Monday, October 12, 2015

7 Steps to Stopping the Senseless Violence

7)  Without exception, look upon all people with a merciful gaze.  "For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you" (Mt 7:2).  We know how much mercy means to us when we receive it, so shouldn't we be more willing to show it?

6)  Start seeing all violence as senseless.  A spade is still a spade, and violence is still violence, even if it serves my self-interest or appeases my thirst for vengeance.  Christ exhorts us to resist violence non-violently, in order to break the vicious cycle.

5)  Stop dissembling about our own forms of domestic and international violence.  "Death with dignity" and "assisted" suicide still involve killing, so that others no longer need to act with mercy; "collateral damage" still means the murder of innocent civilians; the "termination of an unwanted pregnancy" still entails the elimination of an unborn child of God.

4)  Reject state sponsored assassinations, torture, and preemptive military strikes.  If we cannot ourselves resist such crimes against humanity, how can we smugly condemn other nations or terrorist groups from doing the same to us?

3)  End the use of the death penalty.  If it is OK for the government to solve problems by resorting to capital punishment, even when bloodless means of protecting citizens clearly exist, then who is to tell civilians that they shouldn't do the same?  "You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God" (Mic 6:8).

2)  Create meaningful compromise about rights which are meaningless without restrictions.  Just as the right to bear arms implies reasonable limits (machine guns, grenade throwers, nuclear weapons?!), so the right to privacy as the basis for legalized abortion implies a limit when another person's privacy is at stake.  Opponents of each want to impose reasonable restrictions on the other, so why not a political compromise as a step toward national healing?

1)  Start practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.  If we were busier feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, we would have fewer enemies; if we bore wrongs more patiently and prayed for the living and the dead, we would become the peacemakers which the world wearily awaits.