Should You Punch a Nazi?

Should you punch a Nazi?

There’s a thought in some circles that goes like this: Nazis bad; punching Nazis, good. There are even videos of people smacking modern day Nazis out of nowhere while they’re talking to a reporter or walking along the street, a vicarious cathartic release spread far and wide over social media in a time when racism and the rejuvenation of white supremacy is rightly called out.

But, should you punch a Nazi?

If a person is evil* and is promoting an evil thing, is it a bad thing to knock their block off? How could it be, right? After all, the world would be a whole lot better off if we’d done a lot more Nazi punching back in the 1930’s instead of waiting for the 1940’s to roll on out.

Maybe. Probably.

So, if I hate and oppose evil, I can hate and punch Nazis, right? That tracks?

What about people who disagree with me, politically? Their ideas are bringing the country down, and if the country goes down, people will suffer. Better punch them. What about people who discriminate against others for their gender, race, or how they identify sexually? Or Pro-choicers? Gun enthusiasts? Atheists? Fundamentalist Christians? Non-mask wearers? Progressives? Conservatives? People with mullets in the Year of Our Lord 2020? All doing harm in their own way. All punchable.

Right?

Let’s toss Doug in there, too. Doug was having a hard time and I lent him money when he needed it most and he never paid me back, even after he got that huge settlement. Doug is a jerk and definitely deserves a punch in the face if I’ve ever know anyone who does. And Roberta. She looked at me sour, cut the line at the Save Mart, and ruined my whole day with her nasty face. Punching her would be a blessing to all, and might even improve her looks a little. Bonus blessing.

Look, there’s a lot to be mad about is what I’m saying. You know this. I know this. But, this call to punch, to insult, to disparage, to ostracize, to dismiss. To demonize.

To hate.

And all in the appeal to some moral high place upon which the righteous stand but the unrighteous do not? It’s nuts. Who is the righteous? Who is the unrighteous? Well, that’s simple. The righteous is us. The unrighteous is them.

The othering of those who do not believe “correctly” is not helping. Anything. It’s not helping you or me or anything at all. What it is doing is dividing. It’s defeating conversation and honest debate. It’s defeating kindness and love and change.

That’s right, change. If those who rail against evil do not temper their invective with genuine love and care, they defeat their own cause. They prove that their cause is less important to them than ego and self-satisfaction. Because to what end? What does punching a Nazi accomplish?

“Well, it makes me feel good.”

And how many evils have been done in the name of that?

There’s a great Martin Luther King Jr. quote that’s getting a lot of play lately and that my wife reminded us of during our in-home church yesterday:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”

Hate is corrosive and evil. It doesn’t matter who you hate or what they’ve done, hate is not justified. Ever.

I recently participated in an online discussion about whether it’s possible to “love everyone,” including rapists, serial killers, pedophiles, etc. The notion that anyone on this planet could love everyone was called “silly.” It was dismissed outright as a fairytale. But, it’s not.

I have love for everyone. Some people annoy me, some I think are toxic and don’t need to be part of my life…some have even killed people close to me, but there’s still love there. Even if I don’t know a person personally, I still see them as my brother and sister in this world.

And I’m not special! There a plenty just like me quietly shaking their heads and hoping for more kindness and a better world.

Because we know hate does not drive out hate and we hold fast to this one truth: no one enters this world determined to be a monster.

Not one.

And so, when someone does something horrible—when they injure or rape or kill or abuse or commit any other terrible number of atrocities—it is a great sadness. I am sad for them. The monster.

And that sadness is a tragedy adjacent to the horrible thing they’ve done.

It’s what we have in common that makes me love them. Our shared humanity and divine promise. Whatever they have lost along the way, whatever someone has done, I still want better for them. And that’s love.

When you have a love like that, it’s hard to insult and disparage and ostracize and dismiss and demonize and hate. It’s hard to feel any satisfaction at all from doing something as pointless as punching a Nazi.

When you love, not only do you not want to punch, you also know it just won’t do any good. You see that so clearly.

Except for Doug. He owes me money.**

* I would argue we should never, ever call a person evil. Acts can be evil. Deeds can be evil. Knievel can be Evil. But people? Sure, they CAN be evil. But for you to say so is to place a judgement on them and their heart, and that you cannot do. You simply cannot know such a thing. Let God sort out who is evil and who is not. It’s just not our job. 

