Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Stop and Think, Mr. President

The one certainty in the world of persecuted Christians is that something is always happening, even if it takes awhile for us to hear about it. At the moment, though, there is an absence of "big stories" and I'm glad. The really big story is coming out of Washington, D.C. right now.

It is dismaying to me to hear these stories of "rendering", secret jails and torture. This is not only because I find such behavior morally repugnant, or that I would like to think better of my country, even though both are true.

What's really sad is that for possibly the first time ever in American history, an American President is condoning these practices publicly. I'm not naive -- there have always been 'dark ops' and I'm sure that there have been acts around the World Wars, Korea and Vietnam that would appall me just as much. But not only does such open acknowledgement tarnish America and Americans just in general terms, the President is busy sawing off the branch behind those of us American citizens who protest these acts in other countries. Part of our ammunition has always been the moral weight of American behavior -- whatever hidden things went on, we could still stand and say with a reasonably straight face: "That's not the way we do things, not the way civilized countries behave. So stop it!"

Now, it has taken Senator McCain to restrain the President to a certain extent, and he (the President) still seems relatively unapologetic. In addition, his open (if debatable) claim to the title of "Christian" means that these acts are vicariously ascribed to those of us who are Christians -- hardly the best foundation for protest.

Mr. President, stop and think about how you're running this war. No one wants to be blown up; no one wants another Oklahoma City or 9/11 or 3/11 or London underground attack. And I support the troops. My 21-year-old nephew is in the Marines and may well be in Iraq next year. But please don't sacrifice everything America is or ought to be for the sake of the victory you think you'll win. Please go back and read what Jesus said in Mark 8:36:

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

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