Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Tuez-les tous!

Someday I will figure out how Bill O'Reilly finds the strength to look in the mirror every morning.

This is the man, after all, who is so concerned for Christianity's place in our culture that last December he repeatedly trumpeted the charge that Christmas was "under siege" by "media forces of darkness" and "secular progressives [wishing to] destroy religion in the public arena". O'Reilly has shown a special regard for Christianity's founder, even at one point suggesting that Jesus wept over media criticism of O'Reilly. Further, his odd description of Christmas as "a federal holiday based on the philosopher Jesus" suggests at least that O'Reilly attaches as much importance to Jesus' teachings as to his salvific mission.

What can we know about Jesus' "philosophy"? In the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus summarized his moral teaching this way:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.[Mt. 22:37-40]
There is no shortage of evidence for how Jesus interpreted the "love thy neighbor" dictum. Most famous, of course, is the parable of the Good Samaritan [Lk. 10: 30-37], explaining what it is to be a neighbor; then there's the injunction to return good for evil [Lk. 6:32-35], to forgive not seven times but seventy times seven [Mt. 18:22]. And this:

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. [Mt. 25: 34-40]
Now we know that Bill O'Reilly may cry out Jesus' name, but he doesn't really take his words seriously. Visit prisoners? Nah. Kill them:

People slaughtering civilians . . . I don’t give them any protection. I don’t feel sorry for them. In fact, I probably would have ordered their execution if I had the power.
The 9/11 slaughterers of civilians are all already dead, and bin Laden and Zarqawi are beyond our reach. The people who are left are the ones we have in places like Guantánamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and Bagram AFB. As Think Progress points out, the vast majority of Guantánamo detainees have never been charged with any crime. Indeed, some have been released after the military determined that they pose no threat. The Red Cross has been told that between 70 and 90 percent of detainees in Iraq are eventually found innocent and released. These detainees include children as young as 11.

So the question is, when O'Reilly says he would already have ordered executions, when and of whom? Would these executions have come before mid-July, when 27 prisoners were released from Guantánamo Bay? Or before September, 2004, when 11 Afghan prisoners were let go? Or even earlier, before three teenagers (ages 13 to 15) were released in January, 2004? How many of these people does he wish he'd had killed?

Perhaps it's not as odd as it seems that a devotee of "the philosopher Jesus" should be willing to indiscriminately put hundreds of people to death, the innocent and the guilty alike. After all, it was Arnaud Amaury, Abbot of Citeaux and papal legate during the Albigensian Crusade, who is said to have issued the famous command "Tuez-les tous; Dieu reconnaîtra les siens" (Kill them all; God will know his own).

But in this day and age, it just looks like rank hypocrisy.

Found at Eschaton