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Stop! Stop!

I sat with a group of good Christian men last week and all but one had purchased a gun for protection and the last holdout other than me, was thinking about it.

Then, Liberty University’s president, Jerry Falwell Jr., stood before 10,000 of his students, urging them to get a permit and begin carrying their guns on campus. “If more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed.”

And students cheered!

Later, after conservative Christians expressed shock at Falwell’s advice, he backed off a bit and said, “I just want students to be prepared.” But the damage was done. Christians ought to be prepared to shoot Muslims before they shoot us. Really?

And then Donald Trump proposes we begin torturing captured terrorists for information and “kill all their families,” and stop all Muslims from entering the country! I’ve heard high profile Christians either support these “get tough” ideas, or not speak out boldly against them, and I want to shout, STOP!

I don’t care what political party you’re affiliated with, or none at all. This blog isn’t about politics. It’s purpose is to remind us of this truth; Christians live in the kingdom of God and Jesus is not only our king, but our spokesperson on all things moral and ethical.

Do any serious Christians actually think Jesus would be in favor of these approaches to evil? I’m all for taking reasonable steps to protect our families and our nation, but let’s get the problem of terrorists in perspective. We lost 14 men and women in San Bernardino. It was a terrible tragedy. But in the entire U.S. in 2015, “only” 19 Americans have died because of radical Islamist terrorists, including the 14 in California..  And that’s the worst year ever, since 9/11!  In fact, according to Global Research, of the 303 American deaths from political violence since 9/11, only 33 have come at the hands of Muslim-Americans. Less than three a year! Sadly, far more of these mass killers claimed to be Christians. So, let’s take a breath!

But even if .01% of Muslims in America were terrorists, what advice would Jesus give to his people today? It’s the same as it was 2,000 years ago.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies. And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” Matthew 5:43, 44a & 47

Martin Luther King said this; “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate.

In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil.” Romans 12:17a

I’m not a pacifist.  I’m all for destroying ISIS, but not because of what they’ll do to me, or my family. They are butchering innocent men, women and children in Syria and Iraq– Christians and Muslims! For Christians, our motivation for this war on terrorism ought to be first and foremost about justice – not self-protection. This is a righteous war by any test! But the war is against ISIS and other extremist groups, not your Muslim neighbors, even if one or two “bad Muslims”  manage to slip by and do us harm. “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

What can you do to STOP?

  1. Call a Muslim neighbor, soccer parent or co-worker right now; and apologize for Christians who have been unkind to good Muslims. “Jesus taught us better than that and they don’t speak for me.”

  2. Talk to your children about this. Teach them that as citizens of the kingdom of God, we will not return evil, with evil. Urge them to be exceptionally kind to any Muslim student in their school and respectful of any Muslim they come into contact with.

  3. When you’re out with other Christians and the talk turns to fear and hatred for Muslims in general, have the courage to speak up – change the tone of the conversation. Yes, there are dangerous Muslims out there and we should be vigilant – but I think we all know that it is far more likely that 99.9% of American Muslims are wonderful people and good citizens.

Do not be silent on this issue. Christians do not live with a spirit of fear, but look to God for their protection. Remind your children and your friends that Jesus expects better of us – because he does.

How following Jesus works in real life.

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