(We recently "celebrated" the fifth anniversary of the establishment of a detainee camp at the U.S. military base oat Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and I wanted to republish this commentary that I wrote and published on June 30, 2004.)
As I watched the special report on the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay that was broadcast by ABC News on its "20/20" program (Friday, 6/25/2004), the terrible sadness and sickness of it was almost overpowering to me. I fear not only for our souls, but for our safety.
Nowadays, we say that "what goes around comes around." Jesus said, "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." (Matt. 7:1-2)
In the form of the "Golden Rule," this becomes, "Do to others as you would have them do to you." (Luke 6:31)
The idea that there is a reflectivity in the universe appears frequently in the Bible, most often as a warning:
"As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same." (Job 4:8)
"For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind:" (Hosea 8:7)
"According to their way I will deal with them; according to their own judgments I will judge them." (Ezekiel 7:27)
The most frightening version comes from the letter of Paul to the Galatians:
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for you reap whatever you sow." (Gal. 6:7)
A teacher of mine sometimes said that "the only way to stop a behavior is to stop the behavior." What does that mean in real life?
It means that we can’t teach kindness by practicing cruelty.
We can’t instill a sense of mercy by acting mercilessly.
We can’t establish a rule of law through lawlessness.
We can’t expect justice by administering injustice.
We can’t create peace through war.
And we can’t stop terrorists through terrorism.
Which brings me to my favorite passage from the Bible:
"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8)
In the policies of the Bush Administration, there is no justice, there is no kindness, and there is no humility.
And I am afraid that we will reap the whirlwind.