Monday, December 12, 2005


Below is the text of an email I received. This is a woman writing to a relative who is serving in Iraq. All I'll add to this is Amen!

"Are we fighting a war on terror or aren't we? Was it or was it not started by Islamic people who brought it to our shores on September 11, 2001? Were people from all over the world, mostly Americans, not brutally murdered that day, in downtown Manhattan, across the Potomac from our nation's capitol and in a field in Pennsylvania? Did nearly three thousand men, women and children die a horrible, burning or crushing death that day, or didn't they? And I'm supposed to care that a copy of the Koran was"desecrated" when an overworked American soldier kicked it or got it wet? Well, I don't. I don't care at all. I'll start caring when Osama bin Laden turns himself in and repents for incinerating all those innocent people on 9/11.

I'll care about the Koran when the fanatics in the Middle Eaststart caring about the Holy Bible, the mere possession of which is a crime in Saudi Arabia.

I'll care when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi tells the world he is sorry for hacking off Nick Berg's head while Berg screamed through his gurgling, slashed throat. I'll care when the cowardly so-called "insurgents" in Iraq come out and fight like men instead of disrespecting their own religion by hiding in mosques. I'll care when the mindless zealots who blow themselves up in search of nirvana care about the innocent children within range of their suicide bombs. I'll care when the American media stops pretending that their First Amendment liberties are somehow derived from international law instead of the United States Constitution's Bill of Rights.

In the meantime, when I hear a story about a brave marine roughing up an Iraqi terrorist to obtain information, know this: I don't care. When I see a fuzzy photo of a pile of naked Iraqi prisoners who have been humiliated in what amounts to a college hazing incident, rest assured that I don't care. When I see a wounded terrorist get shot in the head when he is told not to move because he might be booby-trapped, you can take it to the bank that I don't care.

When I hear that a prisoner, who was issued a Koran and a prayer mat, and fed "special"food that is paid for by my tax dollars, is complaining that his holy book is being "mishandled," you can absolutely believe in your heart of hearts that I don't care. And oh, by the way, I've noticed that sometimes it's spelled "Koran" and other times "Quran." Well, Jimmy Crack Corn and -- you guessed it, I could not have said this any better myself! If you agree with this view point, pass this on to all your e-mail friends. Sooner or later, it'll get to the people responsible for this
ridiculous behavior! If you don't agree, then by all means hit the delete button. Should you choose the latter, then please don't complain when more atrocities committed by radical Muslims happen here in our great country."


Dwight said...

While I can understand some of the emotions involved in such a piece, I can't see how it links up with Christian faith, to the degree that her concern is soley with American lives and there is no regard for the lives of others outside of this country. But of course God is not just the God of Americans but of all people, including the prisoners in camp gitmo. Once that becomes acknowledged then yes, as Christians we *do* have responsibilities to them as human beings created in the image of God. That may be hard to do, but I don't see how one gets around that if one takes up the cause of Jesus.

Jerry McClellan said...

Yes as Christians we have so much responsibility towards others in other lands that we go and fight and die for their liberation and freedoms. Amazing isn't it? We go and catch the bad guys and lock them up, interrogate them, accomodate them and use whatever info we gather from these "detainees" to further protect these forigners, these non-Christians, to protect people who actually hate us. In addition to that we give Billions, thats Billions of dollars each year(a lot of which comes from private donations) to these countries to subsidize their economies, feed their poor, and sustain the lives of many of those who would rather kill us than thank us. What good Christians we are!

Dwight, your strawman argument just got knocked over. Your assertion that her concern is only with Americans and not for others in other countries is not only flat out wrong but a bad attempt to create a false argument against Christianity. Ain't happenin' cap'n, try again another time.

Dwight said...

Her piece clearly indicates that we have no obligations to those who fight us, that since some of them have done awful things against us, we can have Abu Ghraib torture, etc and this is ok, we can pretty much justify any actions against people that she can hardly imagine are in fact people.

