When is Violence not Violence?

Remember the four anti-war activists with Christian Peacemaker Teams who were kidnapped by insurgents in Iraq? (Yes, I know the irony). After spending a few months in captivity and having one of their members tortured and killed, they have this to say about the whole affair.

  • "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."

There you have it. The kidnapping and murder of their members isn’t the fault of the kidnapers and murderers, but the "Multinational Forces." (You can read the whole press release here.) Not to mention it was the "Multinational Forces" who freed them from their captivity. Not once in the press release did Christian Peacemaker Teams thank the brave soldiers who risked their lives to free them from their captors.

These peace activists seem to be confusing actions with motivations.

Perhaps the kidnappers and murders were motivated by hatred against the US or at least US policies in Iraq — a motivation the kidnap victims shared. But motivations do not require that they be acted upon. Nor do motivations or intentions justify immoral actions. So why is a nonviolent organization sanctioning violent acts?

Their words reveal their hypocrisy:

"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."

Is it just to transfer the guilt or blame of actions from one person to another? I think not, nor is it very Christian.