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
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.
Ng, Su Fang wrote:
> Jim Roviras question about what governments should do is an interesting
> and complex one. But what governments should do is one question.
> What Im 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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