My own personal stance against religious hypocrisy - both my own, and any others who seek to hurt people in the name of God.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

We Are the Reason We Should Be Ashamed

Yesterday I brought my son to Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN, for his saxophone lesson. While there I found a copy of the July, 2009, edition of Minnesota Christian Chronicle. On page 4 I found a short editorial by Carl Nelson who, as it is explained at the end of the editorial, is president and CEO of the Greater Minnesota Association of Evangelicals.

I won't take word-for-word excerpts from the paper (as I would probably find myself sued for copyright infringement), but I will give the gist of what Mr. Nelson wrote.

Apparently, Pew Research did a national survey and found that "62 percent of white evangelical Protestants believe 'the use of torture against suspected terrorists to gain important information' to be often or sometimes justified." The greater frequency of church attendance and the more likely this was true.

Now, Mr. Nelson is against this trend. In fact, he writes that he added his name to the National Religious Campaign to Ban Torture, and participated in a speaking event at the Center for Victims of Torture. He gives a web address: www.evangelicalsforhumanrights.org. Good for Mr. Nelson.

So many of us Christians get self-righteous about the fact the the world hates us so much. And let's be honest - the world does hate us. But when we support torture, hatred, intolerance, exclusionism, imperialism, and a host of other evil practices, I don't think we have much to be proud of. In fact, we are in danger of hell fire.

One of the main biblical themes God gives us in Holy Scripture is the the concept of sowing and reaping. "As a man soweth, so shall he reap." Spew out hatred, and that is what you will get in return.

So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:12 Revised Standard Version

If you are in favor of torturing suspected terrorists in order to gain information, think about what it is you are in favor of. What if someone - anyone - suspects you of something? What you are saying is that they should torture you in order to find out about it. This is true whether you know anything or not.

You say these people would not be in custody if they weren't guilty? What are you saying? Think about it. This means if anyone thinks you are guilty they should put you in prison and torture you.

Carry your thoughts through, people! Don't base your actions on fear. We live in a culture of fear. We are constantly being told by all kinds of people that we should be afraid. Politicians want us afraid so we will vote for them. Merchants want us afraid so we will buy their products. News and weather people want us afraid so we will watch/listen to/read their reports. Preachers want us afraid so we will come to them for guidance.

People. God is NOT about fear.

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 1 Timothy 1:6-7 New King James Version

Jesus set us the example when he was here. How did he react to sinners? And I mean real sinners, and not just people who were different, or hated him. The woman caught in adultery is probably the finest example Jesus gave. (I still find it amazing that only the woman was brought. It takes two people to be caught in the act of adultery.)

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." John 8:7 Revised Standard Version

So, what am I saying? We should do nothing with these suspected terrorists? Yes. I guess so. Without proof, we are as evil as the evil we purport to fight if we hold them. With proof, we should deal with them according to the law - the real law and not invented law based on fear. Real law forbids torture.

People, the saying is true. God started it, but it has been modernized. "What goes around, comes around." Whatever we unleash on others will eventually come back to us. It's a boomerang.

Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Ecclesiastes 11:1 Revised Standard Version

We live in a world of fear. Jesus told us it would be so. Let us learn to relax in God's will and in the truth that God is in control. It is a learning experience, and it takes effort as well as time.

Luke Chapter 21 (emphasis mine)

[8] And He said: "Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and, 'The time has drawn near.' Therefore do not go after them.

[9] But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immeidately."

[10] Then He said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

[11] And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and tehere will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.

[12] But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to th synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake.

[13] But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.

[14] Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer;

[15] for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.

[16] You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death.

[17] And you will be hatd by all for My name's sake.

[18] But not a hair of your head shall be lost.

[19] By your patience possess your souls.

[20] But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.

[21] Then let those who are in Judea flee t othe mountains, let those who are i nthe midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.

[22] For thse are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

[23] But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people.

[24] And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

[25] And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;

[26] men's hearts failing them from fear and the expecation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the hevens will be shaken.

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