Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Christian pacifist missionaries rescued in Iraq

It is one thing to believe that war is wrong, but it quite another thing all together to then take sides as to which armed force is better or more justified.

Christian missionaries went to Iraq to express their solidarity with the Iraqi people. This is understandable and, to a degree, even commendable.

Within Christianity there are a few theological/denominational movements that believe in and practice pacifism. Two such movements are Anabaptism (which the Amish and Mennonites are a part of) and Quakerism (to which the Religious Society of Friends (also known as Quakers) and Shakerism belong). This Christian pacifism means that its adherents would never use force, relying instead on God's protection. They also believe that war is morally wrong. They refuse to participate in or contribute to them in any way whatsoever. Their stance is different from that of Jehovah's Witnesses in that pacifists believe war is wrong whereas Jehovah's Witnesses believe that all governments (and by extension, all militaries and defense infrastructure) are illegitimate. Jehovah's Witnesses pledge allegiance only to the Kingdom of God, not to any kingdom of men. As such, Jehovah's Witnesses are not pacificists, per se.

Eschewing violence also requires developing love for all people. All of these policies are derived from Jesus' words in the New Testament, primarily Matthew 5:44-48:
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

This is not to say that pacifism as found in Quakerism and Anabaptism is the correct application of these and other statements but it is one of many interpretations.

Notice, however, that nothing Jesus has said hints at taking sides in a war or showing ingratitude. When these Christian missionaries take sides - as they have done, siding with Iraqi militants - and when they are apallingly unthankful, one must question their motivation and policies.

A pacifist following the traditional Christian theology thereof would have equally condemned Iraqi militancy as he condemns The United States' actions. All armed action is morally repugnant to God, according to Christian pacifism, regardless who perpetuates it or why. Furthermore, when people have placed their lives in harm to save a pacifist, it is the pacifist's Christian duty to nevertheless thank God at the very least, even if he doesn't thank those who placed themselves in danger on his account. To be so against The United States and so supportive of inhuman, immoral, and terroristic Iraqi militants is unacceptable, inconsistent, and hypocritical. As such, from their own theology, they are in danger of betraying Jesus and in danger of being damned.

They must repent forthwith of their hatred for The United States, for their ingratitude for what The United States have done for them, for their inconsistency and hypocrisy, for their betrayal of Jesus, for their siding with evil, and for offending God and man in such unexpected ways.

Regarding the political ruler, Paul wrote: "For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do what which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil" (Romans 13:4, boldface added).

inna naHnu-l-a'lam.


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