Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

A Platform for a Movement. (Commentary)

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

A Platform for a Movement. (Commentary)

Article excerpt

Both politics and religion lend themselves to absolutes--all too often even minor points of divergence are treated like uncrossable chasms. For starters, it's not easy to sort out the trivial from the substantial, for every judgment is accompanied by a nagging sense that you may be compromising your deepest convictions for the sake of a false unity.

Be that as it may, I will propose 10 planks of a platform around which we can build a movement, transcending our more trivial political and religious differences.

1) The intentional murder of innocents must never be justified, neither legally, morally, nor strategically (i.e. for some greater end). That's how we define a terrorist act, whether it is carried out by a political cell group or a nation-state.

2) Agents of terrorism must be held accountable for their crimes. The safety of innocents demands their apprehension; justice demands their punishment.

3) The U.S. government and its security forces are pursuing outlaws who have committed crimes against humanity. Using these events as an opportunity for extending global hegemony and economic self-interest will be obvious to the Arab world and will lead to continued instability and conflict in the region.

4) Osama bin Laden and his "base" network are not freedom fighters straggling against globalization, economic oppression, or Western imperialism. While these are indeed pieces of their ideology--and each of these forces has certainly contributed to our troubled times--bin Laden and his base are fundamentally motivated by a "holy war" that seeks to eradicate sources of social power not aligned with his violent religious ideology, including what he considers "apostates" within the Muslim community.

5) The people of Afghanistan and Iraq have suffered under violent conflict and fascist regimes for decades. They are no more responsible for terrorist cells than the accountant sitting at her desk on the 110th floor of the World Trade Center. Indiscriminate retaliation would be rightly considered a terrorist act.

6) World opinion, by and large, supports the U.S. government's pursuit of justice. The Bush administration wisely has sought to build as broad a coalition as possible to stand behind those efforts. But that moral high ground and political support will quickly fade away if the U. …

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