To the Editor:

While I am sure they wrote with the best of intentions, I find Jacob Paul’s and Ruddy Wang’s article (“U.S. must pursue justice in tune with Christ,” 10/11) profoundly disturbing, if not simply naive. Why must a nation conduct itself according to the tenets of one religion’s leader?

It seems as though their answer to this crisis is to tie our hands with our own fallibility and culpability. They “call for prayerful reflection about this past month’s events, and [they] call for repentance on our part.” I believe the people in the World Trade Center towers had nothing to repent for when they died. I would rather call for swift action, with the hope that it prevents any further loss of innocent life.

Paul and Wang claim, “Our only hope is real, peaceful, just reconciliation.” That is noble, but unrealistic. In a perfect world, America might be able to react to last month’s tragedies with love and understanding, but love and understanding will hardly stop ideologues from sending planes into buildings filled with innocents. Bin Laden said on Oct. 7, according to an ABC translation, “I swear by God the Great, America will never dream and those who live in America will never taste security and safety.” His followers will not rest until Americans live every day in fear, without freedom. And that is unacceptable.

The authors ask, “When both sides of a conflict are chronically connected in a web of violence and hate, how can one claim authority as the pure and righteous deliverer of justice?” Does any civilized person believe that those who slaughtered more than 5,000 Americans are deliverers of any form of justice whatsoever? I don’t think I’m being self-righteous when I claim the targets of the violence as a reason to claim authority.

There is a difference between office workers and those who murdered them. A large difference. People who commit such horrifying acts divest themselves of any humanity. For them, an equitable legal system should be at most a luxury. Retribution is not too base a response.

Do not look to God when deciding what to do in the face of tragedy and terror. If He had all the answers, we wouldn’t be in this mess. To claim God is the beacon of right is to stand on shaky ground while I point to bin Laden as a man invoking God as a compass to action.

Certainly, I’m not equating followers of Christ with bin Laden. But I fear the day when U.S. actions are dictated by someone’s religion. Instead of blind faith that justice will be done, we must actively defend liberty, eliminate inequity, and pursue peace. They were the goals of our founders; they were the goals of our grandfathers; they are our goals today.

Brian Curtin ’03

OCTOBER 12, 2001