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Monday, July 28, 2014

A Christian defense of terrorism :(

Today I saw what seemed like a pretty creepy (Christian) defense of terrorism at CIF Belief ... If we can have just war, why not just terrorism? by Anglican priest, Giles Fraser. I just wanted to make a few comments about it ....

Fraser begins by writing that it's hard to define terrorism because states and political entities don't want their acts to fall under that definition ....

[T]here is no internationally agreed definition [of terrorism] ... the Israelis won’t have any definition that would make them terrorists for bombing old people’s homes in Gaza, and West Bank Palestinians won’t have any definition that will make them terrorists for fighting back against occupation with petrol bombs.

Aside from the biased way this is presented, it's also misleading ... there *is* a generally accepted definition of terrorism: the promotion of terror through the deliberate targeting of civilians. Read what Human Rights Watch said on the subject - Gaza: Palestinian Rockets Unlawfully Targeted Israeli Civilians. Here's just a bit of that longer article ... Under international humanitarian law, or the laws of war, civilians and civilian structures may not be subject to deliberate attacks or attacks that do not discriminate between civilians and military targets. Anyone who commits serious laws-of-war violations intentionally or recklessly is responsible for war crimes.

Fraser goes on ...

I took part in the Moral Maze recently on Radio 4 and was howled at for suggesting that there could be a moral right of resistance to oppression. And the suggestion was made that, as a priest, I ought to take no such line. The weird thing about this is that Christianity has thought a great deal about the idea of just resistance. The Reformation, for instance, saw a flurry of moral justifications for resistance to the state, when that state is seeking to impose on its subjects its own particular understanding of religious faith. In 1574, for example, Theodore Beza published his The Right of Magistrates in which he affirmed the right of resistance – and violent resistance in the final instance – to state tyranny .... Oliver Cromwell, for instance, would almost certainly be a terrorist. Come to think of it, so too would Moses and his famous (and very violent) run-in with the Egyptian state. And both of these were “religiously inspired”. If we can have just war, why not just terrorism?

First, we are not talking about "resistance to oppression" here, we're talking about terrorism .... imagine the difference between Martin Luther King's or Gandhi's or the Tibetan monks' resistance to oppression and Hamas shooting rockets at civilians.

Second, there's no way to spin this conflict as resistance to religious persecution. Even if it were that kind of conflict, there's no Christian justification for targeting and killing innocent people to get what you want, no matter how good what you want is .... if that was the case, Jesus would probably have joined the zealots, not told Peter to put down his sword.

Here's a short 2012 video from Human Rights Watch (from the page linked to above) ...


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