Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The weapons of our warfare

These are some comments I've read in Facebook recently that have, let's just say, fired me up:
Unless you are an absolute pacifist, ie you will not raise a hand to defend yourself or your loved ones, being merely "anti-war" is nothing but moral cowardice.

If you, (generically speaking), are a true pacifist I can respect that, but that is a choice one must make for themselves. I don't believe it is right or fair to impose pacifisim on others.

But if you believe *something* is worth fighting for then the argument is merely about *what* is worth fighting for. Assuming the morally superior tone in such an argument is nothing but vanity.
Nobody likes war.
I know, we'll follow the train of thought that says lets give to those that don't work, not only that we will reward them for not working!... Is [Lt. Gov Andre Bauer] wrong to want drug testing for recipients of assistance? No. I support helping those who need a hand up. But I am not in support of that hand as a way of life.... and you should not force those that earned to give up what they worked for... What I have been given, I also should not be forced to give up. If my family did well, and wished to pass that on to me, why should I be forced to give that up, or my family be forced to give their earnings up to someone else?
Let's just chop off their heads like they did to our guys.

Etc., etc., ad infinitum and on. And on.

And it gets weary. A year of fighting (in admittedly little ways, mostly remote from those who disagree) for health care reform, pointing out that most Western countries are doing it much more effectively and cheaper than us and still offering universal health care. And then hearing lie upon lie delivered not just by the monied interests and their political allies, but by otherwise fine, outstanding people.

I say, and deliberately so, "otherwise" because in this sense they are not fine, loving, generous, considerate, or in any manner outstanding. While one is fighting against the poor, against the afflicted, against the downtrodden, against the minority voices, against immigrants, then one has made a conscious - if temporary - decision to not be good, to not be moral, and it affects the person's own personhood - at least for that moment. It's one thing to declare that solutions are much more complex than what we could possibly hope for (True. But who contends this?). But to come up with so many reasons Why things can't be done when it's obvious that it is the only Right thing to do strikes me as not just being particularly obstructionist, but as fighting for the literally Wrong side.

In Surprised by Hope, New Testament scholar, author, pastor NT Wright likens the arguments that align themselves against social justice (in his case, Third World debt remission) to those offered against the end of the slave trade in Britain. I would add that, in the US, the same can be said for those opposed to abolition, the civil rights movement, and now health care reform (not to mention financial equity, unjust wars, pro-immigrant immigration reform, etc.).

It's against these types of arguments that I banged my head hard against this desk. And, much like a lady, it was once, twice, three times. I felt so cynical. And it was tearing me apart.

After getting some sleep, I was able to calm down and look in a more even-keeled way. I was no longer in vigilante mode and I started to regain my composure. I was ready for a more 'Christian' approach.

I won't say it's a discovery of mine, but I'm beginning to see four different yet beneficial ways to confront enemies and combat the lies. These four are not mutually exclusive, nor are they in any manner exhaustive (indeed, the choices here are awfully selective). Through the next week or so, I shall introduce these weapons. And I'd like to hear your thoughts on them.

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