Are You Worried About Terrorists?
Oh Ye of Little Faith!
By Joe Ortiz
The positional status debate between Christians and nonbelievers has been raging for centuries, with Christians believing that God has ordained the church with the responsibility to not only spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world, but to also bring about a moral world through America’s version of Christianity, personified through a government of democracy.
Most right wing evangelicals (primarily an American phenomenon) believe they should be aggressive in their belief that they have been bestowed a special honor by God, that of possessing supreme power ordained by God (manifest destiny) to police the entire world of all wrongs. They join America’s leaders who claim that they will bring liberty and justice for all through their concept of democracy. George W. Bush has presented this mantra to the citizens of the United States, and for the most part has convinced the Christian Church to wholeheartedly support what Mr. Bush calls a “Just War.”
The marketing of a “just War” (primarily by the neocons who control most media) have propagated a campaign of fear, based primarily on 911, with an incessant pounding that the Muslim (Arab) religion seeks to dominate the entire world. We see daily news reports that the entire nation of Islam (not just Al-Qaeda) seeks to destroy what it calls “The Great Satan” The more that George W. Bush beats that specific drum (almost six years after 911), the longer he feels he can control the events of the world, which appears to scholars and Liberal pundits to be solely an imperialistic mission.
The unfortunate aspect to this scenario is how easily the Christian church (primarily right wing evangelicals) has been led by the nose to not only support George W. Bush’s policies, many Christian leaders (such as dispensationalist, premillennialist, Pre-Tribulation Rapture promoters, John Hagee, Tim LaHaye, Hal Lindsey, et al) are in the forefront of this movement.
One of the most important aspects of Christians is their strong belief systems, who proudly proclaim that God is on their side. Most certainly, God does respond to those who believe in Him and through the redeeming act of Jesus Christ’ execution and resurrection, which provides them with eternal salvation. What mystifies this author is that while eternal salvation has now been provided them, there exists a glaring lack of faith that God can protect His chosen children through any ordeal without the use of military force.
Many of today’s evangelicals proclaim that God approves just wars as cited in the Old Testament. True, God allowed various Kings throughout history to go to war, and in some cases even ordered Israel to wipe out certain nations. We can research these instances and probably find deeper explanations as to why God allowed (or ordered) Israel to slaughter millions of its enemies. But, for certain, God has never endorsed wars or murder as is best personified in the New Testament.
Right Wing evangelicals always quote Romans 13 as their proof that not only God approves “Just Wars,” but that they are justifiable in many instances (such as Pearl Harbor), but that Christians have a responsibility to bear arms to defend their country. Romans 13 most assuredly states that everyone must submit themselves to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves; for rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you; for he (the leader of a government) is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit [actually it is calling for a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden] to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
For those who have done extensive study of this chapter (Romans 13), it pretty much claims that (it is true) if someone breaks the law they deserve punishment. It also asks that we should seek justice, pray for our leaders and show them proper respect. But it doesn’t state that Christians are to bear arms and propagate violence against another person or state. It also does not claim that God has chosen one specific nation to police the entire world! It’s the responsibility of each respective nation to govern through justice. If Al-Qaeda is responsible for 911, it was the US Government’s role to hunt, find and punish those specific perpetrators of 911. Simply because George W. Bush launched a “War on Terror” did not give the US authority (moral or otherwise) to attack a specific country (such as Iraq) as part of its overall scheme to fight terrorism. The mantra of we need to kill terrorist in Iraq to prevent terrorists from coming to America to attack its citizens is a political stretch intended to strike fear in its citizens. Most assuredly, terrorists have snuck into this country and perpetrated various acts of terrorism, but our government has the responsibility to follow and hunt down each specific case of terrorism as local police responds to individual (or group) acts of crime. A police chief in a city in Texas does not go to a city in Michigan to willy nilly attack gang bangers who fit the description of gang bangers in his own city. Each criminal case has to be solved on its own merit. That’s the American way!
