Deliver Us From Evil

I don’t think about evil very much. I don’t have to. I guess that makes me blessed. Or lucky. So when I was asked if I thought Islam could be evil, it stopped me cold.

Evil? Diversity is a touchstone value for me, and demonization of “other” will set me off on a rant like a bottlerocket. And yet, I do believe that there is evil in the world. That which is Not God.

But is Islam evil? I told the questioner that I couldn’t answer this question without more thought. So I thought. And did what I often do, I looked to see what other people had been thinking.

One blog waxed long, eloquent, and erudite, and his conclusion quoted Matthew 7:20: “by their fruits ye shall know them.” He had many examples, and you can find a b-zillion others on the net, of evil deeds conducted in the name of Islam. Fruits of evil? Surely.

But now I refer you to Matthew 7:1-3: “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” If Allah is the same as the Christian God (and I know, many would argue that point), those atrocities mandated by Sharia Law will be avenged. Of course, our own atrocities will be, too. Think about that.

But back to this question of evil. Like I said, I don’t think about it much because I don’t have to. But there are dire warnings, some quite persuasive and well produced, that warn me that I should think about it. I should wake up, and be prepared to defend my country against evil. Which leads me to ask, are we well-defended? Is our Constitution going to be enough to defend us? How can We The People be vigilant?

Defense #1: The 8th amendment forbids cruel and unusual punishment. That’s a good defense against the hangings and beheadings and chopped off hands and such. Vigilance: Pay close attention to legislation and Supreme Court rulings involving capital punishment, and mandatory sentencing.

Defense #2: The 1st amendment requires separation of Church and State. In countries where Sharia Law is enforced, there is no such separation. Vigilance: Be suspicious of legislation that is grounded in religious laws or beliefs.

Defense #3: The 1st amendment mandates free exercise of religion. I get to be Christian. You can be Jewish. Or Muslim. No persecution allowed. Got it? Vigilance: Be wary of legislation that infringes on religious freedoms. The next religion could be yours.

Defense #4: The 14th amendment gives equal protection under the law. No double standards. Laws discriminating against women? Not here. Vigilance: Question legislation that treats one group differently from another.

That’s a good list. We’ve got a Constitution with some backbone. Defend our Constitution — in the courts and on the battlefield — and the Constitution can defend us against evil. But for me and other Christians, there is one more defense:

Defense #5: The Lord’s Prayer, and in particular, “Deliver us from evil.”

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