Just what have the Christians accomplished here?
Now on the one hand, we're not talking about mere words, but executions of three men. The media focuses on the three men being Christians, which has Indonesian Christians torching cars and government building and targeting Muslims, though I haven't yet seen deaths reported. Like that matters.
So what did these good Christians do that was so abhorrent to those crazy Muslims?
Fabianus Tibo, 60, Marinus Riwu, 48, and Dominggus da Silva, 42, were convicted of leading a Christian militia that launched a series of attacks in May 2000 Â including a machete and gun assault on an Islamic school that left at least 70 people dead. Muslim groups put the death toll at 191.
I thought maybe they gave a speech at a university or somesuch. Seeing the above crimes might seem to be the end of the story. But there is a little more. The incident above was one of the worst in a wave of sectarian violence that killed around a thousand people of both faiths before peace was restored.
The rub is that Muslims who have been tried for their killings have never been given a sentence harsher than 15 years, and most of them were never even tried.
This execution is widely thought to be a trade off with the Muslim community for the upcoming execution of the Bali Bombing terrorists. In other words, they decided that with the way the Muslims react to things, they can't just execute Muslims unless they throw some Christians into the furnace first.
Well, for one, I can't patently condone the death penalty anyway, though I'm not radically opposed to it. I can see why a government would kill three guys who massacred as many as two hundred people.
But I understand the anger of Indonesian Christians. Why aren't Muslim perpetrators of the same violence facing the same penalties as these three? Is the Indonesian government truly that corrupt and afraid of doing right? Silly me, of course they are.
The problem is, that sort of anger, the one that leads you to kill civilians without discrimination, torch cars, bomb mosques, and so on, is not Christian.
One of the executed Christian's sons said the following:
"My father begged us not to be angry, not to seek revenge," Tibo's son, Robert, told Christian followers after the morning prayers. "He asked us to forgive those who did this to him. 'God blesses all of us,' he said."
While one might question whether a person who massacred between seventy and two hundred people had any right to ask for such forgiveness for those meting out justice upon him, the sentiment is biblically correct. Christianity is to be a religion of peace and forgiveness. Christians in Indonesia need to search for their faith, and reach out to their neighbors with the love of Christ. So their government is unfair and corrupt. That doesn't absolve anyone of the responsibility to be who they claim to be, "Christ Ones."
More violence is not the answer in this case either.