Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Cheney says...

So, today the V.P. of marketing for the U.S. govt. suggested that those opposed to the war in Iraq are 'wrong.' ~ Consider that thousands of American lives have been lost, thousands of spouses are now grieving, thousands and thousands of kids will grow up without a mom or a dad, and tens of thousands of Iraqis are now dead. ~ Consider that we will end up spending trillions of dollars on this project... for something called peace. And consider that we've sent an entire nation into civil war. ~ Consider that free democracy can NOT be imposed on people. They must want it. They must trust it. They must feel it is the best option for their lives. Democracy almost always takes decades to work, and it often takes centuries... centuries. Too bad that the Bush administration, and the brilliant V.P. himself forgot to consult historians and those who understand the making of democracies prior to deciding this was a nation building activity. ~ Consider that we entered this war for our own 'safety,' and our own sense of 'freedom.' So, as a follower of Jesus I can justify this war because I felt threatened? I suggest that this war has further allowed us to worship 'freedom,' 'saftely,' and other things that have very little to do with the kingdom of God. I suggest we take serious the words, "Have no other God's before me." Or is America perhaps the God we really worship?

10 comments:

Char said...

But you don't know what the Iraqi people want. You just know what some of the news media say they want. Have you talked with soldiers who have been over there and heard what they have to say about the Iraqi people? I have had 4 nephews were served in Iraq, some of them twice. I know what they have to say about what the Iraqi people want.

This war can't be opposed on Christian grounds just as it can't be approved of on Christian grounds. This is a much more complex situation than you seem to believe. Is the loss of life, both American and other nationalities horrible? It most certainly is. But the loss of Iraqi life would have been far greater had we not been there. Every lost life matters, and the sacrifices made by the families matter. But we have to look at the larger picture. What would happen if we weren't there?

Randy said...

Char,

Thanks for the reply. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Here are a few thoughts regarding your response. I do not believe that it is our duty nor our question to ask 'what the Irai people' want. While I respect their desires, it is not our purpose to create democracy around the world for anyone who wants it.

Remember that all of this war is being paid for with the blood of young Americans and is being paid for by you and I and our grandkids.

I do not doubt that this war is a complex issue. BUT, the ways of Jesus rarely, if ever, seem to point toward war... Blessed are the peacemakers.

IF our current administration had done its homework, they would have realized that this was not a war that would be easily won. This is an area of the world that has never known freedom. Democracy is not something that is simply imposed upon people.

Finally, I simply do not believe this war is something that makes God say "Well done good and faithful servants."

Anonymous said...

So ought we only do things if they are easily done?
I don't know that God will look at the way the war has been fought and say 'well done...', but I also doubt that God would say that to people who would stand around and watch others suffer or neglect their duty to protect those they are responsible to protect.
We may not like the war or war. We may not agree with how it ought to be fought, but to give a blanket comment to the effect that the way of Jesus would never lead to war seems off.

Randy said...

To the last comment, I don't disagree. But when we want to create change, we should look to history.

People change the winds when they move... Abe Lincoln knew slavery needed to end. War resulted, but it wasn't his choice. Peaceful solutions were his first choice.

Ghandi and his peaceful efforts resulted in a free India. Martin Luther King Jr. created a movement that allowed for people of other colors to be recognized as equal in value.

The ways of Jesus did not encourage violence. Even when God himself is about to die on a cross, an ear is re-attached to an agressor.

Anonymous said...

Unending lakes of fire seem unpeaceful places. I appreciate what you are trying to say, but it seems rather simplistic to attach the way of the peace of Christ to a psuedo-post 1960's peace ethereal ideal. It is totally unclear how nations can operate in a fallen world.
Now did Jesus say he came to bring peace or something else?

Randy said...

Hmmmm.... quote from the previous comment, "It seems rather simplistic to attach the way of the peace of Christ to a psuedo-post 1960's peace ethereal ideal. It is totally unclear how nations can operate in a fallen world."

I have NO idea how we attach the ways of Christ to a 'post 1960's peach etheral idea.' I do know that the ways of Jesus are not about military power. While the disciples first believed the Messiah to be the one to rid them of Rome, eventually they came to realize that the kingdom of God was not about taking political power.

IT was about loving and embracing the ways of Jesus. Perhaps that sounds 1960's hippie style, but it's the biblical account. Jesus wasn't about siezing power for himself or for his followers. He was about the things of his Father. The things of God.

Nothing changed in the 1960's that altered the gospel. Jesus chose not to use the sword, and it wasn't because he wasn't capable. God could have chosen to slay whomever, but this isn't the way of a loving God.

