Recently some of the feeds to which I subscribe of Facebook have related stories of unimaginable cruelty to animals.
Don't worry, I won't describe them.
But it does beg the question - where does one GO with this? With viciousness rampant - and posted by the perpetrators on Youtube - what does one DO?
And these individuals...they are not even a hairsbreadth away from doing these things to humans. They target animals - pets - because the penalties are small.
Jesus seemed to preach nonviolence, and forbearance - turning the other cheek, and telling Peter to drop the sword.lest he die by it.
But He didn't tell the centurion to leave the army, after He'd healed the guy's servant.
And He was quite specific on His feelings about those who would abuse the innocent. Better for them to have a millstone tied around their neck, and be tossed into the ocean, than what they've got waiting.
It's hard, in our society, to feel that we should answer viciousness with violence. We should be past that, right?
We should be able to talk to these people.
We should be able to forgive.
I think that one of the signs of a just and civilized person is knowing where, when, and how to apply violent acts to protect what's worth protecting. Yes, it calls for moral judgement.
But nonviolence on principle is a moral judgement as well. It's saying, "My moral position is more important than preventing unacceptable behavior. I hold myself above this, and will dispassionately watch the anguish caused by the behavior I chose not to prevent."
Think that's harsh?
Our government did it. In Rwanda, and Somalia, and Darfur. In Cambodia, and East Timor.
Our guiding principle was'self-determination'.
But it was a bit hard to hear over the screams.