Serbian Orthodox Church
Talk Given by Attorney Linda Chambers:
Standing Up For Good Against Evil
May 7, 2011
This is a particularly relevant topic in light of the recent actions of our troops
in Pakistan which resulted in the death of one of the most evil men to have lived,
Osama bin Laden. Under the guise of religious righteousness, bin Laden used his
intelligence, his money and his influence to start a chain of events that caused
the deaths of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children from nations all
over the world. Despite knowledge that a coalition of nations was seeking his capture,
the country of Pakistan deliberately hid this man or, at the very least, turned its
head to his presence in its midst. Did the Pakistanis who knew where he was hiding
have a duty to notify the coalition of his location? Do we, as Christians, have a
duty to act against evil?
The American legal system doesn’t impose a duty on people to intervene if they
observe a crime. Our society has produced instance after instance of citizens walking
away from a fellow citizen who is under attack by an aggressor without making an effort
to notify authorities. As an assistant district attorney, I’ve encountered witnesses
who become angry when asked to testify, complaining that their participation is
inconvenient or annoying. We have viewed video proof of people who step over a person
in distress and continue on their way. Although there is no legal duty to help those
in need, Christians have a moral duty to promote that which is good.
In the Gospel of Luke, a lawyer asks Jesus to tell him what he must do to inherit
eternal life. Jesus asked him if he knew what was written in the law. The lawyer
answered that, not only must one love God with all your heart and soul and strength
and mind, one must love your neighbor as yourself. Even though Jesus confirmed that
the lawyer had answered correctly, the lawyer went further to ask, “Who is my neighbor?”
Jesus answered in the parable of the Good Samaritan who stopped to help an injured man
after a priest and a Hebrew passed him by. It is noteworthy to recognize that Samaritans
and Jews hated each other during that point in history, making the compassion of the
Samaritan even more extraordinary. Jesus then asked the lawyer who of the three was
neighbor to the fallen man and the lawyer saw that it was the Samaritan who showed mercy.
Jesus said, “Go, and thou do likewise.”
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines evil as the fact of suffering, misfortune and
wrongdoing; something that brings sorrow, distress or calamity. Good is defined as
something conforming to the moral order of the universe, praiseworthy character,
advancement of prosperity or well-being. It is easy to see that the Samaritan is
good and the thieves who attacked and injured the fallen man, but what about the
priest and the Hebrew? Does their failure to act make them evil, too?
It is easy to see that Osama bin Laden was evil. His actions caused “suffering,
misfortune and wrongdoing; he brought sorrow, distress and calamity” to our world.
By killing bin Laden, the soldiers advanced the moral order of the universe and
advanced prosperity and well-being by eliminating a source of hate and violence.
Should we celebrate his death? In light of the tremendous loss of life brought by
his radical views, some might say yes. I suggest that we do not have to celebrate
the death of this man but we can rejoice in the elimination of his evil force to
make the world is a better place without him.
For the 2010 anniversary of the 9/11 attack, Father Rodney wrote, “The world
will get better when good people no longer tolerate that which is not good. The
world will get better when good people get better through repentance and following
the Gospel. The world will get better when Christ fully lives in the hearts, homes
and lives of all believers. Lukewarm believers tolerate that which should not be
tolerated and give silent consent and approval to that which should not be approved
or tolerated. This is a time for the strong of faith to say "no more" to the unethical,
the immoral and the violent.”
As Jesus taught us, one must love his neighbor as he loves himself. We are all
neighbors and we have a Christian duty to not only be good, but we must fight against
evil with faith and action.
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