Following last weekend’s terrorism in Paris I’m postponing until next week what I had intended to be today’s article. In the wake of the Paris killings and on the heels of the conclusion of the series Islam’s Future in America, I feel compelled to offer these thoughts:
- Along with most Americans and others around the world, I decry and condemn these most recent acts of violence that took the lives of innocent people in a peaceful country.
- I’m thankful that at last some Muslim leaders finally spoke out against the violent acts of Islamic jihadist perpetrators of death and destruction. May their numbers increase!
- While mindful of the admonition of Jesus to love our enemies, I’m also keenly aware of biblical injunctions regarding the value of life and respect for authority: “Anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted and they will be punished. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good … sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.” (Rom. 13)
- In that light, I consider France’s military response under President François Hollande in bombing ISIS installations in Syria to be most appropriate. I also commend the many U.S. governors who have said they oppose allowing Syrian refugees into their states, at least for now.
An inscription by Emma Lazarus on the Statue of Liberty says: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a candidate for U.S. president, observed that no mention is made in the Statue of Liberty inscription of sending to our land your terrorists. I agree.
The Statue of Liberty words aptly describe many immigrants who have come to America, including my ancestors (and probably yours as well). Yet our ancestors came here seeking a better life to be lived under the umbrella of numerous freedoms. They came not plotting to destroy the lives of those whose freedoms they sought to adopt as their own.
While making every effort to communicate the love, grace, mercy and forgiveness of Christ to everyone, including those who worship Allah, we dare not be naïve regarding the agenda of those who are aptly and accurately called Islamic jihadists, such as those of al Qaeda, ISIS, etc.
Consider the traumatic events of 9-11, the recent explosion of airplanes from ISIS bombings, and the horrific events in Paris last weekend. Jesus said: “I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Lord, help us in that difficult endeavor!