Excellent news being reported around the clock. Virtually every report also quotes the statement by the Christian Peacemaker Teams on this bittersweet day, though after reading it myself I have found that it has been quoted rather selectively so as not to spoil our mood of absolute righteousness, an example of which I found on the Drudge Report today, "Hostages rescued by military they call occupiers," was the headline of his link to this story. Editorialising aside, he quite fairly linked to the statement in its entirety on Pulse24.com out of Toronto. I'm a little wacky so I read the whole thing, and these "ungrateful christians" said quite a bit more than I was led to believe from the hundred or so reports I had heard throughout the day...
...“Harmeet, Jim and Norman and Tom were in Iraq to learn of the struggles facing the people in that country. They went, motivated by a passion for justice and peace to live out a nonviolent alternative in a nation wracked by armed conflict.
"They knew that their only protection was in the power of the love of God and of their Iraqi and international co-workers.
"We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq. The occupation must end.
“Today, in the face of this joyful news, our faith compels us to love our enemies even when they have committed acts which caused great hardship to our friends and sorrow to their families.
"In the spirit of the prophetic nonviolence that motivated Jim, Norman, Harmeet and Tom to go to Iraq, we refuse to yield to a spirit of vengeance.
“We give thanks for the compassionate God who granted our friends courage and who sustained their spirits over the past months.
"We pray for strength and courage for ourselves so that, together, we can continue the nonviolent struggle for justice and peace.
“Throughout these difficult months, we have been heartened by messages of concern for our four colleagues from all over the world. We have been especially moved by the gracious outpouring of support from Muslim brothers and sisters in the Middle East, Europe, and North America.
"That support continues to come to us day after day.
“We pray that Christians throughout the world will, in the same spirit, call for justice and for respect for the human rights of the thousands of Iraqis who are being detained illegally by the U.S. and British forces occupying Iraq.
“During these past months, we have tasted of the pain that has been the daily bread of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Why have our loved ones been taken? Where are they being held? Under what conditions? How are they? Will they be released? When?
“With Tom’s death, we felt the grief of losing a beloved friend. Today, we rejoice in the release of our friends Harmeet, Jim and Norman. We continue to pray for a swift and joyful homecoming for the many Iraqis and internationals who long to be reunited with their families.
"We renew our commitment to work for an end to the war and the occupation of Iraq as a way to continue the witness of Tom Fox. We trust in God’s compassionate love to show us the way.
“Living through the many emotions of this day, we remain committed to the words of Jim Loney, who wrote:
"With God’s abiding kindness, we will love even our enemies. With the love of Christ, we will resist all evil. With God’s unending faithfulness, we will work to build the beloved community."
I myself am not a christian, despite being raised one. Why? Because I have met so few of the above christians, I became convinced that my entire understanding of the teachings of Jesus was dead wrong, for it seemed that the vast majority believed that Jesus only died on the cross because he didn't have a gun... You wanna convert me?
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
Addendum: I just came across a most revealing discussion on the "ungrateful bastards" debate on GayPatriot.net. That's right, "... the Internet home for the American gay conservative." It truly does take all kinds. Anyway, follow this :link: Read the post and then commence the often painful process of reading down through the comments. Watch the bile fly for about 15 comments and then witness how it just... stops.
:: Damian B. 3/23/2006 [+] ::