[Milton-L] London

James Rovira jrovira at drew.edu
Fri Jul 8 13:29:25 EDT 2005

Thanks for the good response, Mr. Ng.  I think hatred is a legitimate 
initial response to something like this, but shouldn't be the basis of 
our actions nor a sustained emotional commitment.  I don't see western 
governments at present as being particularly Christian, but if they 
were, do the responsibilities of civil government change because it is 
run by Christians?  The basic premise that it is not the government's 
job to forgive wrongs still remains: Christian or not, I can't forgive 
wrongs committed against another person, and still have the 
responsibility to restrain evil by force should I be in the position of 
civil government.

We can apply this most immediately to the police: can a Christian police 
officer shoot a criminal to keep him or her from harming another person, 
or from harming the police officer?  For that matter, can a Christian 
police officer fulfill the duties of a police officer at all when they 
regularly involve coercion and suspicion, both of which are 
contradictory to the principle of Christian love?

If don't think a Christian can be a police officer, then Paul's pagan 
environment is what you desire in perpetuity: Christians should exclude 
themselves from all positions in civil government.  If you don't answer 
no, then I think we need to acknowledge at least the possibility of a 
different ethic for the Christian's personal life and the Christian in a 
position of civil authority.

What I see being condemned in the teachings of Christ is individual, 
personal retribution for personal wrongs suffered, and this seems to me 
to be pretty consistently repeated in Paul.  This has nothing to do with 
governmental retribution for wrongs committed, especially when that 
retribution is carried out within the context of law.

Thanks much, also, for Mr. Rumrich's observation.  Perhaps it's not 
desireable to feel so safe.

Jim Rovira

Ng, Su Fang wrote:
> Jim Rovira’s question about what governments should do is an interesting 
> and complex one.  But what governments should do is one question.  
> What I’m responding to is the notion that responding with hate is a good 
> thing.  The angrier and the more full of hatred for the terrorist we 
> become the more like them we become.  I disagree with Carol Barton.  
> When Jesus counseled turning the other cheek, he did mean precisely 
> walking back into the line of fire.  It was what he did after all.  He 
> allowed the Romans to crucify him, going deliberately back into 
> Jerusalem when he knew that he was going to be killed.  This is so 
> unpalatable a principle that all kinds of extra-biblical exceptions have 
> been made for it.  

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