I saw a Facebook post that claims that in the light of the beheading of U. S. journalist James Foley our only option is to hunt down and kill every one of them as soon as possible.
I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a pacifist. I believe acts of violence and even war can be justified. On the other hand, I think they rarely are. The question is whether we’ll really get the results we intend.
I’m human. I’d like the people who did this to pay for it. I would have no problem condemning the perpetrators to death in a court of law.
The question is whether another war is actually going to make anything better. Will it make less people die? Will it reduce the number of fanatics in the world? Will it mean that we won’t see another American beheaded in some other place at some other time?
I hope we think about that.
But more importantly, why did the killing of one American make this sort of violence our only option, but the killing of hundreds of Iraqis did not. Is there a difference in the value of these various lives?
I pray that we, as Christians, will try to apply grace to this situation, to look on everyone, even those committing atrocities, as souls for whom Christ died. I hope as a nation that we will consider looking further forward in time and more broadly in space before we act to solve one problem by creating dozens of others.
There may be a military option. The state bears a modern sword. Were I still in the military, I would be prepared to participate, to help wield it. But let’s look at the results of our previous military efforts before we move too quickly and ineffectively.