We’ve all heard it, and it is a major theme of the Bush Administration and its many popular media outlets. What if somebody tries to HURT us? What if somebody kills some of us even? We can’t risk it. We just can’t risk it. The sacrifice of a little freedom, and of a little over-sensitive “morality”, is a small price to pay. We MUST be as near to perfectly secure as is humanly possible.
There are several arguments against that line of reasoning. Habakkuk, the ancient Hebrew prophet, sums one argument up in a very few lines (Habakkuk ch. 2).
9 “Woe to him who builds his realm by unjust gain
to set his nest on high,
to escape the clutches of ruin!
10 You have plotted the ruin of many peoples,
shaming your own house and forfeiting your life.
The prophet assumes that these people are inflicting vast damage and exploitation on nations far and near in order “to set his nest on high, to escape the clutches of ruin!” [For more elaboration of the point, see the rest of Habakkuk 2.]
Biblical morality, as Habakkuk makes clear, holds forth priorities other than security at any price – and methods other than oppression and desolation to achieve blessedness.
“Love God with all your heart.”
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
“It is better to give than to receive.”
“Greed … which is idolatry.”
“Thou shalt not kill” (which, after all, must mean SOMEthing).
“Seek first the kingdom (practical concerns) of God and all these things will be added unto you.”
One way lies blessing and life; the other way lies cursing, destruction and death. Let’s choose life.