From the Archbishop

The hidden cost of terrorism

First thoughts

November 23 2015

I am daily dismayed by the evidence of human suffering of people caught up in terrorism and war. The publication this month of the Global Terrorism Index, developed by the Institute for Economics and Peace, took this a step further. I was really shaken to learn that the economic cost of terrorism in 2014 was $US52 billion ($A72 billion), with more than 32,000 people killed – more than half by Islamic State and Boko Haram. The cost of countering terrorism around the world is about $US117 billion ($A161 billion).

So nearly $US170 billion ($A238 billion) is expended just in coping with terrorism. This means we are forgoing enormous opportunities for positive human developing, for freeing people from preventable illnesses, growing crops and living sustainable lives – simply because of one problem that should be the most preventable because it is caused by humans.

We may struggle with natural events, like floods and tsunamis, but it is crazy that we cannot find the change of heart, the different mind, the empathy for others, to eliminate some of these things that are so costly.

Christians must take a considered position, remembering the heart of our founder, Jesus Christ, and his teaching against taking up the sword. Some have taken this as a call for absolute pacifism. It is certainly a challenging teaching about how we need to put the needs of others and their flourishing before these things that simply dissipate and waste our energies.

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