The Boston tragedy
Posted: Friday, May 24, 2013 7:00 pm
By RAVI ZACHARIAS
It has been a little over two weeks since the atrocity was committed in Boston by the murderous intent of two young men. University students supposedly on scholarships, family on welfare payments, and all the benefits of receiving, with no moral obligation. How sad it is to see the face of that little 8-year-old boy who had just come to have a fun day with his family only to become a part of the death list and a victim of a cold blooded and calculated act. What parent can ever get over that? What country can afford to not stop and ask “why” until we know the truth?
How does one make judgments on such matters? How do we examine our own beliefs so as to deny such people with violent intent their murderous goals?
I travel an awful lot. I visit countries that do not like Americans. With that prejudice in many a country, I am quizzed as to why I am there. In the Middle East on more than one occasion I have been asked to come and meet the Chief of Intelligence and quizzed. This is the way my last quizzing went in Syria about three years ago:
“Mr. Zacharias, we know you are visiting here. We just want to caution you not to get engaged in any political activity or make any comments on politics.”
I assured them I would honor that. Then he went on to say, “But you are very welcome here. We need people like you.”
It was astounding to hear that. Why would he make such a comment when the prevailing religion there was not my faith, nor what I came to preach? For one, he knew the Christians there posed no threat to the regime but were a peaceable minority. The rest of the conversation made it clear. But there was obviously more to why he said that. I asked, “Can you tell me what you think of the situation in this part of the world?”
With beads in his hand as he compulsively scrolled through them out of sheer habit, he quietly said, “I don’t give this part of the world more than five years, and this whole place will blow up.” Rather taken aback by such a drastic pronouncement, I asked him what he meant. It was clear that they knew of rebellious forces working to topple the government and spread turmoil in that area. Ironically, when it all happened, including his own assassination, our media naively branded it “The Arab Spring.” Really? Is that what we are witnessing in Libya, in Egypt, in Iran after the Shah? Is that what spring looks like politically?
This ignorance or deliberately distorted way of thinking, supporting bloody and ruthless acts to supposedly topple dictators, is precisely what that part of the world is now experiencing. Suddenly, revolutions are the “in thing and any establishment is at risk, as forces that destabilize are gleefully supported by the media elite, the intellectual elite, and the entertainment elite. We pontificate without the slightest understanding of history, religion, or of cultural distinctives. The average citizen is once again sacrificed at the altar of demagogic factions each seeking the power to enforce and dictate.
This abysmal failure in the media elite, to understand history and worldview, now puts America facing possible extinction herself. Those are not overstated words.
When one gets on to a plane, you hear, “Your safety is our first priority.” Evidently, in the journey of life itself, our power brokers don’t feel the same for their citizens. A visitor’s rights seem to be the first priority; those who seek our destruction are given greater privileges than our children who enjoy and love this land.
Something is wrong. Dreadfully wrong. Our definitions are at an all-time confusion, our values at an all-time low, our fiscal policies at an all-time danger, our beliefs at an all-time peril, and yet we want to tell our young people that we are building for their future.
Do our leaders ever sit down and read the primary sources to understand what lies beneath these worldviews to which we are pandering? We brand a religion “peaceful” or “great” without even reading its text. Only an uninformed person can make such sweeping statements. This does not assure us that our safety is a priority.
There is so much one can say on what needs to be done to provide for our safety. I simply resist the temptation and will not go into all of that, but rather respond in two ways. First, we must ask our political representatives to convene a formal study on this particular worldview of millions who have explicitly or implicitly screamed for our destruction. Adolf Hitler told the world what he was planning to do. The naïve of that time did not take him seriously. It took one of the bloodiest and most senseless wars in history to stop that genocide orchestrated by him. What will it take for us to wake up to the avowed threat of our time?
Second, I suggest that the rights we give our immigrants must be granted only by strict means of scrutiny. I went through that when I first moved to the west. My brother and I were quizzed thoroughly. I respected that. But that was over four decades ago. We are now politically correct and politically endangered at the same time. As I write this, I am about to depart for one particular country. I will be there for five days. To get a visa, I had to list all the countries I have visited in the last ten years. That was a task and a half. Did I object? No. They are protecting their political system and they have a right to demand of me disclosure that they feel is necessary to keep their values intact. Anyone without subversive intent will not be afraid of such scrutiny.
But in our homeland we have become so all-encompassing that the only thing we don’t have any more is “values.” Interestingly, that was a term coined by the nihilists and existentialists to replace absolutes. When absolutes went, values came. When counter values came, our own values went. When our own values went, we watch a little eight-year-old boy blown to bits and the ones doing it tweet to their friends “LOL.” Such subversives do not fear our legal system. They know the perverse way in which their defenders can use it.
When hate can laugh, decency is crying and America stands at the crossroads of choosing the path of Right or else to bury what is right in the ever-shifting quicksand of so called “rights.”
This is a sad day as we mourn the decimation in Boston. But sadder days are ahead unless we understand what we are dealing with here. What happened in Boston was a deadly atrocity. Our failure to stem the rot will be a suicidal tragedy. We have confused what is lawful with what is legal.
Chesterton said it well: “For under the smooth legal surface of our society there are already moving very lawless things. We are always near the breaking-point when we care only for what is legal and nothing for what is lawful. Unless we have a moral principle about such delicate matters as marriage and murder, the whole world will become a welter of exceptions with no rules. There will be so many hard cases that everything will go soft.”
This is America today. We do not know the essential difference between what is lawful and what is legal. Our moral reasoning is dying before our eyes. Nobody knows this better than the lawless.
Dr. Zacharias is founder and president of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, headquartered in Atlanta, with additional offices in Canada, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, and Hong Kong. He and his wife, Margie, have three grown children. They reside in Atlanta.
Reprinted with permission from RZIM, www.rzim.org.
Published in The Messenger 5.24.13