It is a good thing I do my dinnertime reading while sitting down. For yesterday evening I found myself agreeing with that old Clinton Democrat Lanny Davis. He wrote an excellent big picture article debunking moral equivalence arguments that equate Israel and Hamas or, worse, blame Israel for Hamas’ terrorist attacks.
One nice thing about being old is that you remember important facts that others haven’t been taught yet. So Davis goes through some history to shoot down excuses made for Hamas. He well concludes that, in this conflict, “There is no ‘on the other hand.’” Read it for yourself.
Me recommending a Clinton Democrat to you…. Good thing I’m sitting down again. But sometimes it takes a somewhat cynical realist to reject moral equivalence arguments.
I will say it does not reflect well on us people, even on the church, that it has to be said Israel and Hamas are NOT morally equivalent, and that it is an awful thing to even suggest that, directly or indirectly. Heck, most war criminals conceal their crimes; Hamas practically livestreams them. Their horrific crimes are no secret. But even a few church leaders are so intellectually and morally bankrupt as to make moral equivalence excuses for them and/or blame for Israel. So it has to be said.
But I will keep this brief and try not to rant. I promise. So I will not deal with those who actually support Hamas as some BLM groups do. We’ve already warned you that wokeness is evil.
But do not look to apostates to have the clarity to reject moral equivalence. We know that the mainline Protestant denominations are morally and spiritually blind, but they just had to remind us with their empty statements on the Israel-Hamas conflict. I echo Mark Tooley’s advice to my Jewish friends (And I have quite a few from my school days so this is personal with me.):
Jewish friends need not fret very much about these statements, which speak for almost no one, including the shrinking numbers of people in these once influential denominations. The political pronouncements of Mainline denominations are unserious and nearly irrelevant, except as examples of how once great and mighty churches commit suicide.
But it is not only mainline apostates that deceive and are deceived with moral equivalency falsehoods. There is a type of idealistic evangelical that is prone to these. I’m having to deal with one who is too influential in a study group I lead. These have empathy and compassion and the knowledge that “all have fallen short of the glory of God” yet God loves all — all good and vital to possess and know — but then are too empathetic toward terrorists and criminals, thinking there are significant reasons behind their evil other than the fact they are profoundly evil, more so than the average sinner. Or they think God is as vapid as them and considers all are equally sinful. So they make excuses and even victim-blame or self-blame.
I was shocked to see this amongst evangelical youth after 9-11. Some went beyond puzzling what we had done to deserve that to concluding we had done something to deserve that.
Those who so lack moral judgement and think in such moral equivalence terms are usually the same people who embrace woke ideologies and “affirm” what God has condemned. I think evangelical idealism based on pseudo-pious sentimentality rather than on the hard-edged truth of scripture is a factor. It corrodes one’s ability to think well.
But that is my theory, and there may more significant factors at play. But if you see someone treating Israel and Hamas as anywhere near morally equivalent, even in an indirect way, take that as a sign that he is not to be listened to, regardless of his background. And educate yourself and take pains not to become so foolish. Utter lack of moral judgement, as displayed in moral equivalence fallacies, is not a fruit of the Spirit no matter how winsome it may seem.