Stupid benevolence 103

Scott Johnson of PowerLine wonders how Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who tried to detonate a bomb at a Christmas tree-lighting in Portland, Oregon, became an American citizen:

Today’s Los Angeles Times features a profile of the would-be Portland bomber named Mohamed Mohamud. Those of us wondering how the Mohamud family was admitted to the United States, or how Mohamud came to swear fealty to the United States and become a naturalized citizen, will have to look elsewhere for an answer. The best the Times’s two reporters could come up with is this: “He and his parents, Mariam and Osman Barre, came to America when he was 5 as part of a diaspora that brought tens of thousands of Somali refugees to U.S. cities. About 6,500 Somalis are said to live in the Portland area.” Well, thanks.

Here we found a part of the answer:

Mohamud’s family fled Somalia in the early 1990s, and his father, Osman Barre, a well-educated engineer, worked to establish them in Oregon.

“Osman was very sophisticated,” said Chris Oace, a former refugee worker for Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon who helped the family resettle here in the early 1990s. “Some refugees are afraid of having Christian churches help them. But it wasn’t an issue with his family at all.”

What a menace the well-meaning are! They do so much harm.

Stupid benevolence, which characterizes contemporary Christianity, is a serious fault, always dangerous and often damaging or even fatal.

How often can we know enough about other people’s wants and needs to be certain that our interference will do good? How often and how accurately can we foretell the consequences of our actions?

As a moral goal, trying not to do harm, though unambitious, is at least respectful of our fellow human beings, and difficult enough to achieve.

Jillian Becker   November 29, 2010