Sunday, January 4, 2009

Does It Work?

It's pretty difficult to justify violence as a solution to the problems of humanity when you look at what Jesus said and did. Early followers of Jesus were pacifists. Early Christians refused to serve in the Roman military, I've read.

But I'm not a pacifist. During the days leading up to World War II the Protestant theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, advocated a forceful response to Nazism. He talked about the fact that love sometimes is working for justice. Taking on the people bent on destroying others. So I'm not a pacifist.

And still.

Israeli ground troops have moved into the Gaza Strip. Periodic rocket attacks by Hamas have been going on for months. I understand the Israeli response. What is a nation to do when it is under attack?

Those Palestinians, those fundamentalist Muslims, who refuse the right of Israel to exist are passionate but short-sighted. Israel has a right to exist. And the Palestinians have a right to develop a state that is ready to be a partner with the other nations in the Middle East -including Israel.

Here is the question that troubles me: will this military action in Gaza work? The option of killing those who wish us harm must, it seems to me, be a last option. Military attack against fundamentalists, or those who are convinced they are the victims of injustice, tends to inflame the problem. Our force tends to create more enemies and more violence.

Instead of non-violent answers being the product of deluded idealists perhaps it should be considered because they can work. What would happen if Israel poured medical resources into Gaza? What would happen if Israel made sure every Palestinian child had a good education and proper nutrition?

So jets are flying and tanks are rolling. I am praying.

And I keep asking myself the question, "Will this work?"

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