One of the emails has the subject line used as the title for this blog entry; while the other has as its subject line, "The World Without Saddam: Is It Really Safer?" (My internal editor is yelling, "That should be 'more safe,' not 'safer'!" -- but we won't go there...) As I have never made the argument that the world is, indeed, better off with Saddam Hussein removed from power, I don't feel a need to reply in detail to this email, which I simply scanned, rather than reading for purposes of commenting in depth. I'm not suggesting Hussein should have been left in power; no one asked me before the U.S. invasion of Iraq how I thought either way. Of course, I'd hope for a better future for the people of Iraq, and it seems only logical that their chances for a better future have been improved with the removal of this dictator from power. On the other hand, I'm old enough now to have seen the "law of unintended consequences" take what seemed to be a good idea at the time and make a bad situation even worse. If a Taliban-style group eventually comes to power in Iraq, things may, indeed, have been better off with Hussein still in place. I'm certainly no expert there.
No, what provoked this reply came about because of certain things said in the email about the political affiliation of God. Last time I checked, I said that I'm having trouble reconciling myself to a vote to re-elect President Bush; and that there is no way that I can cast a vote for the election of Sen. Kerry. I've never said that God favored one or the other, or both, or neither. I've said that, as Christians, the kingdom for which we hope is not of this world; and we must live according to the principles of that kingdom, while at the same time fulfilling, to the best of our abilities, our duties as citizens here. Well, I'm starting to rant. Let me pull up the quotations...
However, the current President Bush has invaded a sovereign nation in violation of international law, even though Saddam did not pose an immediate threat outside the borders of Iraq. I strongly oppose these actions. In an earlier post, I said that the American invasion of Iraq was a violation of Iraqi sovereignthy. I've made similar comments, both in replies posted here, and in comments left on other blogs, to the effect that, if the shoe was on the other foot, and we had been invaded by an outside power or coalition that opposed us, and sought to impose its positions, we, too, would fight back, as some Iraqis are resisting our presence. I don't approve of killing; I do understand how some Iraqis oppose, on principle, the presence of foreign soldiers on their soil. Oh, and I don't agree that Saddam Hussein was not a threat outside of Iraq. Evidence? The Iran-Iraq War, and his invasion of Kuwait would seem to be evidence enough of his willingness to threaten those outside his borders. Add to it his talk -- even if it was only empty bluster -- about acquiring additional chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons capability... At a certain level, he had to be taken seriously. That, by itself, did not, and does not, justify our invasion of Iraq. Remember, I've never been a promoter/booster of the "War on Terror."
There was a time Americans respected the opinions of those with differing political views. Today, the conservative right wing has lost that human attribute. I resent having my patriotism and may faith challenged because I oppose the policies of the President, and I will proudly vote for Senator KerryThere is a very good chance that the author was noty directing these words to me. I do, however, want to note that I have not cast aspersions on anyone who has a different point of view. I may not agree with your point of view, but I don't think that everyone has to think what I think -- except maybe when it comes to belief in God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! But in matters of faith, as well as in political discourse, I desire to persuade you, not bludgeon you into accepting a different point of view. As long as we can discuss things in a civil manner, let's hold the conversation. Should we reach a place where it becomes obvious that neither of us is going to budge, let us part amicably. As for questioning anyone's patriotism, challenging their religion, or even telling anyone for whom they should vote -- it hasn't happened here. God willing, it never will. This is not to say that I have not questioned some of the positions espoused by a candidate, and the faith implications of these -- such as when Sen. Kerry announces that he is a "good" Roman Catholic, and yet disagrees with his church's stand on the issue of abortion (if only in his public policy decisions). I have done so, and will continue to do so as I think it appropriate. But I have always sought to do so in a respectful way; and again, hope that I will always do so.
Last quote. Obviously, I do not believe that God is a Republican, or a Democrat. Choosing the right war on terrorism is not a question of religion. God is not a Republican; God is not a Democrat. God is not voting in this election; of this, I have absolutely no doubt. God loves the Republicans; God loves the Democrats. God loves the independents, and the Green Party supporters. God loves the people who support the Libertarians, and the Constitution Party; God loves the members of the Socialist Workers Party, and the Communist Party. God loves the Orthodox; God loves the Catholics; God loves the Protestants; God even loves the atheists. The only war I know of that I can say God would want us to choose to fight is the war we fight against ourselves and the temptations that lead us into sin. Other wars may happen, because of human wickedness, and we may have to defend ourselves, and I'm sure that, even then, God understands -- even though He does not approve. But I've said all that before, as well.
If you are going to cast your vote for Kerry, be sure you know why you're doing what you're doing -- and maybe pray before you vote, and seek the will of God to guide you. If you are going to cast your vote for Bush, be sure you know why you're doing what you're doing -- and maybe pray before you vote, and seek the will of God to guide you. If you are going to cast your vote for someone else, be sure you know why you're doing what you're doing -- and maybe pray before you vote, and seek the will of God to guide you. I don't know which candidate is the one favored by God; I do know that each of us will be held accountable for our actions, our choices, indeed, for every idle word spoken, on the great and terrible Day of the Lord -- and let that guide your actions -- and your vote -- as well.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us, sinners...