The Philosophy of Exception and CompromiseI was watching the news the other night. A woman from the “left coast,” from the state of Washington or California (what’s the difference?), was interviewed on her stand that military recruiters should NOT be allowed on ANY school campus. Her final comment was delivered smugly, in that self-righteous, all-knowing way that only those who feel they possess perfect moral superiority can display. What did she say? Just this: “Some things are worth dying for, but NOTHING is worth killing for.” I suppose it’s a cliché, but not to me, since I’ve never heard it said before.
I was outraged. After shaking my head over her imbecility, I searched my soul for the reason I felt that way. After all, I AM a Christian, and going by Christ’s teachings, that is EXACTLY what I am supposed to believe too. So why don’t I?
But is my ostensible lack of moral clarity limited to ONLY me, and people like me? I will bet you a month of Sunday chicken dinners that this same liberal woman is just as outraged by MY belief that no fetus should be aborted. To me, it’s murder—the killing of an unborn human being. She would argue that a fetus is not yet REALLY a human, and so aborting it is not REALLY killing. Even if she doesn’t admit it, she’s making a moral exception, a compromise based on expedience (the so-called rights of a woman to “control” her bodily functions, or so the argument goes).
Unless you happen to be one of the few “pagan conservatives” out there, most Christian conservatives are FOR the death penalty. This also is against the teachings of Jesus, yet we reconcile our beliefs to include the rightness of putting to death another human being. I can’t imagine Jesus EVER allowing for the correctness of the killing of one human by another regardless of the misdeed. I challenge anyone to “spin” that out of The New Testament. You have to get into The Old Testament to justify putting someone to death. Yet our American, Christian-based culture says it is an appropriate thing for society to do--to keep it safe from murderers, and as a proper means to exact justice for abhorrent crimes, like murder. Again, we ignore our professed religious beliefs out of our need for societal convenience.
Jesus says to turn the other cheek; nevertheless, I was instilled with the completely opposite concept of “standing up and defending myself.” Our culture tells us we should defend our loved ones and, if necessary, ourselves. In other words, fighting is an acceptable method of solving conflict, IF we are not given a choice in the matter. The problem is that we have to once again go to The Old Testament to find passages to allow us to ethically do it. The only violence I can think of, perpetrated by Jesus, was when he whipped and drove the moneychangers from the temple. But in this instance, it seems that he was acting more as the direct representative of HIS Father. In effect, he was acting AS God, and no Christian would dare question Jesus’ credentials to do that. In effect—“Do as I say, NOT as I do!”
Let’s get back to the left coast liberal lady who says there is NOTHING worth killing for. Is she right? Maybe she is perfectly right from a strictly moral perspective, AND, I believe she has a RIGHT to say so. Thousands of men have died (and have KILLED) to give her that right. But were we ALL to follow HER precept, she would NOT have the ability to say it, only the ability to THINK it.
Possibly, we can find some way to die for our freedom WITHOUT killing for it. Would that meet HER standards? She didn’t say we aren’t allowed to FIGHT; it’s ONLY the killing she objects to. How about this—we can throw ourselves bodily at our enemies, talking and beseeching the whole time as they strike us down, so SHE can smugly declare her absurdities. We could drown and choke them in our blood, and make them uncomfortable under the weight of our dead bodies, until THEY decide they have had enough, and surrender. If we change the country’s military strategy in that way to suit her kind’s moral imperatives, would she then allow military recruiters access to schools? Would she really rather have us be an army of suicide fighters? That is exactly what we must become to comply with HER impractical rules of engagement—fighting and dying WITHOUT killing.
This wholly pacifistic woman enjoys a life of liberty and free speech, because men have killed; and whether she likes it or not, they have done so FOR her. I wonder if she has ever looked at it that way? I doubt it. As for me—I’ve gotten used to the idea that my way of life, that the ways of my society, do not always square with my Christianity. As a Catholic, I hope God will forgive me my prideful insistence on the necessity of fighting and KILLING, if necessary, for my life, for my family, and for our continued freedoms.