‘For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.’ (Ecclesiastes. 3).
How many times have we heard that the problem with the world today is that there isn’t enough love, when precisely the opposite is true. Evil currently stalks the earth because there isn’t enough hate. Moral people, afraid of being poisoned by hate, are becoming indifferent to evil.
The history of the modern world is a history of genocide and the indiscriminate slaughter of innocents. Historian Paul Johnson estimates that at least 100 million civilians were murdered in the twentieth century alone by despotic and murderous tyrants. All too many of the murderers, like Pol Pot and Idi Amin, died comfortably in their sleep rather than at the end of a gallows. The world simply could not summon enough hatred of these individuals or their actions to stop them and bring them to justice.
Rehabilitation of murderers and dictators has also become the norm. Just look at how in death the godfather of modern terror and the embezzler who stole billions from his own people, Yasir Arafat, was elevated to sainthood. And still the good people of the world refuse to hate, thereby weakening their commitment to fight evil.
I have heard all the arguments repudiating hate: Hatred is evil. It is the cause of all wars. It consumes the soul of he or she who hates. Silly arguments all.
Hatred is only evil when it is directed at the good and at the innocent. It is positively Godly when it is directed at cold-blooded killers, motivating us to fight and eradicate them before more people die. Hatred does not cause wars, it ends them. Because Churchill truly hated Hitler he inspired a nation to put an end to his blitzkrieg conquests. The French, who did not hate Hitler, collaborated with him instead. It is indifference to evil, rather than its hatred, that sends a message to the tyrants that they may pick on anyone they like for the world will be silent.
Anyone who does not hate Abu Musab al Zarkawi, a monster who shouts ‘God is great’ while sawing off the heads of innocent human beings, is barely human himself. Can a man love innocent victims without hating their tormentors? Loving victims might generate compassion for their suffering. But hating the perpetrators will generate action to stop their murdering.
Which ‘moral’ man or woman can lay claim to decency if he or she is not sickened by the likes of Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden? Can a moral man have compassion for a dying Arafat when such love and compassion ought to be reserved exclusively for his victims? While innocence should evoke compassion, evil should evoke only contempt.
Bobby Frank Cherry, the Klansman who killed four black girls in a church bombing in Alabama in 1963, died recently in prison. On my radio show I expressed my satisfaction that another evil man had perished from the earth. A black caller phoned in disgust. “I used to be like you, Shmuley,” he said. “When I was a boy growing up in the segregated South, I hated the Klan so much that I wanted to be a sniper and shoot them. But as a Christian I have worked my whole life to fight that hatred and get it out of my system.”
I answered him, “What do you think God would prefer? That you use your energy to fight your hatred, or use your energy to fight evil? Now, no one would sanction your running around and indiscriminately shooting people, because that itself is immoral and illegal. That’s not hatred. That’s rage. But it was due to prosecutors’ odium for this man that they pursued him for almost forty years, finally obtaining a conviction and sending him to prison just two years ago. If they had not detested him and his actions, he would have died peacefully at his home and the message would have gone out that you can get away with murder.”
Hatred is not necessarily of the devil. Like any emotion, it is neutral, its morality determined solely by the object to which it is directed. Hatred is demonic only when directed at innocent people who happen to have darker skin than you, but truly appropriate when directed at someone whose murderous actions have made the world a darker place.
Exhortations to hate all manner of evil abound in the Bible. The book of Proverbs declares, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” Likewise, King David declares regarding the wicked, “I have hated them with a deep loathing. They are as enemies to me.” Hatred is the moral response to those who have gone beyond the pale of decency by committing acts which unweave the basic fabric of civilized living. To encounter evil is to come under the injunction of never showing even a morsel of sympathy lest we weaken our determination to destroy it.
The demonization of hatred in our time has derived principally from liberalism, for which toleration of nearly everything is paramount. Hatred of evil implies both the right to make judgments, as well as a belief in absolutes, both of which are anathema to liberalism.
While liberalism has some redeeming qualities, my foremost argument against it is that it harbors no abhorrence or detestation of evil. Indeed, liberals hate war much more than they hate evil, which is why Kofi Annan and Jacques Chirac were prepared to leave Saddam in power in order to avoid conflict. But with so much evil in the world, people have grown weary with those who serve as its apologists, and thus liberalism has been largely discredited, with even former president Clinton deciding to abandon the term and replace it with ‘progressivism.’
In fairness, however, it is not just liberals who have forgotten how to hate. Many of my Christian brethren mistakenly believe that God loathes hatred. They quote Jesus’s teaching to turn the other cheek and his admonishment to love your enemies as proof that we dare never hate.
