I’ve not enjoyed flying much for the last several years, largely because I think that airport security is invasive, depersonalizing and not very effective. Since most people I know tend to dislike being treated like objects, I have wondered for a while why more people don’t complain about having to take their shoes off, take out their laptops, make sure they’re not wearing anything made of metal, and having their toothpaste thrown away. I think that perhaps people tolerate the de-humanizing nature of going through security because it helps them to control fear. We can handle being objectified if it means that we don’t have to worry about anything going wrong.
I also think that an important Christian witness to our culture can consist in naming our culture’s fear and calling people to turn to Christ and heed his call, “Do not be afraid.” – “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Lk 12:6-7).
I just read an op-ed piece in the New York Times that thinks the same thing, only in a more articulate way, but without the explicit Christian tone. Here is the last paragraph:
How we got to this point is an interesting study in reactionary
politics, fear-mongering and a disconcerting willingness of the
American public to accept almost anything in the name of “security.”
Conned and frightened, our nation demands not actual security, but
security spectacle. And although a reasonable percentage of passengers,
along with most security experts, would concur such theater serves no
useful purpose, there has been surprisingly little outrage. In that
regard, maybe we’ve gotten exactly the system we deserve.
Read the whole thing here.