You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war."Time Magazine explains how Robertson's comments help Chavez. As of now, Robertson has made no additional comments concerning the statements he made on the show. Though his statement has incited comment from practically everyone else, including the editorial in today's Miami Herald, asking the FCC to consider fining Robertson.
While Robertson could be being widely quoted out of context, it does give us pause to consider what we, as Christians, say about the use of force. These are not statements we should make or take lightly as Jesus said,
You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.—Matthew 5:43-48Following Jesus' teaching is not easy, but it has to be better to follow the hard path set by our Lord than taking the path that seems easier, but is so clearly the way of the world. Jesus willingly died on the cross rather than raise a hand against those who put him to death and he called those who follow him to be peacemakers.
Of course, Christian history has not always been so simple and quite a lot of thought has gone into Just War Theory, to decide when the use of force might be justified. The Adobe .PDF format booklet on Just War Theory from the Christian Ethics class held at King of Peace earlier this year, gives what Christianity has traditionally taught about the use of force. There is also a Tribune & Georgian religion column on Just War in the archives.
What do you think? Assasination is cheaper than starting a war, but can assasination be justified? When are Christians justified in advocating the use of force?