Let me suggest that the hippies of the 1960's were on the something until they were run over by capitalism that lives by money and power... or they simply gave up.

So far I refuse to give up. I still believe the Sermon on the Mount is real, alive, and the way that God calls us to live.

Somehow I believe we have given up on the kingdom, the example of Jesus, and we settle for getting our butts into heaven. It's easier, and it means we can be good citizens and embrace everything that belongs to the American dream....

Your turn now...

Anonymous said...

I suppose the question is, ought we hold governments to the Sermon on the Mount?
In you're posts you seem to be trying to do that.
I wonder how it would be to turn the other cheek to a Nazi, or even just to a man who is beating a woman.
As great as it would be to live in a world without violence or military power... I'm glad police carry guns, and I'm glad the military carries even bigger ones.
Countries that manage to avoid investing in militaries do so only under the watch of neighbors who do. Its a very sad reality in this world. Now find people who are trying to arm the church and you're argument might have some traction

Randy said...

Regarding the last comment, and an answer to the question: "Ought we hold governments to the Sermon on the Mount?"

I do not fully know how to answer that question, but I do believe these things...

~ Govts. are meant to keep law, to rule justly. Sometimes this may not mean 'turning the other cheek.'

~ IF I live in a land where people are freely elected, and IF I profess to be a follower of Jesus, then I do choose things that promote justice and mercy - the things of God.

~ IF I am a follower of Jesus I can't justify creating wars for the sake of promoting democracy.
This was the original intention of the post. When promoting democracy overides seeking justice and mercy, then democracy has become our god...

~ When we consider torture, secret prisons, keeping prisoners (still people) away from our courts, never telling prisoners of the charges against them, keeping people locked up for YEARS without charges, THEN we have created our own system of justice and mercy.

I submit. While this war has complexities that are not easy to determine what is right and wrong, the above things mentioned show how far the Bush administration has gone to create its own system of justice and mercy.

Furthermore, there is no way that I can justify it other than to say, "We want to be safe." While this may seem to be a noble thing, it has no biblical mandate.

Sure, governments don't need to follow God's mandate, but... then Bush and Cheney and Co. should stop claiming to be followers of Jesus... they have chosen to create their own form of justice and mercy which totally misses the heart of God.

And then Christian conservatives vote for these guys...

Anonymous said...

thanks for the comments. A few thoughts
- First, more generally speaking, is it Christian to ridicule those God has placed over us? (Ex the clear ridicule in Bush, Cheney and Co). Just something to think about when talking about the way of Jesus.
- I'm not sure if the right to a speedy trial or hearing the charges against you is a biblical mandate either. I would say it is clearly a sign of an advanced society, but I'm not sure if Western legal ideals are a good outline for the task of the church.
- Finally i agree that wars should not be fought to spread democracy. Though it is the government's job, at least in this country, to protect its citizens and perhaps the best way, by some lights, might to be spread democracy. So it might be indirectly something to do, but not an end in itself.
I'm not saying I think that is the thing to do in this case, just that I think it is a defendable position.

In the end I am a bit confused. You seem to have several independent streams of thought going
1. You don't like that Bush and Cheney confessing their faith in Christ publicaly.
2. You seem to have a problem with Christians voting for them
3. You have a problem with the way the war is being run
4. You seem to have taken our modern, western system of justice to be the biblical one.
All for now

Randy said...

to answer a few questions:

"1. You don't like that Bush and Cheney confessing their faith in Christ publicaly."

I don't have a problem if they confess their faith in the public square. Quite the opposite actually.

My problem arrises when they 'claim'to follow Christ using biblical language in speeches, but their actions don't in any way model the ways of Jesus.

They have started wars. They lie for their advantage. They favor the wealthy. Their god is american democracy.

"2. You seem to have a problem with Christians voting for them."

No problem that Christians voted for them. But I believe those people were terribly misguided.

For whatever reason, we give alliegence to our political party over our biblical mandate. We see the world, our nation, the economy through the eyes of our political party. As followes of Jesus, we should see issues through the eyes of the biblical text.

Yet, this is not the lens that is predominately used when making political choices. Why not?

"3. You have a problem with the way the war is being run."

Yep. I guess that is my issue though. Most of the world now hates us. Hundreds of people are dieing in the middle east every day. American kids are being told their daddy was killed in Iraq -- on a dialy basis. And this war could have been avoided.

"4. You seem to have taken our modern, western system of justice to be the biblical one."

Perhaps. It's my frame of reference... I think we can do better, but I also know that the ways of George W. Bush are in no way the ways of God.