What we fear

We should be risking love

"We will not live in fear.” President Bush’s statement to the American people attempts to convince us that the way to ensure that we will not live in fear is to attack Iraq. Surely, the president seems to be suggesting, we can live without fear if we exert our power and eliminate the threat of our enemies.

Yet amid the debates about the propriety of our strategy toward Iraq and the appropriate outrage against proposed preemptive strikes, we have not adequately reflected on the president’s presumption. Are we afraid to confront the logic of our fear? Contrast President Bush’s statement with 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.” Is it the dramatic, perhaps even overpowering use of violence that is most likely to cast out fear? Or perfect love?


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