<br><span class="gmail_quote"></span>keely et. al.<br><br>Sorry for the incomplete post just sent... I hit keys prompting a mysterious command which resulted in the post being sent without clicking on the "Send" button!
<br><br>Thanks for the compliment.<br><div><div> <br>About freedom of choice as it applies to Christian ethics, I know this is a very difficult and complex issue, as it is for any theory of free choice in ethics. But the idea that it is wise to promote freedom at the end of a gun barrel is problematic, to put it mildly. The people of Iraq had freedom of choice, even under Saddam, if we assume God given freedom of choice is inherent to the human soul. Dictators cannot take this away, though they can inflict much pain and suffering upon those exercising their free choice.
<br><br>I think that encouraging the people of Iraq to change their political system primarily via their own efforts would have been a wiser policy then bombing, invading and then informing them they will now adopt democracy whether they like it or not. This is hubris in US foreign policy! And it is backfiring, given the fragmentation and divisions among the people of Iraq that undermine the hopes of a real democracy emerging. Even assuming a noble intention in invading and removing Saddam, admittedly a cruel dictator, the odds this would result in a better outcome after inflicting the damage that a military solution imposes, was not very high, especially with the obvious religious and tribal/ethnic divisions that are historically a part of that region. And then there is the impact on the global war on terror against "Al Queda," one of the other rationales for invading. "Al Queda" is more of an ideology than an organization, an ideology that can inspire terrorist strikes anywhere a small group organizes around this ideology. A good argument can be made, backed by facts, that the US invasion has fueled more terrorists to take up arms.
<br><br>Speaking of "hubris," I was stunned to see MIchael Scheuer, the former CIA operative and author of the book "Imperial Hubris" (about US foreign policy in pursuing the war on terror), being interviewed on mainstream cable news the past few days. I assume this is because of the new (allegedly) Bin Laden video just released. His book was first released under "anonymous," due to concerns about his CIA role, I assume. He is not soft on the war on terror, actually he's a hawk and a Republican, but very critical of the invasion of Iraq, which he called "A Christmas gift to Bin Laden."
<br><br>Read about Scheuer below, how he quit the CIA in part due to an order for the CIA to support the president!<br><br><a href="http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Michael_Scheuer">http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Michael_Scheuer
</a><br><br>-----<br>Ted Moffett<br> </div><br><blockquote class="gmail_quote" style="border-left: 1px solid rgb(204, 204, 204); margin: 0pt 0pt 0pt 0.8ex; padding-left: 1ex;"><div><span class="q" id="q_114e7de9b0b77518_1">
<div><span class="gmail_quote">On 9/7/07, <b class="gmail_sendername">keely emerinemix</b> <<a href="mailto:email@example.com" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>> wrote:
</span><blockquote class="gmail_quote" style="border-left: 1px solid rgb(204, 204, 204); margin: 0pt 0pt 0pt 0.8ex; padding-left: 1ex;">
First, a long-overdue thanks to Ted, from whom I learn something almost daily. Most of the time, I agree with him politically; even when I don't, I'm provoked to think about assumptions and conclusions I've made. Lord knows the last six years of cowboy diplomacy in service of a "christianish," but not at all Christian, worldview has given all of us food for thought. I'm grateful to Ted and to others who help to keep us wrestling with things.
<br><br>I'm entirely supportive of efforts to impeach Cheney, and I'm eagerly counting down the days 'til someone better becomes president. The evils of the Cheney/Bush administration -- are horrifying in their nature, execution, and legacy, and all the more so given that our Commander in Chief has become in some circles our Worshiper in Chief, too. I can't comment on the veracity of Bush's conversion and spiritual walk, but the fruit is evident. And it pretty much stinks.
<br><br>Bush has made much of his theology of freedom as God's intention for humankind, and of the United States' responsibility to secure it for the rest of the world. It sounds noble, but clearly has resulted in devastation abroad while ignoring those at home and elsewhere who are shackled in ways not as evident to Bush -- and whose "liberation" is not as economically advantageous to his cronies. And so I was pleased to run into an essay by Ted Olsen in this month's Christianity Today, which I hope stimulates some reflection on the part of those of us who try to follow the person and teachings of Christ:
<br><br style="font-style: italic;"><span style="font-style: italic;">". . . Freedom isn't God's only good gift. He also gives peace. And life. And order. And justice. And mercy. And many other good gifts with both spiritual and political implications. Should any of these gifts become the basis of
U.S. policy in Iraq? This hits on what I think is the biggest political question for Western Christians right now: Should Christians in democracies work to make governmental actions reflect "high-minded" biblical priorities? Does God's love for human freedom require us to get the government to act for freedom worldwide? Does God's love for the poor require us to get the government to act for economic justice domestically and abroad? President Bush once said, "Government can pass laws and it can hand out money, but it cannot love." But without love, can it still do good, or can it merely avoid doing evil?"
</span><br><br>Two points: Concern for the poor and for justice throughout the world obviously isn't just the provence of Christianity, but when an avowedly Christian president in a self-proclaimed "Christian" nation intervenes in the affairs of the nations, its involvement ought to -- has to -- reflect the teachings of Christ. Further, while recognizing that human effort will never result in the abolition of inhumanity, violence, hatred and injustice, it is imperative that efforts to end those things in the name of Jesus Christ be reasonably consistent. Putting it simply, it means that liberty and security and justice for countries not sitting atop oil has to be as important as liberty, security, and justice for those countries whose security enhances
U.S. coffers and U.S. dominance in the world. <br><br>It's easy for Christians to focus on "righteousness" as individual morality -- and too often yours, not mine -- while largely ignoring matters of "justice" by assigning them to nations, institutions, or corporations that present a larger evangelistic, moralistic challenge. But most translators agree that in Scripture, "justice" and "righteousness" generally are represented by the same words and are intended to be synonymous expressions of God's will for individuals and for nations. The clear testimony of Scripture is God's concern for righteousness, period. It's the Church that's decided to root out unrighteousness in the bedroom while blithely ignoring -- or applauding -- unrighteousness in the boardroom. After all, who wants to go after their pals? Christians today have fallen into lockstep with the rich, the powerful, and the lofty and have called it "blessing" when they've been courted. As for the poor and the disenfranchised . . . well, they may not have the Church on their side, but they're in good company. It doesn't seem that God has Christians on his side, either.
<br><br>keely<br><br>"God works patiently and deeply, but often in hidden ways, in the mess of our humanity and history."<br>--Eugene Peterson<br><br><span style="font-style: italic;"></span><br><br><br><br><hr>
Make your little one a shining star! <a href="http://www.reallivemoms.com?ocid=TXT_TAGHM&loc=us" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">Shine on!</a></div>