In the wake of Charlottesville, the Internet can be divided into two (three) people: the people crying that we should all “love our enemy;” the people shouting “They are literally trying to kill me;” (and the neo-Nazi defenders, who promote killing the aforementioned people; don’t even go down that rabbit hole).
The crux of the argument between the first two groups: Can You Love the Enemy who is Trying to Kill You?
Can You Love the Enemy Who is Trying to Kill You?
Spoiler Alert: if you’re Christian, you have to find a way from here to there. Jesus himself says the problematic phrase “Love your enemies.” But there are some twists and turns before we get there.
The problem with the enemy-loving question, especially on the Internet, is that most people argue from a Kantian perspective. To be perfectly objective, Immanuel Kant is a German philosopher who tried to universalize his own privilege as a mechanism for ethical discernment. Those calling for enemy-loving are often trying to universalize a moral claim in order to apply it to someone else. More pointedly, they tend to be privileged people suggesting that because I am white and I have been your enemy, you must love me. People who have done wrong have a vested interest in convincing the wronged to love their enemies. This is why Kant is insufficient.
Taking Kant out of the equation, we have two other starting points.