Friday, April 17, 2009

May I Have Another: A Tale Of Two Ideologies

One of the tenets of Christianity is the practice of turning the other cheek when struck by thine enemy. Often taken literally - and rightly so - it is symbolic of the peaceful resolution of conflict, but its interpretation often ends with the offering of the cheek, leaving much to speculation. Some believe it is a sign of unwillingness to combat evil, preferring instead to allow evil its path unabated with God's own wrath as just reward. I have a different take on the meaning. We'll get to that in a bit.

First, I find it incredibly ironic that those who are so quick to capitulate to evil intent are also the variety who do not subscribe much to Scriptures, fighting every step of the way to rid society of every mention of God and religion. They will march, they will shout, and they will even clash with law enforcement when police attempt to maintain order in the midst of mayhem caused by a concerted demand to cease the violence (read, war). So righteous are these liberal protesters in their insistence on peace that they will fight their own brethren to achieve it, never stopping to consider that their true enemies patiently await the outcome so they can strike us all. Nor do they ever seem to question the violence employed on their behalf in the hopes of stopping...violence.

Folklore and more modern media are rife with examples of righteous Christian vengeance and rage, a point that has been used by the left for the accusation of hypocrisy when violence is used. There was a movie about a priest in a gang-controlled neighborhood who did everything he could to use reason and God's love to put a halt to the brutal acts perpetrated by the gang, reaching out to the gang members, offering the other cheek, only to be rebuked time and time again. The movie climaxed in a scene in which the priest rolled up his sleeves and beat the gang leader like a drum. Problem solved, the gang fled and the priest offered an Act of Contrition.

Anyone who is old enough to remember the old western television show Gunsmoke is no doubt familiar with the concept of limited appeasement. In the show, Marshall Matt Dillon always tried to offer the weekly outlaws a way out with honor, usually involving leaving town alive. Most times, he wound up in a shootout with one of the bad guys, resulting in the regrettable death of said bad guy and a look of sad remorse on Dillon's face.

Those are but two examples of offering the other cheek in hypothetical fashion, rather than the literal interpretation. It is for this reason that I believe that presenting the other cheek is a final attempt at offering redemption for the offender while not making it expressly clear that not accepting the overture will result in a serious beating. Perhaps we should make that point clearer to our enemies, though we still have the violence-prone left demanding nothing short of complete acquiescence.

I often wonder how a group like Not In Our Name or Code Pink would react to Islamofascists in the moments before their brutal deaths. Would they protest physically like they do with the United States Marine Corps? Would they smash camels as though they were police cruisers? Would they hang Muhammed in effigy as they have George W. Bush?

Or in a truly pacifist -while not Christian, Someone forbid - fashion, would they offer the other side of their necks when the blade could not quite get through the spine?

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