In a column right after the first Presidential debate, a friend of mine, Mark Thomas, stood in for me and commented on what he saw as the salient points of the evening (Debating The Debate). There was only one comment on that posting and it was long and very critical. Mark has now responded, but instead of burying it in the comments of a long ago post, I decided to bring the two items together as a new posting, a part 2 if you please. You can read Mark’s original posting here and the comment by V. L. Carey and Mark’s reply follow. You are welcome, even invited to join in.
V. L. Carey’s comment
Actually, you being a professed Christain, I am quite disappointed in your analysis of Bush. The most egregious thing Bush has said is that God told him to go to war with Afganistan and Iraq. The Bible clearly states that the “wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20) Jesus said that no longer is it an “eye for an eye” but turn the other check (Matthew 5:38-39), for venegeance belongs to God. (Romans 12:19)
If we as Christians merely give lip service to our faith and act just like the heathen do, then our faith is dead. We must not retaliate against our enemies, for in doing so we unrighteously juest them. “Judge not lest ye be judged.” We are commanded by Christ Jesus to love our enemies and do good to them. Consider the possiblity: If we were led by a true Christian we could have dropped $100 million a month worth of food and supplies to the Iraqi people instead of bombs. They would have gladly denounced their dictator. If one thinks that such things are not possible and yet calls himself a Christian then he thinks that God is impotent and does not understand Scripture which says that with God all things are possible.
WE must first obey the commandments of God before we can call ourselves the children of God. Pre-emptive strikes against any nation is against the Word of God. Such acts out of fear of being attacked by the enemy is a clear testimony of the lack of faith in God as all powerful.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m am not a Kerry fan either. Any true Christian who understands the Word of God and follows the teachings of Christ Jesus knows that God is not found in politics. Jesus did not lead by example by rising up against his Roman occupiers. He lived a humble life, teaching the truth, and his enemies rose up against him. What did he do? He did not even open his mouth in defense. This is why the Bible speaks clearly about “enduring until the end.”
A true vote of faith for God is to not vote for any man that disobeys the Word of God. It is not about political agenda and the one who is most right. The lesser of two evils is still evil. Unfortunately, too many who call themselves Christian have erred and are deceived by The Father of Lies.
Revelation says that only a remnant will be saved. In the Old Testament that is likened to approximately ten percent. The irony is that nearly seventy percent of Americans alone consider themselves Christian. But a true Christian follows Christ.
To quote President Bush, Where do I begin?
First, the phrase professed Christian implies a certain skepticism about the faithfulness of the one with whom one disagrees. Thats fair enough, since I myself accused Senator Kerry of being an agnostic. However, given Senator Kerrys what-is-truth, politically expedient position on abortion, repeated in the third debate, I stand by my accusation. On cannot define murder until one defines what a human being is, and, being a purely political creature who can so easily divorce faith from practice, Senator Kerry ducks the issue.
Second, as for the assertion that [t]he most egregious thing Bush has said is that God told him to go to war with Afghanistan and Iraq, this is the first Ive heard this assertion. Im sure that either V.L. Carey or his source misquoted Bush, God or both. While I dont doubt that Bush listens intently to discern the words or will of God, so do I, and God has told me that what God told Bush was that Bush should bring an end to the oppression and suffering of innocent men, women and children in Iraq and wrest power from an evil man before more harm was done in the world. God also has told me that God told Bush that until a stable democracy is established in the Moslem world, there will be no peace, freedom and prosperity in the Middle East and innocent civilians in western democracies and Israel will continue to be attacked by those who are motivated by what is antithetical to God and Christianitypure hatred.
God has also told me that God knows that waiting for America and the UN to achieve the sort of spiritual perfection Mr. Carey advocates would be a long wait indeed, and while Americans might find that wait relatively comfortable, those whose welfare God presently deems most urgentpeople in places like Iraq and Sudanwould continue indefinitely to suffer oppression, torture and murder at the hands of evil madmen. And so, if ever America or the UN, whose corrupt food-for-oil racket has since been exposed, achieved the integrity, will and wherewithal to drop $100 million a month worth of food and supplies to the Iraqi people instead of bombs, it is naive to think that this sort of perfection would be accomplished before centuries of suffering had passed. According to God, by this sort of logic, when a man robs a bank at gunpoint, our only Christian response is to open the vault, give him the money and send him on his way since we cannot oppose him with a gun. God ended by telling me that God is good and wise, not naive and foolish, and that this is the sort of lunacy thats abroad in the world today, a lunacy which reasonable and wise men must oppose.
