Critical Question: to Love or to Protect?Submitted by Khomar on Wed, 02/04/2009 - 14:17
I was originally going to post this as a response to another thread, but I decided it deserved its own thread.
Cheney brings up perhaps the most critical question of all and one that we all should carefully consider:
Protecting the country’s security is “a tough, mean, dirty, nasty business,” he said. “These are evil people. And we’re not going to win this fight by turning the other cheek.”
As a Christian, I try to follow Jesus' teaching to "love your neighbor as yourself", "love your enemies", and "turn the other cheek". I believe that this applies on the national level as well. These are concepts that many others (Christians and non-Christians alike) try to emulate.
But this philosophy seems at odds with the pragmatic views of our times. To follow the "love" philosophy means you take great risk on yourself in the hopes of eventually winning over your enemy with love. This is truly the most courageous approach, but is it foolhardy?
As I see it, to take the pragmatic approach is to risk becoming the very enemy you are trying to defeat. If we are to be as ruthless as the terrorists (assuming for a moment that we really are dealing with terrorists from outside our country) in order to protect ourselves from them, will we have not just become terrorists ourselves? If we cannot protect liberty and justice but must pervert them in the name of security, have we in fact "won"?
I think it comes down to the definition of the world "win". I fear that in order to "win" in the sense that Cheney is talking about will likely require killing over one billion Muslim people. But if we try to "win" by seeking peace and love, it may cost us dearly, but we can ultimately save millions if not billions of lives as we end the cycle of violence.
Am I being naive? Should we as a nation strive to love our enemies or protect our own? Where does the balance lie between?