Preventative Murder

Email Print


Saturday night
as I watched the debates on ABC, I was struck by many things including
the prescience of Ron Paul’s monetary policy, the ignorance of Fred
Thompson to the idea that printing money devalues the currency,
the motivation by many candidates to dabble with symptoms while
not addressing root causes, and the overall lip-service which the
candidates seem to pay to the constitution. However, the greatest
and most frightening impression which I received while trying to
understand the candidates was that every one of them except for
Paul support preventative murder. How on earth could I make such
a bold and possibly slanderous claim? I’m not making the claim,
the candidates stated it themselves. Let me try to elucidate what
these candidates were saying.

Their first
point was that there exists in the world a form of Islam that motivates
violent radical jihad. This is a reasonable and rather well documented
claim. There have been radical Muslims interviewed who have said
as much. It is not that the candidates were painting all Muslims
as such, but they were pointing to the existence of a dispersed
world-wide group of terrorists with said motivation. Fine, I accept

Their second
point was that Americans are in grave danger because of these Jihadists.
In other words, if we do not eliminate the threat, that Jihadists
will come here and kill us just as they did on 9/11. Now, here I
think there is and there was a plethora of information absent from
the discussion; information of which Ron Paul vehemently tried to
remind the other candidates. We have subsidized dictators, bombed
any opposition, murdered democratically elected officials, trained
foreigners in our secret torture practices, but alas I diverge from
the point. Though there is a motivation by Islamic terrorists to
kill us, that motivation is severely exacerbated by our arrogant
meddling in foreign affairs. Sure, there are some who would want
to kill us anyway, but the number would be far less. Nevertheless,
let’s say for the sake of argument that America is innocent and
these people want to kill us solely for the sake of radical Islam.
Let’s say the five candidates on the stage last night were correct
and Ron Paul wrong. Even if this was the case, let’s be painfully
clear about the implications of what they were saying.

Their third
point was that we need to kill Jihadists. Of course they didn’t
say this so blatantly, but I wish they would have. They euphemistically
stated that we need to “eliminate the threat of Islamic terrorism.”
Let’s remove the sugar-coating and see that they are really saying,
“we need to kill people before they kill us.”

Now, before
we develop the distinction between preventative murder and self-defense,
let me say this: I am all for a preemptive strike if by preemptive
we properly mean attacking an advancing army in self-defense. If
there is a group of people on my plane with box cutters trying to
hijack, I am going to do what I can to stop them. If there is an
advancing naval fleet, we should stop them. This is what preemptive
means. To preempt is to quickly react to someone who has already
launched a threat. Then comes the question, is the general statement
by a Jihadist that they want to kill Christians or remove Israel
from the map a reason for military preemption? Well, what are we
preempting when we act against this threat? We are essentially preempting
a thought or a concept. Terrorism is a concept, and I find it metaphysically
difficult to make a military preemptive strike against a concept.
What you can try to do against the concept of Jihad is to prevent
it by killing or jailing the one that believes in said philosophy,
but ironically, and to our own peril as Ron Paul would warn, killing
an individual who believes such a concept does nothing but kill
that individual and consequently multiply the concept. You don’t
kill terrorism by killing terrorists; you kill terrorism with philosophical
bullets and theoretical bombs — a.k.a. the gospel. Our “preemptive”
strike against Iraq is a peculiar and convenient error of nomenclature
for we are not waging a preemptive war, rather we are waging a preventative

This leads
me to my initial point. A preventative war against radical Islam
is premeditated murder. We are planning, and are electing officials
who are planning, the deaths of those who have done nothing but
threaten us. There is no advancing army. There are no suicide bombers
in our midst — except those who are rightfully defending their own
soil against our insurgents (by the way I have nothing but respect
for our troops, and I believe I am showing them utmost honor by
elucidating our grave philosophical and moral errata). We are essentially
planning the deaths of human beings created in the image of God
simply because of what they believe. This is premeditated murder.
“But their beliefs are dangerous to us!” True, but ask yourself
this question. What if a person in your neighborhood called you
and said they were going to kill you. Do you think you have a right
under the Constitution and under a Biblical ideal to go to their
house and blow up both them and their family? Sure, you would heighten
your defenses, you might call the police, you might buy a gun, and
on the whole you would be much more careful. However, to go to their
house and kill them before they can get to you is murder. Now, if
they come to your home and threaten your family and you kill in
defense, this would be akin to a preemptive strike. However, we
are engaging in nothing less than preventative murder in Iraq.

A word to those
Christians who may have a problem with what I’m writing. The main
argument I’ve heard against my philosophy is that it puts our families
in danger. My response is that it is far more dangerous to engage
in an activity such as preventative murder which dishonors and disobeys
almighty God. The radical Muslim is no threat to those who trust
in the God who “marks of the heavens with the span of His hand.”
Jihad is no threat to those who believe that “to live is Christ
and to die is gain.” If the evangelical church at large continues
to support this activity they have engaged in one of the greatest
moral blunders in church history. To the degree that the church
participates and supports this morality of preventative war is the
degree to which they disobey God, and more tragically it is the
degree to which they doubt the providence and sovereignty of the
One they claim to trust. It is definitely dangerous to wait until
someone is actually attacking us before defending ourselves, but
since when do we allow danger and safety to define our morality?
We are bound to obey almighty God be it safe or dangerous, and in
the words of Martin Luther, “the body they may kill, God’s truth
abideth still, His kingdom is forever.”

8, 2008

Rondeau [send him
] is a theological student at Southeastern Baptist Theological

Email Print