Legality isn't a suicide pact

The challenge to our society, yea to Western Civilization itself, is to give ourselves permission to defend ourselves! Our enemies have structured their attacks upon us such that if we defend ourselves, they will accuse us of violating our sacred principles! Yet we find the answer in Scripture. With deference to our Jewish brothers and sisters, let us look in the New Testament. In Matthew 12 is the story of the Pharisees giving Jesus grief because his disciples are picking and eating heads of grain during the Sabbath. And again in Luke 10 recall the Parable of the Good Samaritan who assisted a man beaten and left for dead on the road to Jericho. A priest and a scribe did not, passing him by. In the first instance, the Pharisees believed that if only the law were adhered to, Israel would regain the blessings of God and be freed from Roman occupation: not an unworthy goal. In the parable, the priest and the Levite who passed the man by weren’t being callous: they felt they could not defile themselves according to the law: understandable from their point of view. But in both cases, the message of Jesus is that mercy takes precedence over the law: feeding the hungry and caring for the hurt should be the priority. Caring for people’s needs is more important than the vague concept of the law.

In today’s context, it’s not hard to imagine an ACLU activist speaking to a college audience. The speaker would regale his audience of the necessity to “defend our precious civil rights at all costs!” The youngsters in the audience would agree with determination and clenched fists. But do any of them grasp the reality of what this cost might be? Are we to believe that we mustn’t impinge on the civil rights of a half dozen young men in a van that causes a Geiger counter to peg, and thus put in jeopardy hundreds of thousands of lives?

As the answer was in Scripture, so must our answer be today. The lives of the hundreds of thousands must be more important than a vague legal concept. Some may respond “If we have to give up our freedoms, we might as well forget it!” But if such persons were to really think through what they are saying, they would have to agree that increased inconvenience is better than living in a society rolled back 1000 years to a medieval Islam!

Modern Tel Aviv is a good example. Every hotel and restaurant has its armed guards scanning for suicide bombers. Every nightclub has its metal detectors. Every highway has checkpoints. Everyone is alert and armed. The Israelis have learned to live day in and day out with the threat to their society. Yet they get on with their lives, get married, have children, and take vacations.

We too, unlike the frantic anti-Iraq progressive on CSPAN who pounded the podium exclaiming "We have to end this! End this!" -- are going too have to learn (as the Israelis have) to live with this threat -- for decades to come.