s saying, but the fact that he does — because at least he’s being straightforward.

I’ve never read it, but I understand that Mein Kampf laid out Hiter’s plans long before he implemented them.

All of these incidents confuse bravery with morality. ‘It’s important to stand up for your beliefs”. “It’s important to act on them”, we think. In a vacuum, I think that’s true — or at least it sounds true. In any case, we don’t live in a vacuum.

I frequently tell clients that the Unibomber could be as crazy as he wanted… as long as he remained in his little shack in the woods, he was ok with me. The instant, however, he began dealing with other people based on his beliefs, that’s when it became an issue.

Here’s why: we all have the right to our own thoughts and feelings. We have the right to debate and engage and learn from them — either in our head or with others.  Actions in community — defined here as two or more people — are different, however.

This will be a travesty to many of my pastoral colleagues, but I don’t agree with Bonhoeffer attempting to kill Hitler. I don’t think it makes him brave. I think it makes him a man who ran out of ideas.

In these past few days, I have just been overwhelmed by the news — Trump vs. Muslims, Cops vs. Citizens, Black vs. White. The list of people who are mad at each other, hate each other,  or hurting each other grows longer every day.

The only thing I can say that makes any sense at all in these times is “think what you like, but no ideology is worth someone else’s life. Your life, perhaps, but no one else’s. If you have a religion or a philosophy that says you should kill another person, it is not a legitimate religion or philosophy.  Please hear this:  I don’t think Hitler had the right to kill Bonhoffer either. As a Christian, you believe that this life is not eternal, and that death is not permanent. Because of that, you have the right to connect your principles with your body, and become a martyr. It’s your life. You can do with it what you want —  provided you don’t hurt someone else. You can give it up for a cause. You can make your death have meaning, if that’s what you choose to do. But no amount of anything you do can make the death of someone else have meaning — to them their families. Destruction destroys (or attempts to destroy) all meaning in life, No one has that right.

So, no more patients killed in the name of religion, no more children killed for political reasons, no “wilding” for your gang, no picking on gays because you think the Bible tells you it’s bad. It’s not your life. No more killing people because they look like criminals. Just no more.

Peace,

 

John

 

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