• Compassion can kill

    Posted by Micah

    10 August, 2010

    By Micah Challenge's International Director, Joel Edwards

    Curiosity might kill the cat, but since when should compassion kill the aid worker?

    When news broke about the brutal murder of ten aid workers in Afghanistan I was in Sweden with a room full of missionaries - some of whom had been in Afghanistan. I was about to preach on what the prophet Micah had to say about justice...

    The aid workers were from a Christian based International Assistance Mission (IAM) and killed in a remote area of the Sharrun Valley. There is still some mystery about whether or not the Taleban were responsible for the murders. The killings had the tell-tale signs of bandits as opposed to Taleban insurgence.

    And the discussion has also led to whether or not they were missionaries. As everyone knows not everyone who works with Christian agencies are necessarily committed Christians. It's like assuming that anyone who is paid by the army is necessarily a soldier.

    But why should such energy be spent in discussing whether or not people are Christian missionaries or not? In the 21st century such outrageous behaviour simply shouldn't be an issue. Our civil liberties should mean that personal faith and good deeds which flow from them should hardly be a cause for execution. The inference is that faith - even proselytising faith - is inconsistent with being a person of compassion. Every nation has a right to its state religion but this atrocity is even more reason for us to ask critical questions about a political climate in which people may in some degree be worthy of death because they go against the religious grain. It's tantamount to people in Britain expelling Jehovah Witnesses for going door to door or imprisoning Muslims for converting Black men to the Nation of Islam.

    The issue here should have nothing to do with whether or not these ten people were Christian missionaries. No energy should be spent in deciphering their religious credentials. It has everything to do with why it is that aid workers serving the poor and vulnerable could be killed whilst caring for people for whom they had no other obligation apart from human compassion.

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    This article first appeared on Joel's Blog, Micah Challenge International