**There is no Doug. Sorry, Doug! You exist only in my heart.

…One last thing. The video below was also part of the lesson my wife shared with us on Sunday. It’s a beautiful rendition of the Savior’s words, direct from the New Testament. He, of course, is the originator of all these thoughts.

Photo by Lukas from Pexels

Demony Cars

This is from 2005:

I think the powers of darkness tried to kill me last night.

How do I know this? First of all, it was nighttime. Everyone knows that Satan would not kill you during the day. It just wouldn’t be cool.

Second of all, my almost death came in three parts. Three is a very significant number in demonology. If you take the number three and times it by two then you have a six. If you have three sixes (Notice how all of the sudden the number three popped up again?) and put them together you have… that’s right. 666.

The third indicator of darkness was my own personal road rage. I am normally a calm, peaceful individual. When I drive, I imagine that my wheels are gliding along a road made of water and incense. Yes, it makes no sense, but can you imagine two things that inspire more tranquility than water and incense?  I certainly can’t. So, how then could it be that I, the envy of Tibetan Monks everywhere (especially in, y’know, Tibet) could experience road rage? It’s not possible. Unless… unless powerful dark forces were at work. Which they WERE.

First came the Omen. I had driven way out into the country to pick up one of the youths in my church to take him to an activity. He wasn’t there. Why was he not there? He was, at that very moment, rehearsing in a choir for a performance of ‘Handel’s Messiah.’ Truly, dark forces had already taken control of the evening.

So I made my way back into the city towards the church, alone. When you are alone, you are the most vulnerable to a Satanic attack. Satan wasted no time; upon making my way onto the main road that led back to town, I was immediately confronted with a Honda Civic. An evil Honda Civic.  How did I know it was evil?  It was a Honda Civic. Also, we were on a 50 mph road and this car had the audacity to only go 35 mph. I remained calm. I thought about flashing my lights.  “No, no. I can just pass him.” So I did. Crisis averted, right?

Wrong. This was just the first salvo. I was being lulled into a state of security. Having already encountered one lazy driver, what were the odds that I’d encounter two? Pretty even, as it turned out.

As soon as I was back into town, a Mustang pulled out in front of me. No problem there, it wasn’t like he cut me off or anything. But wait… what was this? Yep, you’ve already guessed it. This Mustang, this car with so much horsepower in it it was actually NAMED AFTER A HORSE, was doing about 25 mph in a 45 mph zone. “No problem,” I said to myself. “I can just pass him.”

A couple of oncoming cars blocked my initial attempts, but soon I was on my way. “Plenty of room,” I thought to myself. So there I am, rocking out to Enya, and it’s just as I’m up alongside the Mustang and staring down the headlights of the car that was rushing quickly towards me that I realized something very, very wrong was occurring. The Mustang was speeding up!  I sped up more, and the Mustang matched me. Demony sounds emanated from it’s engine.

At about 3 seconds away from my own death, I slammed on the brakes and took my place once more behind the Mustang. Thoughts of water and incense left me and I cursed Enya’s Celtic wordplay. I was mad now. The Mustang immediately pulled off to the side of the road. I do not know why it did this; I can only suspect it might have been pulled over by an invisible demon cop that reprimanded it for it’s failed attempt on my life. But that is only speculation on my part.

It was time for my revenge. It was time to rage.

I honked my horn.

But even then, Satan was not done. Everything that had happened so far on the road that evening was just a prelude to the ultimate evil.

That’s right, a mini van.

I was not 100 feet further down the road when the white beast pulled out in front of me. There was a stop sign on it’s side of the street, but it did not care.  It was time for it to go, right then. How else to ensure my death?  So there I am, doing 50 mph in a 45 mph zone (remember, I was raging) and this mini van, this monster from hell, pulls right in front of me and proceeds to go precisely as slow as he needs to to make sure that I rear-end him. But I was smarter than that,  I knew what to do. I slowed down to an appropriate speed and didn’t tail him.  Though I was raging, I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction.

Three attempts on my life and I had emerged victorious. But it wasn’t just me.  I had protection, and I knew who my provider was. I was alive and it felt good.  I was also in the perfect spot to exact my final revenge. Again, I honked my horn.

That’s right, two horn honkings. Take that, Satan.