Mr. Carey doesnt understand the passages he recites. No, Christ is not a pacifist, and to suggest that he is would be to suggest that he commanded us passively to accept the Holocaust. Does Mr. Carey believe God spoke to Hitler, to Churchill or to Chamberlain? If the answers none of the above, then to whom did God speak before and during World War II? Or is it that Mr. Carey believes God no longer speaks to anyone, and that anyone who says God does is a lunatic?
No, the teachings Mr. Carey discusses speak to the soul of a man, not to the foreign policy of a nation. They are about love and forgiveness, not about pacifism in the face of threats like genocide and a nuclear holocaust. We are to love, not to hate, and indeed, we may well, in certain circumstances, be moved to war by love. How we value human life is measured best not but what we are willing to allow others to endure before taking it, but by what we are willing to sacrifice in order to save them. And so, Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends. We are to be innocent as doves and clever as serpents. Mr. Carey has the innocent part down cold; now its time for him to master the clever part.
And, if Mr. Carey asserts that my interpretation of scripture is subjective, so what? Subjective interpretations are all the rage these days. Besides, a truly subjective interpretation would go like this: After the likes of Genghis Kahn, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Osama Bin Laden, Sadam Hussein, et al., we surely know far more about war today than did the ancients. If were now to understand that the ancients were misinformed about homosexuality and that we today must understand that homosexuals are genetically predetermined to have a procreatively futile disposition, the fulfillment of which God would sanctify, shouldnt we also recognize after the last two millennia that mankind is, and always will be, warlike? I know lots of soldiers; Ive looked them in the eye and understand that its in their very nature to be aggressive, and God loves them the way God made themwith a predisposition for war. Who am I to judge them? Indeed, as God made them to fight, God wants them to fight, and God would sanctify their warfare. But I have not made this argument. It isnt any more logical in this context than in the context of homosexual marriage.
And so, as for, Judge not lest ye be judged and the commandment that we love our enemies and do good to them, Mr. Carey simply doesnt understand these teachings. The lesser of two evils [may] still [be] evil, but Mr. Carey begs the question by suggesting that there are only two evils to chose from. Theres a veritable cornucopia: 1) to go to war for land or power, without a selfless purpose, as Sadam Hussein did when he invaded Kuwait; 2) to go to war in self-defense and to end the suffering of innocents, as America did in WWII; 3) to go to war without first trying other diplomatic solutions like sanctions, which the UN unsuccessfully tried for years before the current war; 4) to never go to war under any circumstances even though your neighbors are being brutally tortured and killed and your own children may be nextChamberlains failed policy of appeasement; and last, but hardly least, 5) to respond to such outrages by waiting until your own society is willing and able to drop … food and supplies on the oppressed, even though achieving this sort of enlightenment would at best take centuries and millions of innocents will meanwhile die waitingwaiting not merely for food and supplies but for liberation from disenfranchisement, slavery, imprisonment, torture and genocide, evils which food and supplies will not end.
No, if Mr. Careys version of Christianity is accurate, thered have been no Revolutionary War and no Civil War, thered still be slaves in the Confederacy, Europe would be on its Fourth or Fifth Reich and the Final Solution would have been final. If this isnt lunacy, I dont know what is.
Mr. Carey is a pacifist, and, to the extent he believes anything, Senator Kerry is as well. While their god is a pacifist; mine is not. If I am wrong and Christ dictates that I choose pacifism even if it leads to an Armageddon unfathomable in a time of swords, spears and arrows, well, then, I will cease to profess to be a Christian and will outright deny the faith Mr. Carey sanctimoniously claims. For now, however, as I was born in the twentieth century and God gave me a reasonable and logical mind, like President Bush, I will seek to discern a present wisdom.