It’s Pearl Harbor Day. With each passing year, this day seems to get less mention. It’s been 74 years, after all. And this generation has it’s own Pearl Harbor Day that gets plenty of attention each September.
After Pearl Harbor Day, it took less than four years to end the war. For those who lived through it, those were long, hard, awful years. But if our War on Terrorism had ended that quickly, it would have all been over in May of 2005. I don’t need to tell you it’s not all over yet. In a way, it seems like it’s just beginning. This is a very different kind of a war. We may never have another attack on our country as sickeningly massive as 9-11 (we pray to God we won’t), but it’s pretty clear to most everyone by now that whoever our president might be, whatever our strategy might be, and however aggressively we might pursue it, we will be hit again. It’s hard to play defense against terrorists who are happy to die for their cause.
I’ve been in Madras this weekend. I was going through my dad’s things. I found a “To Hell with Hitler” button. He and many of you were part of that struggle. Now we have this new struggle. It won’t be over soon. How are Christians to respond?
Just a few quick thoughts:
1) We won’t cower in fear. We will live our lives. The purpose of terrorism is terror. Terrorized people can behave like cowards. We won’t. We will trust in God.
2) We won’t demonize another religion. I’ll admit, I struggle with this one. As has been pointed out by others, radical Presbyterians have yet to be connected with a terrorist attack. Clearly we are dealing with a part of the Muslim faith that is dark and twisted. But it’s a small part. Islam is one of the great religions of the world. These are good people with very few exceptions. We must fight the urge that comes naturally in times like these to vilify whole groups of people.
3) We will support all those who are fighting this war. They are doing heroic work, risking their lives for our safety. We will never know how many lives have been saved because of them.
4) We will meet hate with love. No one could be elected president by saying that. I’m not sure I would vote for anyone campaigning on the platform of “loving the terrorists into submission”. Sadly, the ethic of Jesus and the requirements of national defense are often at odds. But as followers of Jesus, it’s pretty clear what we have to do. How many times did Jesus tell us, “love your enemies”? Quite a few. And, yes, Christians were praying for Hitler and for Tojo in that earlier era. Even evil people are people. God loves us all.