As a Christian, I don't see how such a view can be reconciled with the belief that even these people are made in the image of God, that some responsibilities, concerns for them as well flow from this fact. I would love to find just one evangelical site that condemns torture. You have to go to mainline protestant and catholic sites for this.

Jerry McClellan said...

Do we have an obligation to those who seek to harm us? No we don't, to argue that we do is foolish on its face. Christ only instructs us to love our enemies and pray for them, He never says don't protect yourself from them.

Would you rather not protect yourself from an enemy? That makes no sense. Abu Graib torture is an overstatement, these guys were humiliated at the least and experienced relative discomfort at the worst. Yet, even under such circumstances we as a nation stood against any unjustified actions by our own troops and sought punishment for them, which has occurred. It is apparent that we as a nation and Christians in particular do not condone unneccessary torture or coercion, so lets get off of the Abu Graib jock for a while, o.k.? It is getting quite redundant. Once again, your strawman has not only fallen but it has been ravaged to pieces by the pit bull next door.

So far as "these people" being made in the image of God, no one has argued to the contrary, of course they are, all mankind has been created in God's image. Not only that but all are under sin and have a sinful nature which causes many on varying degrees to come against the truth of God's word. You seem to forget that part though, only focusing on the created in His image thing. Lets be honest and look at the whole picture dwight.

The fact is that there are whole groups and countries whose sole agenda is to kill Americans, and Christians in particular. This is a consequence of sin.

So far as mainline protestant and catholic churches coming against toruther, these churches are mainline for a reason, they have bought into the mainstream group-think in regards to worldly affairs. No right thinking Christian person condones torture when it is unproductive and unneccessary, yet this is not the argument being put forth, the argument is that any torture on any level is wrong, yet that is flat out ridiculous.

Your whole made in the image of God thing is misguided and is pulling you down an illogical path. I urge you to rethink your beliefs and go back to read God's word for yourself without all of the preconceived notions implanted by your pastor. In addition, go and get by yourself, into a quiet place and meditate, listen for God's voice and you will know the truth then.

Dwight said...

I'm not sure how it is one can love one's enemies and not have responsibilities towards them. How does love and no responsibility link up in a Christian ethic?

You argue that of course we are against torture, but not all torture of course, some kinds are ok. What sort of line would you be drawing in this case? The actions in Abu Graib involved death for a number of prisoners.

I am aware of the issue of sin, both in those we fight, but also in ourselves
..that should be a reason to give us pause in the means we use to defend ourselves, not as a blanket endorsement to do what we will against such folks.

There is a foolishness to the Gospels' call to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate you, but if we as the Christian community could stand with John McCain and others and at least have the standards of US military code at work, we'd be in the step in the right direction.

The silence and sometimes even support of the evangelical community on this issue is something that hurts of the witness of the wider church, in that we lose the possibilities of being a moral authority on other issues because of this.

Dwight said...

As for the mainline, I don't think their thought reflects the society as a whole. A recent poll show the majority of Americans support torture as an option. And much of the society is able to embrace a protect ourselves by any means necessary view which I have not been able to find in the Gospels. B

ut if you can pick out some passages I'd be appreciative. I do agree that self protection is legitimate, but the means we use to do this have to be reflective of the moral insights of our religious faith or we could lose our own souls over this.

Jerry McClellan said...

"There is a foolishness to the Gospels' call to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate you..."

I think you need to rethink what love and doing good actually entails. Ask yourself, Does God love His enemies? After you answer that, then ask yourself will God judge and punish those who were against Him? If so, is that demonstrating love towards His enemies?

Dwight, you fail to realize one simple truth, our government is doing what it is supposed to be doing when it goes out and defends this country and other nations, through the means of war, capture and interogation. This is mandated by God. No where in the bible does it state that it is wrong to torture or interogate an enemy, period. Nor can you logically infer that by defending ourselves against our enemies that we are NOT excercising love towards the very same. For is it loving to lie to our enemy by allowing them to continue to do evil without punishment?

Think about that one before you respond.