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How Should Christians Respond to the Capitol Riots? | Part 1

Overview

Americans of all political persuasions were devastated to see the violence and fool-hearty behavior of angry protestors illegally and unlawfully breaching the doors of the Capitol Building.


Immediately we questioned. A movement that stood firmly against the riots, looting and nationwide devastation of only a few months ago was now seeing the behavior it repudiated under its banner. We realized that lunacy, anger and bad behavior had infiltrated the political camp of those who love and uphold law and order.


I wanted to give a thoughtful response to the violence we have seen in the last several months across America. While the spotlight remains on the Capitol, it is only right and fair to consider all aspects of rioting as we seek an equitable and peaceful society. Rather than approach the issue as an either or, I have prepared a thoughtful response to both acts of violence. I have done this because we have not placed necessary force into a reasonable ethic in our culture. On one hand we have argued that systems must be overthrown and then when protestors charge the Capitol, we immediately decry what we have long encouraged or at least condoned.


I have broken this response into three parts: Part 1: is a reasonable ethic of necessary force


Part 2: is a factual assessment and comparison of the violence surrounding both the multiple Black Lives Matter protests and the Stop the Steal rally in Washington that all ended with varying aspects of violence. Part 3: is a thoughtful and needed response to our future path as a society.


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Part 1: Understanding Necessary Force: A Reasonable Ethic The claim has been made that systemic racism can only be solved by overthrowing the current system. While the movement is divided as to what that looks like, there are some who believe violence and destruction are necessary evils for moving the culture in the right direction. It is far too simplistic to say that “force is never an option.” The idea that no physical force should ever be used undermines the reality of evil. To say that any forceful act is evil is to say that evil cannot and should not be restrained by those who are good.


It could be possible that a government is so thoroughly corrupted that its people have no choice but to work outside the established laws to correct the injustice. It is unfair to cover all force with a pejorative blanket.


It must also be recognized that a choice to exercise force cannot be subject to the emotional whims of a mob. Justice requires a thoughtful, limited and equitable use of force. For this reason, I have provided nine ethical statements that should ground our thinking as we discuss the necessity of force.

1. Violence should be avoided at all times when possible.


2. Those who oppose violence must seek appropriate measures to resolve conflict with

peace.


3. Lawlessness and injustice require a response from righteous people.


4. At times, lawlessness must be met with necessary force. Aggressive, forceful and

appropriate action can be violent. When police make an arrest, often the culprit does

not go willingly. The ensuing actions to force the offender are sometimes violent. An

appropriate act of justice accompanied by necessary force is heroic.


5. Violence cannot be used as a tool to produce a desired political or social result.

Forceful action must be reserved only for the removal of lawlessness and not applied

for purposes of persuasion to a political agenda.


6. The decision to exercise necessary force should be made by government.


7. Unilaterally corrupt governments must be held accountable. (Governments must display

a systemic pattern of abuse with long reaching affects and undeniably anticipated

unalterable future lawlessness.)


8. The decision to hold a government responsible with necessary force can only be

exercised as a last resort. When all other efforts to challenge government through

established channels have completely and thoroughly failed.


9. When necessary force is applied it must proceed with a thoughtful consensus of

righteous men and women, it must be directed solely at those perpetrating the

corruption and must proceed with the intent and a plan to restore order by the force

imposed.


Conclusion

While we must oppose lawless acts of violence at all times, we cannot ignore the possibility that governments themselves can become so thoroughly corrupt that they must be restructured and that corrupt leaders must be removed. Such a procedure while potentially necessary must be reserved only for the most drastic of cases.


I believe all of these statements are backed by the truth of the universe and will hold up to the scrutiny of both liberal and conservative ethical minds who desire to see their fellow man flourish. We cannot say that necessary force should never be applied, nor can we proceed with lawlessness and violence upon the whims of emotion. We must seek for peace above all. These nine statements comprise a reasonable approach to lawful and righteous actions regarding necessary force.


Application to Current Violence

The United States has faced a fervor of emotion brought on by felt realities of election corruption and racial injustice. In both cases a minority of those claiming to be on the side of righteousness and justice have acted with violence. A discerning person must condemn the violence being perpetrated in the United States because it does not align with moral application or reasonable procedures for challenging corrupted governments.


Racial Injustice

In the case of those rioting against racial injustice, the above basic principles of necessary force have been ignored. The energies of force were not used against the removal of despotic leaders. Rioters destroyed and looted businesses and property that had no connection whatsoever to the leadership that made the policies they opposed. Furthermore, they lacked the patience to proceed through a legal means. Politicians have not proved unwilling to legislate important laws that stand against the awfulness of prejudice. Courts have not been unwilling to listen to cases and rule against those who acted out of a racial bias. The fight against racism has proceeded with phenomenal success and has been met with reasonable acclaim in media outlets, popular culture and the political community alike.


- Other avenues of peaceful protest had not been pursued

- Legislation had not been pursued

- Patience for reform had not been practiced


Even the specific cases that have become the given reason for riots were still being adjudicated in the court system.


The majority of the BLM movement and those seeking racial reconciliation were themselves peaceful. Unfortunately, too few denounced the riots while others who did not participate encouraged them.


Voter Fraud

In the case of those rioting against a fraudulent election the above basic principles of necessary force were again ignored. Congress had yet to even rule on the validity of the electoral votes. No significant political effort had yet to be pursued in laws that would protect against election fraud. No consensus of good and righteous people had convened to oversee the force, and no conclusion had been made to rectify the government once it had been undermined. It was pure lawless, an undeniably reprehensible action that replaced decency and procedure for anarchy and aggression.


Much like the BLM protest the majority of those attending the rally were peaceful in their search for election integrity. Unlike the BLM movement the behavior of the outlying rioters was renounced by those who agreed with their concerns of fraud with significant and ubiquitous repudiation.


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