The Peloponnesian War, for those who are unfamiliar, was the last great war of Classical Greece, fought between Athens and Sparta and their various allies from 431 to 404 BC. It came only fifty years after a united Greece had turned away the Second Persian invasion of King Xerxes, made famous by the movie "300". Whereas the former Greek allies had first held the Persians in a dramatic standoff at the Battle of Thermopylae, and then finally defeated the "god-king" at the battle of Plataea, now after thirty years of unbroken peace the former allies found themselves bitter rivals fighting a long, vicious war for control of Greece. It was the last great war because it reduced both sides after thirty years of hard fighting to devastated shells of their former selves, and paved the way for the Macedonian invasion which gave rise to the empire of Alexander the Great (and eventually along came the Romans).
What does that have to do with Orlando and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, you ask? First of all, you should know that Dietrich Bonhoeffer attended Tubingen university in the early 1920s, where he joined a fraternity called the Hedgehogs. The name was a reference to a well-known literary quotation from the Classical Greek poet Archilochus, who coined the expression, "the fox knows many tricks, but the hedgehog knows one good one."
Like the 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae, Bonhoeffer fought what was ultimately a hopeless battle against an overwhelming force, simply because he knew it was the right thing to do. Bonhoeffer never asked to be a martyr, and when his professors browbeat him for refusing to yield to their particular interpretations of scripture, he simply stuck to his theological truths and refuted their errors as logically and respectfully as he knew how. It's hilarious to me to read about his professors' accusations of his supposed arrogance, when if you look at the man's overall life you will see that he was one of the most selfless men who ever lived.
Much like Bonhoeffer, the ancient Greeks were big fans of a hedgehog-style defense strategy, and when the Persian army demanded that the Greek defenders lay down their weapons and surrender, the Spartans famously replied in defiance, "come and take them." To put things in a slightly more modern context, Thomas Jefferson wrote, "In matters of fashion, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock." Sometimes going along to get along is not a valid life strategy when it requires you to go along with things which you know are wrong.
Now to bring this lesson to the painful present, let's talk about the fallout from Orlando. As I see it, there are at least three erroneous conclusions which have simultaneously been drawn by different groups in response to this terrible tragedy, and I will address all three to the best of my abilities.
First off, to the Trumps of the world: to come out over the airwaves and blast an entire group of people over the actions of one psycho makes you seem ignorant, irrational, and frankly just as hateful as the evil person who pulled the trigger. To not even address the suffering and grief of the families involved while trumpeting your own rightness makes you seem like the most soulless, inhuman piece of crap who ever wore a hairpiece. You should remember that blaming a culture for your nation's problems is how the German people started down a very, very dark path that led to war crimes and ultimately the ruin of their state.
Second, to the Hillarys of the world: see my first sentence above. To blame guns, gun owners, gun lobbies, and the "gun culture" of our country for what was undeniably a willful act by a human being makes you look as out of touch with reality as someone who wants to build a wall and make the Mexicans pay for it. Yes, guns make it easier for bad people to do bad things, but California has already gone way, way above and beyond any other state in terms of controlling "assault weapons," and they also happened to be the site of the most recent terrorist attack on US soil before this one. Guns are a tool in the hands of their operators, and as such are incapable of corrupting the ones who wield them. To ban tools I rely on for self-preservation because a few fools have misused them is about as smart as trying to ban cars. You will also never succeed in getting criminals to follow the law...that's why they're criminals.
Thirdly, to any of you who might think that this tragedy is somehow less reprehensible because of the identity of the victims, you are unworthy of the title of human being. I have heard people publicly claim on social media that the evangelical community is somehow remaining silent on this latest terrorist attack because we tacitly condone the killing of gays. This is patently false. I listen to a Christian radio station every single day on the way to and from work, and this week the airwaves are filled with prayers, condolences, and even calls for blood donors to come to the aid of those still clinging to life. I personally find this as reprehensible as the tragedies which were perpetrated in Chattanooga, San Bernardino, Paris, and Brussels.
The time is soon coming, and may already be at hand, when we as followers of Jesus Christ may have to take a much more loud and public stance than ever we've taken before in our lives. Whether the issue we're forced to stand against is radical Islam, anti-gay violence, or government tyranny at the hands of either liberal or conservative tyrants, we are fast approaching a time in our nation's history when people will look back and say, "how could anyone stay on the couch when things like that were happening?"
What will you fight for?