Love Thy Enemy

by | Feb 1, 2004 | Religion

I quote from a bumpersticker I recently saw on a car covered (or I should say, littered) with anti-Iraq-war/pro-Howard Dean stickers: “When Jesus said love your enemies, he probably meant: don’t kill them.” This is undoubtedly true. Loving your enemies is a core principle of Christianity–and, many would argue, the general Judeo-Christian approach to morality […]

I quote from a bumpersticker I recently saw on a car covered (or I should say, littered) with anti-Iraq-war/pro-Howard Dean stickers:

“When Jesus said love your enemies, he probably meant: don’t kill them.”

This is undoubtedly true.

Loving your enemies is a core principle of Christianity–and, many would argue, the general Judeo-Christian approach to morality that all of our spiritual and political leaders seek to uphold.

How, then, does this principle apply to Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden? Are we supposed to love them–and, if so, then by what right do we seek to hold them in prison or kill them? These actions do not constitute loving. Are we supposed to love snipers and rapists and people who blow up federal office buildings with babies in them? What kind of morality is that?

George W. Bush is a strong and sincere proponent of Christianity, more than any President since Jimmy Carter. He is also a strong proponent of using military force to attack–even pre-emptively attack–our enemies. Notice that I say attack, not love.

Bush must be a man in deep conflict. But he’s no aberration. He is the perfect representative of our society. In his contradictions, he speaks and acts for the great majority. Many of us don’t want to be angry or hateful towards our enemies–but many of us still do want to kill them.

Many people sense this contradiction but are unwilling or unable, as of yet, to articulate it. The consequence of this widespread refusal to focus is the candidacy of Howard Dean, a man who is unafraid to state where he stands on the issue of war: he’s always against it, at least if it serves the interest of the United States.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m totally in favor of killing all of our terrorist enemies, with even more spirit and force than President Bush has so far. If you think 9/11 is the last (or worst) terrorism on American soil that we’re ever going to see, you are a fool. But what about those of you out there who applaud the Judeo-Christian approach to morality while supporting President Bush’s war efforts? How do you sleep at night?

Isn’t it time to question the very ethical foundations of our society–while that society is still standing?

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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