There once was a TV show called “My Name Is Earl” that had as a recurring guest star comedian Brett Butler. Her character was a woman of questionable character who routinely stole things. When confronted, her regular retort was: “Don’t you judge me.” Bible verses are often quoted “judge not lest ye be judged” as a rational for not passing judgment on others. But since when is judging such a bad thing? The real question we need to ask is upon what are we basing that judgment?
In Arizona, the governor signed a bill into law that was designed to give the police another tool to quell rampant crime committed by illegal aliens. Opponents to this law are up in arms claiming that the law will lead to profiling; the same complaint that many civil libertarians cry about airport screenings in the post 9/11 age.
Profiling is not an insult, it is not discrimination. It is simply a use of logic in determining likely risks for crime or threats. In Arizona, there are not that many “aliens” of the non-Mexican variety. Those few immigrants from European or other countries are more likely legal immigrants than those from Mexico. It is logical to consider this fact, given the level of difficulty for people from any other country to even get to Arizona. Mexicans simply have to cross the border, be it on foot, or in the trunk of a car, or in the back of a cargo truck or what have you, ergo more Mexicans have access to the border. It is more likely a Mexican will be an illegal immigrant than someone else.
Similarly, the vast majority of terrorist acts in the world are committed by Islamic extremists—not all, but most. Islam is the religion of the vast majority of the Middle East—not all, but most. Most of those terrorists that have been captured or killed come from a small number of countries—not all, but most. It is not outside the realm of possibility to assume that most terrorists will not be a red-headed, pasty-faced Irish kid from Des Moines, Iowa. He may be, but not nearly as likely as would be an Islamic cleric from Iran.
We decry profiling because we don’t want to be judged on our appearance, or ethnicity, or gender or any other category. We have spent many years trying to equalize the world. We insist that we view each other only as human beings; individuals indistinguishable one from another. We do this so we can make the claim that all people have the same opportunities and same rights. The only problem with this logic is that we are not all the same. We have differences—significant differences. To ignore these differences is tantamount to plucking one’s eyes out. We need to recognize these differences and use the knowledge to come to a better understanding of our world.
As for judging, the scripture in Matthew says judge not lest ye be judged. This does not mean don’t judge. It means don’t judge if you are doing wrong yourself. It means don’t be a hypocrite. When we are judged, it makes us more aware of our actions and less likely to do something wrong. You cannot justify doing wrong by insisting that it is wrong for others to judge you. Judging is not inherently wrong and using discerning judgment can avert tragedy when considering the common factors linking perpetrators of crimes. There is nothing wrong with judging. If you are a citizen, you have nothing to worry about. Show your ID and go on about your way. It may not seem fair that you are being asked to prove yourself during an airport screening, but it is an unfortunate side effect of the world in which we live—blame the criminals. If you are illegal, then go back from whence you came. You are breaking the law; don’t ask us not to judge you.