God's Politics

God's Politics

Christians in the Crossfire (by Jim Wallis)

posted by God's Politics

I wrote earlier this week about the importance of Christian identity in sorting out questions of war and peace. I suggested that our membership in the body of Christ should be more determinative of our position on the wars of our government than our identity as American citizens. One story that hasn’t made the news is the impact of the war in Iraq on the body of Christ there. This insightful piece highlights that issue and assesses how the evangelical community in the U.S. is beginning to rethink its support for the war because of the damage and pain it has inflicted on their Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq. Take a look at Christians in the Crossfire:

Oddly, the American evangelical leadership that campaigned for war has paid little attention to the catastrophe enveloping Iraq’s Christians. Few notables acknowledge any need to rethink the war.

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posted September 21, 2007 at 11:49 am

“democracy isn’t the only answer and it does not resolve problems of religious persecution and problems of the heart.”
‘Persecution’ is a problem of the heart?
‘Democracy’ is not the only answer?
So – what is the answer? Leave them alone and let them ‘do that voodoo that they do so well’. (sorry – in a Cole mood today?) I have been challenged by a person (teacher) on this site to bring forth my own ideas and solutions. Considering it. But a lot that I read here from the author’s that Wallis invites to produce articles for Sojo…for the most part just cut apart the person or principle on the issues that they are writing about. No solution from them.
Blessings –

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posted September 21, 2007 at 12:23 pm

Jim Wallis has just presented a compelling argument for continuing the occupation until a stable, reasonably humane government is in place.

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posted September 21, 2007 at 2:32 pm

Wolverine wrote:
im Wallis has just presented a compelling argument for continuing the occupation until a stable, reasonably humane government is in place.
Finally someone admits that we’re talking about a de facto occupation. The bigger question though is whether the occupation is helping or hurting. On a purely pragmatic note, there is a very good case that could be made that it (the occupation) creates more problems than it solves. In addition, occupiers are generally hated for being there. As such it may well be fueling the insurgency. Only a complete pullout and a scaling back of the gargantuan Baghdad embassy would signal the lack of imperial ambition. It just might take the wind out of the insurgency sails, as there would be no longer a nationalist motivation for the Iraqis to fight on. As to whether a civil war can be averted, well I’ll have to say I don’t know, but what’s currently happening isn’t really averting one either.

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posted September 22, 2007 at 8:10 am

Jim Wallis has just presented a compelling argument for continuing the occupation until a stable, reasonably humane government is in place. Wolverine
Never mind the fact that our illegal, unjust and immoral invasion caused the hardship that Wallis and other are mentioning. Why don’t you deal with that instead of trying to find ex post facto justifications for this inexcusable military action? Can the RIGHT for one istant admit it was WRONG?

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posted September 22, 2007 at 10:07 am

Do you really, really believe that a “stable, reasonably humane”, government will emerge anywhere in the Middle East? Not gonna happen.
Also, if a Moslem says that his first allegiance is to Allah and he is an American second, he is despised. But you are saying that you are a Christian first and an American second. There is NO difference except the degree of insanity in the Big Three religions. That is why I abandoned them long ago and have found my own path of reason and enlightenment.
I hope you can some day find your way out of the nonsense and hypocracy of your religion.

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posted September 22, 2007 at 2:13 pm

Despite all the problems, Iraq “is a battle that we cannot lose,” he believes.
Here’s a bit of news to all but those who have had “eyes to see and ears to hear” (ergo, an OPEN MIND) from the beginning of this misadventure. We LOST on the day we opted for pre-emptive war. Most of the problems we have experienced are nothing more than the logical consequence of ignoring the words of Christ and fashioning a counterfeit gospel built upon the traditions and ambitions of man.
Just my humble opinion. Take it or leave it. I firmly believe it to be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

