The following is a quotation, surprisingly from The Ox-Bow Incident, a 1943 American western film staring Henry Fonda that well articulates how we are best guided by our conscience. The scene occurs when a man is about to be hanged/lynched by a mob for a murder and robbery he did not commit and, like some of our current worthwhile International commitments, "the locals" (like some in our own society) do not want to get involved as they let an innocent man go to his death for a crime he did not commit. Henry Fonda tries to stop the lynching party but fails. After the hanging and the mob realizes they have killed an innocent man, Henry Fonda reads a letter from the man to his wife before his death to members of the mob. Although many of us may not be deeply religious, in whatever faith, we find that many people generally "practice what they believe in", even passionately. The quotation "speaks volumes" as it helps to define what we really stand for and who we are as a people and as a country. It is along the same vein that Capt Goddard and others clearly believed in as they put everything on the line for these same beliefs.

 

".... He's a good man and has done everything he can for me. There are some other good men too, only they don't realize what they're doing. They're the ones I feel sorry for, because it'll be over for me... ...but they'll have to go on remembering for the rest of their lives. A man just can't take the law into his own hands and hang people... ...without hurting everybody in the world... ...because then he's not just breaking one law, but all laws. Law is a lot more than words you put in a book... ...or judges or lawyers or sheriffs you hire to carry it out. It's everything people ever have found out about justice... ...and what's right and wrong. It's the very conscience of humanity. There can't be any such thing as civilization... ...unless people have a conscience... ...because if people touch God anywhere... ...where is it except through their conscience? And what is anybody's conscience... ...except a little piece of the conscience of all men that ever lived?

 

 

This was also well articulated in the movie “The Kingdom of Heaven” which truly should be the Proactive International Foreign benchmark or standard of conduct for people and Nations to aspire to. It is really quite practical and sensible, a view that many, whether they feel they are very religious are or not could support to help make the world a better place; leading to less mindless conflict when practice proactively, not more:

Hospitaller: So, how find you Jerusalem?

Balian of Ibelin: God does not speak to me. Not even on the hill where Christ died. I am outside God's grace.


Hospitaller: I have not heard that.

Balian of Ibelin: At any rate, it seems I have lost my religion.

Hospitaller: I put no stock in Religion. By the word of religion, I've seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the "Will of God". I've seen too much religion in the eyes of too many murderers. Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves. And goodness - what God desires - [pointing at his head then heart] is here and here. And what you decide to do every day, you will be a good man, [smiles] or not.