We do not yet have a safe place in our world for radicals that wish for the good of humanity. Unfortunately recent news reports show that the latest radical to grab worldwide headlines, Edward Snowden, has no safe place to live peacefully. This is now nearly two months after he fled Honolulu, and then most recently Hong Kong a month ago. The effects of acting on heretic beliefs in ancient and modern society have not changed. Radicals have always been imprisoned extensively or killed.

Galileo claimed that the earth revolves around the sun. Jesus Christ declared himself as the messiah. And Martin Luther King Jr. peacefully protested for the civil rights of blacks.

Edward Snowden demonstrates that the pattern goes unchanged.

What should we make of this Snowden case? I think it’s too early to fully understand the effects of extensive worldwide government surveillance and data tracking. But I do think we can see what it’s like to be a modern day creative extremist in pursuit of justice: Stuck inside an airport with no legitimate citizenship and most of all, a highly desired target prosecution.

MLK wrote in his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”:

So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill three men were crucified. [Site of Jesus’ crucifixion.] We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime–the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

It is my hope that Edward Snowden is an extremist for truth and goodness as well.

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John Marbach

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07 2013