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Paul C. Quillman

posted September 22, 2007 at 6:31 pm

The Other James:
Never mind the fact that our illegal, unjust and immoral invasion caused the hardship that Wallis and other are mentioning.
James Iraq invaded Kuwait, and the Kuwaiti government asked for help. The un took it’s sweet time, and finally the US kicked Iraq out of Kuwait.
Saddam signed a cease fire agreement. In that agreement, Saddam agreed to a couple of things:
1) Account for all of the WMD’s we knew he had, and the ones we didn’t know about as well, and
2) He agreed to a “no fly zone” over the Kurdish part of Iraq, and agreed not to hinder British and US planes enforcing the “no fly zone”.
These two things, among others, Saddam agreed to. It took a few weeks, but he broke the agreement to the second item by firing on British and US war planes enforcing the “no fly zone”. A clear breach of the ceasefire agreement, that should have triggered the reprecussions for failing to follow the agreement, but it did not. And Saddam twice kicked out weapons inspectors, that he agreed to have in Iraq as a condition of the ceasefire. Granted, the inspectors were inept, due to their employment by the un, no less a corrupt organization than Saddams government (oil for food, and rapes in the Congo come to mind), but this was the weapons inspection team that was sent. Saddam clearly broke the agreeme4nt that he made. In light of this, how is it that this war is illegal? And by what law is it illegal? Please make a Constitutional case for the last question. Appealing to the un is not convincing, as the un has proven that it sides with terrorist, communist, and thug dictators, and has no real legitimacy in terms of world governments.

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N.M. Rod

posted September 23, 2007 at 12:21 pm

Some of the religious leadership that plumped for the war has now gone silent – since the contradictions have become unsustainable.
The first cracks were the revelation of the extreme disparity between end and means. The unsustainability in a moral sense, from a Christian perspective, came about when the end became identical with those means.
We are afflicted by pride here in America – as elsewhere, but our own is extreme due to the religious cast we have given to our conquest of the continent and then military dominance in spheres of world geography and now much of the world. Although church and state were separated in statute, that never prevented it being the purported moral imperative for conquering. In this psychology, we’re mirror images of other recent world forces.
Such justifications never could withstand intensive scrutiny – so Just War theory was invoked by prideful religious leaders but tellingly never elucidated or detailed to the millions listening in pew, by TV or radio.
It’s an improvement for some ministries to turn towards other of their core issues than the war, perhaps, since there’s no longer overt denial and damage done to Jesus clear commandments in Matthew 5, 6 and 7.
However, it is still a moral issue and it’s hard to imagine one more important because of war being the ultimate human failure, “the purist distillation of sin,” as one war correspondent termed it.
Many still see the flawed U.N. as an institution to be avoided in solving large-scale human conflicts, in favor of the unilateral actions of a single country which conveniently for them happens to be the one that represents their own interests. And in fairness to those nations in the rest of the world whose opinions can only be expressed through the U.N., that single nation is made up of the peoples drawn from those same flawed U.N. member nations as well.
Humility and repentance – for he who says he does not sin is a liar, even after salvation – are necessary for all of our leaders, religious and secular – in America and worldwide.
If we won’t admit we were wrong or did wrong, there’s no possibility for redemption and redirection.
We don’t need to stand on ceremony by demanding all the other guilty parties do so before we do.
If we do, we can truly salvage and reconcile and bring good from now on while being sorrowful about our mutual sin before God.

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posted September 24, 2007 at 1:08 am

Moderatelad, Wolverine,
Like your posts. But it occurs to me that there must be at least a third option (possibly a fourth and fifth etc).
1. The US could stay until it works and until there is stability for the Iraqi people.
2. The US could leave and allow the Iraqi people to sort it out for themselves.
Both options one and two (the only two I’ve encountered on this site) have horrendous consequences. The first may never be achievable (if the US is part of the cause of the conflict) and the second will most probably result in masses of civilian casualties (probably more than the first).
So a third option would have to involve the US leaving (and so removes any US fueled opposition) and would need to somehow ensure an external stablising force.
The obvious third solution would be for the US to transition Iraq over to the UN. It would not be an immediate withdrawal of US troops, but a real deadline could be set. The UN force would (as in Sudan) be as Islamic a mix as possible (thus removing the religious element of the conflict and the US who ‘broke’ it would probably have to pay for it (but the dollars spent paying for other countries forces to be there, would probably be no greater than the amount currently being spent). However this would involve a backflip on the part of the US before the international community and I can’t see anyone swallowing their pride to do this.
A fourth solution might be a peace negotiated and secured with Syria and Iran as major players where the US would get to exit without the aforementioned admission of fault.
Be Blessed,

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posted September 24, 2007 at 6:20 am

“Please make a Constitutional case for the last question.”
Bush and his administration lied to get us into the war- stating that they had a compelling case for WMDs in Iraq when the evidence was deliberately doctored to make the case. Congress abdicated its oversight responsibilites and relied on those fabrications to authorize the military action.
So although the war appears to have legitimacy, because Congress relied on false information, the Congressional authorization was flawed and gave only the appearance of legitimacy. Congress’s actions rise to the level of incompetence. The administrations actions were criminal. Need I say more.

