Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Onward Christian Soldiers...

Let's get back to Norman Kember, the Christian peace activist kidnapped in Iraq and subsequently freed by an SAS raid. Leaving aside this tiresome 'debate' as to whether he should be forced (under threat of a bloody a good horsewhipping)to publically thank his rescuers, the whole affair does raise the interesting question as to whether force should be used to save pacifists who find themselves in mortal danger? I could quite understand if Mr Kember, who doesn't believe that the use of force to resolve problems can be morally justified, didn't want to 'thank' the soldiers who saved him: clearly, by doing so he would be implicity acknowledging the legitimacy of using violence in certain situations.

But surely there must be a solution to situations of this kind which could satisfy the moral and political requirements of all parties? Couldn't the Salvation Army be used to intervene and rescue hostages? You can't tell me that they don't have some sort of 'Special Forces' contingent, trained in covert conversions and fund-raising. In the case of Mr Kember and his fellow hostages, they could have parachuted a Salvation Army brass band into Baghdad (clad in balaclavas and wearing bandoliers containing temperance leaflets). They could have subdued the kidnappers with rousing renditions of 'Abide With Me' and 'Come All Ye Faithful', made a collection on behalf of the homeless and ben out of there with the hostages within the hour.

There are, of course, precedents for this sort of thing. It is well known that the Pope's security is provided by a crack team of Jesuit priests, all highly trained and sporting their crucifixes in quick-draw shoulder holsters. At the first sign of evil they can whip them out and shout "Get thee behind me, Satan!", whilst hurling themselves protectively in front of his Holiness. Their special equipment also includes pens which squirt holy water, bibles with communion wafers hidden in the spine and rosary beads strung on wire for garotting sinners.

Overall, I think you'll agree that, once again, I've come up with a perfectly sensible and workable solution for a sensitive problem.



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