Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Law and Lawlessness

The culmination of human struggle seems to be manifest in Beirut today. Chaos has been imposed on the Shia quarter and IDF missiles and bombs (more on the way from the US, doublequick) have reduced it to a smear of ash. The region is flooded with refugees and exploded cars. Does law rule here, or is this an episode of blunt circumvention? As a US citizen it is hard, if not impossible, for me to understand the Israeli perspecitve on this, for or against. Yet to hear Ehud Olmert invoke Jewish legacy as he defends the unrelenting barrage of civilian targets is something that gives me pause. This legacy is from Abraham and the promise made to Abraham that his offspring shall inherit the world. What we would seem to be witnessing now is a ruling body acting in the spirit of that promise.
Paul of Tarsus, writing to Rome, reminds the Jews of that time that it is faith rather than the law that makes those chosen by God righteous. For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
With a recent nod from the Administration giving Israel one more week in which to carry out its scorched earth campaign, the rule of law is being severely tested. Yet the actors defend their actions by invoking the law and, by extension, the Abrahamic promise. How to communicate to them that they are in fact nullifying their legacy?

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