On my radio show many evangelical Christians have called to tell me that in God’s eyes we are all sinners, and thus from a heavenly perspective Osama bin Laden and the average housewife from Kansas are equal. Osama must indeed face justice for his crimes, but we dare not hate him, seeing that Jesus still loves him.
But this is a travesty of Jesus’s teachings. Jesus advocated turning the other check to petty slights and affronts to our honor, not to mass graves and torture chambers. Likewise, while Jesus taught that we ought to love our own enemies, this did not apply to God’s enemies. Our enemies are people who are our rivals for a promotion at work. God’s enemies are those who slaughter his children.
Let not any Christian think that Jesus’s sympathy was for anyone other than the oppressed and the poor. True, the Bible commands us to ‘love our neighbor’ as ourselves, but the man who kills children is not our neighbor. Having cast off the image of God, he has lost his divine spark and is condemned to eternal oblivion from which not even a belief in salvation will rescue him. He or she who murders God’s children has been lost to God forever and has abandoned all entitlement to love, earning eternal derision in its stead.
To love the terrorist who flies a civilian plane into a building or a white supremacist who drags a black man three miles while tied to the back of a car is not just scandalous, it is sinful. To love evil is itself evil and constitutes a passive form of complicity. The old saying is right: those who are kind to the cruel end up being cruel to the kind.
The Bible instructs us “rejoice not when thine enemy falleth” and I am not advocating that we dance in the streets when we hear about America killing terrorists in Iraq. But to extend compassion to these impenitent and incorrigible monsters is an act of mocking God who has mercy for all yet demands unequivocal justice for the innocent. To show kindness to the murderer is to violate the victim yet again.
Pacifists will respond that fighting hatred with hatred accomplishes nothing. They will quote the old Bob Dylan song that says, “If we take an eye for an eye we all just end up blind.” But the purpose of our hatred is not revenge, but justice. We do not seek to breed hatred so that it might linger in our breast, but so that it might inspire us to stop murder and bloodshed. If you don’t hate Saddam Hussein then you will find ample reason not to topple him from power. But if watching him gas Kurdish children makes you see him for the abomination he is, then you will risk blood and treasure to put him on trial for his crimes against humanity.
How bizarre that the French and Germans today hate George Bush more than Saddam Hussein. Their efforts to prevent the United States from invading Iraq, and their treatment of Saddam as nothing more than a nuisance, speaks volumes about their indifference to bloodshed and their troubling neutrality on the subject of evil. At Sinai God entrusted humanity with the promotion of justice, enjoining us to turn an immoral jungle into a civilized society. We seek out the Saddams of this world to prevent further genocides and establish justice. In the words of Aristotle, “All virtue is summed up in dealing justly.”
Some will say that by promoting hatred of evil I am trampling on the ideas of atonement and forgiveness. I disagree. Repentance is based on recognizing the infinite value of human life. Because God loves humanity He provides a point of return so that the individual might find his way back to the light.
Since repentance is predicated on the value of life, it cannot be offered to those who undermine its basic premise by irretrievably debasing life. For a murderer to lament his actions in public and achieve instant absolution is an affront to everything forgiveness stands for. There are those offenses for which there is no forgiveness, borders that are crossed for which there is no return. Mass murder is foremost among them.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.” Only if we hate the truly evil passionately will we summon the determination to fight them fervently. Odd and uncomfortable as it may seem, hatred has its place. It is time for moral people to learn how to hate again.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is a nationally syndicated radio host from 2-5 p.m. EST daily on the Liberty Broadcasting Network, and was named by Talkers magazine as one of America’s 100 most important talk-radio hosts. A best-selling author of 14 books, his latest work is “Face Your Fear” (St. Martins Press).
Posts Tagged ‘Kofi Annan’
‘For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.’ (Ecclesiastes. 3).
From the way world leaders reacted to the death of Yasir Arafat, you could be forgiven if you had mistakenly believed that Mother Theresa had died. Kofi Annan, a man whose diplomatic career has been dedicated to friendship with tyrants and contempt for their victims, declared himself “deeply moved” by Arafat’s death and ordered the UN flag flown at half-mast.
This is not all that surprising given that Annan is the same man who overruled UN Gen. Romeo Dallaire in April 1994 and ordered him not to use his UN forces to disarm the Hutus and prevent them from hacking to death 800,000 Tutsis. Kofi Annan is undeniably one of the most corrupt (he is currently blocking all U.S. Senate efforts to investigate the UN-Iraq oil-for-food rip-off) and immoral men alive, and his leadership of the UN exposes it for the farce it has tragically become.
Then there was French President Jacques Chirac, whose stomach-turning pronouncement on the death of the godfather of all modern terror – whom Chriac praised in death as a man of “courage and conviction” – was that he was all choked up and could barely speak.
