Let’s start way back. In the moral and legal code of the Hebrews, The Talmud, Moses wrote about the right to self-defense around 1273 BC. He describes what we would now refer to as “The Castle Doctrine” in the Book of Exodus “When a burglar is caught breaking in, and is fatally beaten, there shall be no charge of manslaughter.”
The right to armed self-defense comes from Graeco-Roman Natural Rights theory, clearly enunciated by the Roman statesman Cicero (106–43 B.C.) and other stoic philosophers, influenced by Aristotle. “But if there be any occasion on which it is proper to slay a man,—and there are many such,—surely that occasion is not only a just one, but even a necessary one, when violence is offered, and can only be repelled by violence.” Cicero also quotes Moses in this speech as well.
The right of free men to bear arms in defense of their person and household (family) has strong roots in Roman Law principle of dominium where any attack on the members of the family was a personal attack on the pater familias – the male head of the household, who is endowed by law with dominion and protection over their family. in the 534AD Emperor Justinian Augustus refers to the right to self-defense as the principle of vim vi repellere licet “it is permitted to repel force by force”.
The concept is further discussed in the Catholic Catechism derived from inception based on the theological work of St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). It currently reads: “Legitimate defense can be not only a right but also a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm.” Furthermore, as “it happens that the need to render the aggressor incapable of causing harm sometimes involves taking his life.”
In summary, we have the moral right and duty to protect ourselves and our families from harm. Nobody else has that duty, it lays solely on our shoulders as free men (and women). We also have the moral responsibility to ensure harm doesn’t befall innocent persons. That we are not reckless or intentional in causing harm or death to someone who is not threatening the life of ourselves or families. Lethal force is morally justified, only in response to unjustified lethal force.
So my question is, what did Jesus mean in
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.
Is it our duty and obligation to protect those God has given the authority over or do we not have any authority over anyone but ourselves?