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It's always interested me that people who identify themselves as adherents of a religious faith of any sort will nevertheless violate the basic tenets of the faith, such as the universal injunction to treat others as you would have them treat you, commit no murder, etc.

The source of the irony, I believe, is a confusion in thinking that goes something like this: if I profess a religion, it is reasonable to believe that I will obey its tenets.

That's not the way people behave however, and you don't need to look to Kosovo for the proof.

Religious injunctions, or religion based moral injunctions, exist to encourage people to behave in a civilized manner, they don't guaranty that they will do so.

There are stronger passions involved that law, morality, and religion can only hope to dampen. Maybe they do by and large, but when law, order, and morality break down, as has happened to some substantial degree in Kosovo, the unrestrained passion for revenge, upholding honor, etc, the competing morality, one might say, a more bestial variety, rises to the fore and you get the atrocities reported in the editorial above.

Do we blame law, morality, and religion, for the violent breaches, because they proved powerless in the heat of the moment?

I don't think so.

What I think must happen is that order has to be restored, and a civilized morality encouraged, backed by law and religion and family and individual approval. We start from square one, all over again, as has happened in the world from day one.

We're just lucky, here, that the breakdowns are relatively few and far between.

Are we immune from such breakdowns? Hardly. See, for example, the Mylai Massacre, and the daily crime reports from any of the thousands of police and court jurisdictions across the U.S.

When they say "Eternal vigilance is the price of Liberty," they means it.


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