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Tuesday, January 22, 2002

MLK and Afghanistan. I was listening to the highlights of the King Day commemorations in Atlanta, where Coretta Scott King, MLK's widow, was plugging non-violence in all spheres, including international relations. I stopped to think why the King approach works in everyday life but not in the global sphere. There is a spiritual dichotomy between the ethnic cleansing of the Old Testament and the "turn the other cheek" of the New Testament. We have decided as a culture to have a legal system and not to "take the law into our own hands." Violence by a common citizen is only accepted in imminent defense of yourself or others. This stops feuds from boiling out of control and makes a generally safer place. However, pockets of violent evil occasionally arise, and must be met by collective force. In the Old Testament, when God pointed out evil and told them to kick butt and take names, the Israelites did just that, or faced dire consequences. In modern life, that means occasionally going to war against the evil-doers. Yet many people are leery of making the distinction of what is a sufficient evil to justify military action. "Who are we to judge? We have our own sins." Modern culture has taught us to be afraid of judgment and of judging others. Liberals are quick to point out Matthew 7:1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." leaving out the rest of the thought "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Jesus was guarding against hypocrisy, not judgment. We need to see evil where it exists and can start by seeking and knowing the goodness of God and then noting its antithesis. If you don't know good, you don't know evil. Insensitivity to evil and fear of judging is what make liberal theologians like the Archbishop of Wales such pathetic examples of their religion.

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