Amid Terrorism, Church Divided Over Whether to Practice Pacifism or Take Up Arms


Amidst the wave of deadly Islamic terror attacks in Europe, the Church is divided over whether it should practice pacifism or take up arms.

The recent murder of a Normandy priest at the hands ISIS jihadists sent shock waves throughout Europe. Many see the bloody attack as yet another piece of an increasingly bloody picture of France. The country is still reeling from an earlier attack in Nice, when an terrorist mowed down a a crowd with a car, killing 84 people and injuring hundreds more.

French church leaders are left wondering if Christians have a moral duty to distance themselves from Muslims out of safety or embrace them with love.

Rev. Sally Smith, a vicar at St. Mark’s Church in Stoke-on-Trent, England, believes churches should open their doors wide in the face of terrorism.

Smith writes in The Guardian that Christians should not respond to senseless murder with hatred because their own faith centers on “a barbaric act of murderous cruelty, against a man who, by anyone’s standards, didn’t deserve it…Jesus.”

Smith argues the same power that resurrected Christ is “available” to Christians so that they can respond with love when the rest of the world reacts with hatred.

“We must resist the temptation to fear. We must remind ourselves that we are people of hospitality, particularly to the stranger and especially to the people who look different from us and those who may worship in a very different way than we do,” she writes.

Smith is joined by many others who believe that instead of closing the doors of the church, the church needs to open its arms more now than ever.

But she is careful to speak against naivety.

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