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Paul C. Quillman

posted September 24, 2007 at 11:36 am

Are you aware that every Democrat who voted for going back into Iraq agreed with Bush in the 90’s? Clinton (President and Senator), Kerry, ect all stated that they believed that Iraq had WMD’s?
If you were to say that Bush should have included other information as a justification to resume hostilities with Iraq, like human rights violations, an breaking the cease fire, than I would agree with that. He should have. But at the end of the day, Saddam broke the cease fire agreement. When he did that the first time we had the right, and responsibility to finish the job then. We extended patience and mercy in not going in 17 years ago. After 12 years of abuse, we finally removed him from power.
BTW, Russia, France, Britian, and a few other countries were saying that Saddam had WMD’s as well. We knew he had some at one time, and he did not fully account for the WMD’s. It did not matter if Saddam had them or not, something the media is quick to sweep under the rug, it mattered that he did not account for what we knew he had. That is the issue.
Paul C. Quillman

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posted September 24, 2007 at 12:21 pm

The Other James:
Never mind the fact that our illegal, unjust and immoral invasion caused the hardship that Wallis and other are mentioning.
James Iraq invaded Kuwait, and the Kuwaiti government asked for help. The un took it’s sweet time, and finally the US kicked Iraq out of Kuwait.
Just me and my shadow:
Well Paul, you certainly have a talent for stating what seems to be obvious. But few things in this world are as they appear. So let’s go back a bit, shall we?
In the fifties, we aided and abetted in the overthrow of Iran’s government to reinstall the Shah of Iran to the Peacock Throne. Our CIA trained and assisted his henchmen in maintaining a stranglehold on the government for 25 years until Ayatollah Khomeini succeeded in fomenting a revolution against his repressive rule. During his reign, he was our very best friend in “defending” our “right” to freely access and profit from Middle Eastern oil as we supplied him with all the most modern military hardware—enabling him to dominate the Persian Gulf region.
When his regime was overthrown and Jimmy Carter was given the boot for “allowing” it to happen, Saddam Hussein suddenly became our newest “best friend”—as we supplied him with satellite intelligence and material aid (including the chemical precursors and technological know-how to produce WMDs) for his war with Iran. When he gassed the Kurds, we blamed it on the Iranians until he outlived his usefulness to us.
Yes, he certainly invaded Kuwait and they asked for our help. However, we were aware of his plans before he committed this error in judgment and did nothing to prevent it. In fact, we virtually assured it by informing him that we had no interest in his border dispute. In other words, we set him up.
As for our current debacle, what the Democrats “knew” and when they knew it is really quite irrelevant to the legality and morality of this war.
Now, let’s get down to “Just War Theory”—which is about as useful as the Theory of Evolution. It is nothing more than a perversion of the Gospel of Christ, and a hypocritical “justification” for defying the Word of God. I will not oppose anyone’s right to defend himself—and, by extension, his nation when it comes under attack. However, the notion that there is justice in war (when most casualties are inevitably innocent civilians) is a delusion.
War is Hell on Earth, and should not be instigated by so-called “Born Again Christians”—a spuriously faddish label, if ever I heard one. Truly faithful Christians do not resort to lies and half-truths as a means to an end. They do not use isolation and torture to obtain information which is often questionable in its truthfulness and usefulness. If Born Again Christian is a valid term, then those who proclaim themselves to be one should not label our Lord and Savior as a philosopher. And a Born Again Christian President would not spend so much time on vacation while urging the ordinary citizens of our nation to sacrifice blood and treasure without measure to preserve the status quo of “go with the flow”.
Just my humble opinion.

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