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Remembering 9/11 | jonmower.com

Remembering 9/11

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Today Todd Bouldin suggested a "radical new way" to remember 9/11 that, ironically, is not new at all:

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for ‘revenge is mine,’ says the Lord…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

The Apostle Paul, Romans 12

I was thinking along the same lines yesterday while reading a guest column on WaPo's On Faith site by a fellow Lipscomb graduate: "Terry Jones is not the enemy."  In the column, David French laments the fact that the public has been distracted from its focus on our "real enemy" by Terry Jones' "stupid and senseless" Qur'an-burning stunt:

Terry Jones wasn't burning Qur'ans on September 10, 2001. He wasn't burning Qur'ans when the "Blind Sheik" plotted the first World Trade Center bombing or when Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland. Our enemies don't need Terry Jones to hate us or to recruit thousands of suicide bombers and tens of thousands of jihadists. So on this week of remembrance, let's take the cameras off the crank from Florida and put them instead on the yawning gap in the New York skyline and on the soldiers who fight to make sure the enemy can never strike again.

David concludes:

The media has made Terry Jones. The media can unmake him. And they should - after all, there's a real enemy out there to challenge, to shame, and to defeat.

As I read those sentences, one of the thoughts that came to my mind was what was conspicuously missing from that list of things we should do to our enemy: love them.

I wouldn't claim that I know how to love Al-Qaeda, but I have no doubt that loving them is what Christians are called to do.  This highlights to me the difficulty of  consistently following both the way of nationalism and the way of Christ.  Frankly, I don't know how a nation can simultaneously resist evil and follow Christ's radical command to not resist an evil person or follow the example of early Christians who submitted to painful death rather than take up weapons of earthly violence to resist persecution by the Roman empire.  This is why the concept of a "Christian nation" almost seems like an oxymoron or sorts.  Even if we focus only on the actions of an individual Christian, I'm too confused about how one consistently marries citizenship in earthly kingdoms with citizenship in the heavenly one to advise anyone about what they should or shouldn't do in matters like these of national defense, responding to Al-Qaeda, etc.

On a related subject, this past week I was annoyed by the admonitions to "Support the victims of the September 11 terrorist attack" by adding a little red 9/11 tag on the corner of your twitter avatar.  To me, that seemed like a lousy way to actually support the victims of 9/11.  I decided to google a way to help provide financial support to 9/11 victims.  I was surprised to find that I couldn't easily find such an option.  I learned that there was a fund created by Congress that provided compensation to victims that agreed not to sue the airlines.  There was also a September 11th Fund that raised and distributed > $500 million before it concluded in 2004.  I didn't find much else.  The few other organizations I found (link,link,link) seemed to be more about education and remembrance but not so much about actual support of victims.

This caused me to wonder: do the victims of 9/11 still need our support?  If so, why isn't there an easy way to do so that is more direct and more impactful than the superficial changing of a twitter avatar?

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