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Herod Was Not a Hero. Was He?
One of the nice things about the Christmas story is that there are good guys--Mary, Joseph, the baby--and bad guys--Herod.

It's pretty clear cut, right? The dude who orders babies' deaths is evil. The One who came as a baby to save is Good.

But our culture has it all mixed up.

I'm not sure today we would consider him evil. After all, he had a REASON for what he did, right? He was trying to protect his kingdom from religious fanatics, from people who might claim to be the Messiah. He was trying to keep a secular government.

So if you have to kill a few babies to achieve a higher purpose, that's all right, isn't it?

I say this because of the reaction to my column a few weeks ago. I tend not to read Letters to the Editor complaining about me, though I know quite a few appear, because frankly they don't pay me enough for that.

But every now and then I hear about it.

And this is what these individuals were complaining about. In the column being debated, I wrote this:

Before we leave T-shirts, can I please put in a request that teenagers stop wearing Che Guevera ones? The man was Castro’s executioner. By his own admission he ordered the killing of several thousand, and murdered some himself, including some as young as fourteen. Would you wear a Paul Bernardo T-shirt? A Timothy McVeigh T-shirt? A Muhammad Atta T-shirt? Then stop wearing Che ones. Just because he’s a communist doesn’t make him cool. It makes him evil. Learn more about the guy before you wear him on your chest.

The comments came back to the newspapers that Che was just doing the best he could under the circumstances.

Yeah, right. And these are the same people who villify George Bush if Guantanamo prisoners aren't given Korans and air conditioning and comfy pillows (I'm not trying to make a statement on the pros and cons of Guantanamo; I'm just trying to make a point).

They excuse mass murderers, but can't make any allowance for those who are trying to fight evil.

And that's the issue. I think most people don't believe in good or evil. Good is anything that challenges the status quo. That's why the revolutionary hero becomes so sexy. Anything that challenges the system is to be applauded, even if they use questionable methods.

Now I'm not against challenging the system. Many have done it effectively and well, like Gandhi, or Martin Luther King Jr., or even Jesus. But the ends do not justify the means. Mao defenders say that when you're making an omelette, you have to break a few eggs. In his case, he broke 100,000,000 of them. Think about that: one hundred million lives.

Che, by comparison, only directly killed 1,000, though he ordered the execution of more. And some of those were teenagers. But because he was for communism and challenging capitalism, they give excuse him. It doesn't matter if he killed children.

So why should we assume that everyone would consider Herod the villain today? We don't even recognize true heroes, like our soldiers in uniform trying to protect lives and bring peace and stability a world away. Instead people villify them and what they do, at the same time praising these "revolutionary" heroes who use murder as a tactic.

I think it's quite simple: do you want to save lives, or take them? What is your primary consideration? If people don't care about lives, they're not good. It's that simple.

So let's back to the good-evil dichotomy, rather than the system-revolutionary dichotomy we exist in today. Not everything that challenges authority is good, and not all authority is bad. I just wish more people would figure that out.

To Love, Honor and Vacuum

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At 8:51 PM , Blogger LilBear said…

You're absolutely right. Herod was awful, but in today's society his actions would be overlooked. Why is it that we tolerate bad behavior? I think this world has become desensitized.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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