Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How We Could Have Fixed the Charlie Hebdo Mess

The shootings at the office of Charlie Hebdo and the subsequent display of “free speech” hypocrisy by the political glitterati have offered yet more evidence that government as an institution not only does not work, but cannot work to bring justice and peace to society.
The secularism that guides the glitterati is bankrupt to the core because it is bankrupt at the core. With no good god in charge of the world, the universe is only billions of years of no life anywhere in an area of billions of light years of nothing in every direction, followed by billions of years of all known life following the “might makes right” law of the jungle.
Then, out of nowhere, presto! Lo! and Behold! “Liberal democracy” springs on the scene and suddenly life has meaning and right and wrong are clearly defined by—wait for it—the high and mighty.
Unfortunately, the best minds in the universe have come up against a problem that their ethical system cannot handle: What to do with a publication that offends not only those who vote but those who aren’t afraid to kill and die for what they believe?
“There is no absolute right and wrong,” say the glitterati, so Islam and Christianity are dead in the water and Charlie Hebdo is the kind of free speech that needs to be protected. Yet when it comes to depicting blacks, Jews, and women with the élan, if that’s the word, used by Charlie Hebdo, not only the wrongheadedness of insulting the oppressed (as though Muslims and Christians aren’t oppressed) but the crudity of the insults is reprehensible.
So the glitterati defend Charlie Hebdo’s crudity in regard to Muslims and says nothing when Charlie fires a staffer over an email that “might”—might!—be considered anti-Semitic. Would they have been as silent if the staffer had been fired for being gay?
The two main corollaries of the “might makes right” mentality that rules the polical world are, “Possession is 90% of the law” and “It’s yours, if you can keep it.” It would appear that when it came to an office free of mortal danger, Charlie couldn’t keep it—not even when supposedly protected by the gendarmerie.
Should a police force paid out of taxes on Muslims be charged with protecting the likes of Charlie Hebdo? More to the point, my conservative evangelical friend, should we in Jesus’ name support a system that would tax Muslims to pay for gendarmes to protect Charlie? Non? I’m glad we agree on something.
On the other hand, should we in Jesus’ name support a government that would shut Charlie’s doors? Today Charlie, tomorrow the Quill Pig, next year your church. Do you want to go that way?
Maybe we could have a gendarmerie that protects only “good people” and doesn’t protect the likes of Charlie. Do I need to spell out the legislative and judicial mess that would be?
You knew I would ask this: How about if we don’t have a gendarmerie at all, and everyone is free to buy the best protection he can afford? How would that work? I’m glad you asked.
I can’t say enough good about the Samaritan Ministries approach to health care, and their model comes across again as the best solution to the problem of protecting obnoxious people.
Such a system would require those protected to be members in good standing of Bible-believing churches and to conform to certain lifestyle requirements, one of which would certainly be to treat Muslims with respect: “I’m sorry, sir, but if you publish that cartoon, we will have to terminate your membership.”
(As we believe in sharing the message of Jesus with all people but many Muslims consider evangelism a capital offense, there would probably be a rider, possibly optional, providing those covered under it with negotiation services if they run afoul of a militant Muslim polity.)
At least at first, a Samaritan-type agency would be small, and the pool of prospective members would be a small portion of the population. But as we have much in common with Muslims and other nonbelievers—the desire for safe streets and houses, efficient transportation, and good education and healthcare, for starters—I would expect a Samaritan-type protection agency to be looking proactively for ways to make peace and cooperate with our neighbors in those areas, most likely be helping them start Samaritan-type agencies that meet their needs. In areas where we disagree—abortion and homosexuality come to mind—I for one would want to join an agency that was content to let the dead bury their own dead.
The goal, of course, would be for such an agency to be part of the discipleship process. It would present incentives for its members that match what Jesus expects of them in the way of character development. One would hope that as the members grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus, or at least act the part, people outside the fold would want to become part of it.
I don’t see that the incentives presented by the state line up with Jesus’ goals for his people.
It could be that Charlie Hebdo would be popular enough that it could afford its own protection service, or one that says, and truly means, “I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” In that case, end of problem.
But if not, Charlie would have to sign on with a group that would probably include customers who didn’t want to be tarred with his brush. Or with which offended Muslims could negotiate and expect satisfactory results short of bloodshed and martyrdom.
This world will never be perfect, but I think God wants his people to make Jesus attractive by making it much better than it is.
Dear conservative evangelical friend, we see more evidence every day that the state—those with power making the rules for those without it—is unable to fulfill even the least of the duties it arrogates to itself. It will collapse eventually. If we are to see with “deeds of love and mercy the heavenly kingdom [come]” after the system collapses, we need to have the leadership mentality in place before the collapse. Christian leadership is servanthood, the exact opposite of what the political glitterati mean by “service” (whether “in office” or in some armed agency). As much as it lies within us, let us withdraw our support from the state and build systems for which the world will glorify our Father in heaven.

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