“The video shows him being burned alive.”
Nearly five hundred eighty-four years ago, on May 30, 1431, a nineteen year old girl was burned at the stake for heresy, after a church trial that was far more political in nature than religious. This girl is known throughout the world as St. Joan of Arc. She’s been reflected in works of art and literature and is a patron Saint of France.
And… it was her image which overlay itself on my brain when I heard the news that the Jordanian pilot, Moaz al-Kasahbeh, had been executed by being burned alive. To my mind it was a miscalculation of the greatest proportion. By choosing this method of execution ISIS not only reinforced their evil nature, they also demonstrated their absolute lack of understanding of Western culture… the very thing they claim to be fighting against.
Joan of Arc was not canonized because she involved herself in politics, leading battles for Charles VII, King of France, but because of her absolute faith and piety, even at the stake. While there is something dramatic about a young woman riding into battle wearing men’s clothes, her real allure comes from the courage she showed up until the very end.
“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.”
Joan of Arc
Throughout history there is one great truth, one belief found as part of every philosophy, every religious creed (more versions of the Golden Rule at Religioustolerance.org):
"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." Luke 6:31, King James Version.
"...thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.", Leviticus 19:18
"None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself." Number 13 of Imam "Al-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths."
We must not sacrifice tolerance and we must continue to demand and fight for tolerance from the world in general. It is for this that we fight… for this that St. Joan of Arc fought… for this that Moaz al-Kasasbeh gave his own life.
“I took a photo when I saw the guy drive away like he hadn’t just hit the parked car.”
The book I am currently working on is based on the difference between moral vs. legal law. In some cases, like hitting another car while driving, the two laws align easily. Legally you are required to stop and try to identify the owner of the parked car. Morality demands the same thing. But in some cases these two laws come into conflict- and that is where it gets interesting.
I was reminded of this while watching a new show I’ve discovered, When Calls the Heart, on the Hallmark channel. It takes place in a frontier coal mining town just after there has been a huge explosion that killed half of the miners in the town. This has left half the women windowed. In this episode the Mine owner has served eviction notices to the widows… something that is legally correct under the contracts the miners signed, but otherwise morally wrong.
It seems there are many time in our lives when we come upon these types of decisions. In this case it is easy to see the side of the widows, but more difficult to view the decision through the eyes of the mine owner. One of the reasons we have laws and contracts is so that everyone knows what the consequences are of a situation. It takes away the subjectivity and makes it, supposedly, and objective decision.
Anyone with kids knows how important this is. As parents we are often confronted with situations where our child has done something wrong, but given the extenuating circumstances we might be able to overlook it. The problem is that kids are very concrete thinkers. They need to black and white to help them make future decisions without having to wonder, is this a time I’ll get into trouble or not.
Marybeth, the main character in my book, likes life to be simple and clear. A rule is a rule, and that is how she makes her decisions. But, as the name implies, even playing by the rules can have unintended consequences, especially when it comes to protecting the environment in a country where laws don’t do the job.
The older we get, the more our big questions in life become about living in the gray area. Complexity demands this and might make us wish for the simple and pure. As I tell my daughter, though, life is about learning. And for my part, the complexity of challenging decisions is part of what keeps me growing and alive.
Have you had to face any complex decisions lately? At what age do you think kids can handle the difference between moral and legal code? I love to hear from my readers. And to prove it leave me a comment during the month of February and you'll be entered to win a copy of any of Julia Green's Decluttering/Feng Shui Kindle books. Check back at the end of the month to see if you won and to let me know which one you want.
(Please note - while I love and appreciate your comments on twitter and Facebook, only comments made here, on my blog, will be entered into the drawing - this way all who read the blog post can engage in a shared conversation about it.)
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