“It is with emotion that I have learned of the death of President Yasir Arafat.” Of course, one wonders if Chirac was incapacitated by his devastation at Arafat’s death or from ordering his troops to fire on innocent civilians in the Ivory Coast this week after unilaterally deciding, without any UN approval, to destroy the tiny country’s air force. But then, the French were the ones who decided to collaborate with Hitler in deporting their Jews to concentration camps, so not too much decency should be expected from that quarter either.
Of course, the United States continues to be embarrassed by Jimmy Carter, a man who has devoted his entire career to protecting tyrants, from Kim Il Sung and Kim Jon Il of North Korea, to Fidel Castro of Cuba. The great humanitarian Carter extended his infinite affection to Arafat at his demise by saying that Arafat had provided “indispensable leadership to a revolutionary movement” and has been “a powerful human symbol and forceful advocate” who united Palestinians in their pursuit of a homeland.
I would reserve comment on Carter’s silly statement other than to acknowledge how most decent Americans regard the hapless Carter as a repellant buffoon whom they would rather forget once served as their president.
It is time that the world recognized these three despicable men – Kofi Annan, Jacques Chirac and Jimmy Carter – as constituting a western “Axis of Evil,” leaders whose long careers have been devoted to apologizing for tyrants, propping up dictators, demonstrating contempt for their victims and, above all else, espousing an irrational hatred of Israel that would normally be called anti-Semitism.
But the most painful and disgraceful reaction of all to Arafat’s death, from the quarter where it was least expected, came from Pope John Paul II’s jaw-dropping comments voiced through his mouthpiece, Joaquin Navarro-Valls: “At this hour of sadness at the passing of President Yasir Arafat, His Holiness Pope John Paul is particularly close to the deceased’s family, the authorities and the Palestinian people. While entrusting his soul into the hands of the Almighty and Merciful God, the Holy Father prays to the Prince of Peace that the star of harmony will soon shine on the Holy Land. …?
In a second statement, Navarro-Valls said in the pope’s name that Arafat was “a leader of great charisma who loved his people and sought to lead them towards national independence. May God welcome in His mercy the soul of the illustrious deceased and give peace to the Holy Land. …”
That the world’s foremost spiritual shepherd could describe himself as being close to Arafat’s family, rather than the thousands of murdered men, women and children who were Arafat’s victims, is an astonishing act of sacrilege. That the most influential religious figure alive could describe the death of a tyrant as “an hour of sadness” and call a mass murderer an “illustrious” soul is positively despicable. That the “Vicar of Christ on earth” could say of a man who stole billions from his impoverished and desperate nation that he “loved his people” is an affront to everything Jesus stood for, which was primarily a dedication to the oppressed, the poor and the persecuted.
In making these damnable statements, Pope John Paul II, whom I otherwise greatly admire, has tragically proven himself to be walking in the sinful line of his immoral and cowardly Nazi-collaborator predecessor, Pius XII, a man who demonstrated an almost callous indifference to the value of human life and never once summoned the courage to condemn the Nazi Holocaust.
Like John Paul, who met Arafat on numerous occasions, Pius in 1943 granted a secret audience to Supreme SS Polizeifuhrer Wolff, who had served Himmler as chief of staff and was then serving as the chief of the entire persecution apparatus of Jews and Romans in occupied Italy. That Pius realized he was doing something that others would regard as scandalous and immoral is attested to the fact that the meeting took place in great confidence, and Wolff came dressed in disguise. Years later, Wolff had this to say about the meeting: “From the pope’s own words I could sense the sincerity of his sympathy and how much he loved the German people.” On Oct. 16, 1943, the pope watched, quite literally, just 300 feet from his office window, as the SS rounded up more than one thousand Jews of Rome, nearly all of whom would perish by gas a few days later at Auschwitz.
John Paul II is now considering beatifying Pius XII, an action that would forever stain the church and be a sin against humanity. That is troubling enough. But to actually walk in Pius’s path by associating oneself with murderers is positively abhorrent. I have long loved this pope for his devotion to the poor of the Third World. Why would he suddenly turn on all those who have been blown to pieces by Arafat’s bombers over a 40-year career?
How ironic that only one world leader showed true morality and grit in condemning Arafat for what he was, and that man is not a priest or religious leader, but the Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who savaged Arafat as a man whom “history will judge very harshly.
How ironic that the pope should have to learn his morality from Down Under.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is a nationally syndicated radio host daily from 2-5 p.m. EST on the Liberty Broadcasting Network, and was named by Talkers magazine as one of America’s 100 most important talk-radio hosts. A best-selling author of 14 books, his latest work is “The Private Adam: Becoming a Hero in a Selfish Age” (HarperCollins).