By Charlie Johnston
I am working on a piece on Islam and the crisis that confronts us. I have always loathed naieve fecklessness in confronting a challenge – for the false mercy of tolerating the intolerable ultimately and invariably leads to a vicious backlash that can become a fire consuming all in its path. This is why I so often use the phrase, “Judge righteous judgment.”
My thoughts on this are well-defined and of long standing. But I want to be extra precise in writing publicly about it.
Two little noted things about the Paris massacres struck me, one for its hideous irony and another for its sublime hope in humanity. In the Bataclan Theatre which was the site of the worst of the massacre, the heavy metal band was going into a rendition of their hit song, “Kiss the Devil,” when the shooting started. It gives me shivers. On the other hand, in that most cynical of European Cities, Paris, people in apartments started opening their doors and pulling strangers in to safety once the magnitude of the attack became clear. People reached out to strangers – while other strangers were on a murderous rampage. Our hearts want to reach out to each other.
As I ponder how to be clear, I think of an old story about a gentle Quaker farmer who was awakened in the middle of the night. He grabbed his rifle and went to see what was happening, At the bottom of the staircase, he saw a burglar trying to open his safe. He considered the situation for a moment, then raised the rifle to his shoulder and announced, “Friend, I would not harm thee for the world. But thou standest where I am about to shoot.”