But, even more important, where is the faith of the Christian community to not only have God provide us with clues as to the whereabouts of individual perpetrators, but to intervene and protect His people before acts of terror, murder, rape, mayhem and robbery begin?
I’m reminded of a story in the Bible (2 Kings, Chapter 1), concerning the prophet Elijah and Ahaziah, the newly installed King of Israel. Ahaziah was a bad ruler who served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.
It appears that after Ahab's death, the nation of Moab rebelled against Israel. It seems that Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and injured himself. So he sent messengers, "Go and consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if I will recover from this injury." This was Ahaziah’s first mistake. He chose to trust another council besides God Himself!
As the story goes, an angel of the LORD said to one of his great prophets, Elijah the Tishbite, "Go up and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, 'Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?
Therefore this is what the LORD says: 'You will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!' When the messengers returned to the king, he asked them, "Why have you come back?" "A man came to meet us," they replied. "And he said to us, 'Go back to the king who sent you and tell him, "This is what the LORD says: Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending men to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!" The king asked them, "What kind of man was it who came to meet you and told you this?" They replied, "He was a man with a garment of hair and with a leather belt around his waist." The king said, "That was Elijah the Tishbite."
Then he sent to Elijah a captain with his company of fifty men. The captain went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, "Man of God, the king says, 'Come down!' Elijah answered the captain, "If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!" Then fire fell from heaven and consumed the captain and his men. At this the king sent to Elijah another captain with his fifty men. The captain said to him, "Man of God, this is what the king says, 'Come down at once!' ""If I am a man of God," Elijah replied, "may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!"
Then the fire of God fell from heaven and consumed him and his fifty men. So the king sent a third captain with his fifty men. This third captain went up and fell on his knees before Elijah. "Man of God," he begged, "Please have respect for my life and the lives of these fifty men, your servants! “See, fire has fallen from heaven and consumed the first two captains and all their men. But now have respect for my life!"
The angel of the LORD said to Elijah, "Go down with him; do not be afraid of him." So Elijah got up and went down with him to the king. He told the king, "This is what the LORD says: Is it because there is no God in Israel for you to consult that you have sent messengers to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Because you have done this, you will never leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!" So he died, according to the word of the LORD that Elijah had spoken. Obviously, Elijah was a man of great faith! Obviously the God of the Old Testament responded to a man of great faith for his protection.
There are numerous accounts throughout the bible that demonstrate that God has the power, He does and can protect his people, those who truly do believe in Him. The Bible is replete with stories where God protected His children, regardless of the circumstances, including Noah in the Ark, Daniel in the lions’ den, Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego in the fiery furnace and countless other examples where God has protected His people. But, today, those Christians who believe the United States of America has the moral authority to police the world sadly have such little faith that God can protect this country and its faithless citizens. Instead, they promote and encourage a strong military force, and beat the drums for this nation to pursue aggressive action and military might against their real or perceived enemies.
Scoffers will say, “Yea, but that was back in Old Testament times.” It would be sheer folly in these troubled times not to have a strong military force to protect its citizens.” Some Christians will say that “many in America do not believe in God and they have the right to build a might military force to protect itself.”
So be it, fellow Christians! Put God to the side, ye men of faith! Trust the gods of worldly kingdoms to protect you and fight the battles of the world!
But, please, please, please, don’t use God’s name to endorse your political and military action. For those who deeply recognize that true Christians need to abide by the precepts of the Kingdom of God, a God who does answer prayer, quit trying to rationalize the use of military strength to protect American citizens from bogeyman Jihadists that supposedly are lurking behind every nook and cranny of the world. Also, quit trying to moralize the world (in the name of God) by pointing fingers at abortionists, gay people, the ACLU and those who attack God and His children. Those issues are God’ battle! His war! He asks us to walk upright in all we do; patiently loving, caring, forgiving and serving the less fortunate, and to consistent prayer for all of our needs! Therefore, pull yourself away from the TV set, newspaper, Internet and radio, in search of news as to how we are winning a war against our enemies; then go to your prayer closet and ask God (like Elijah did) to protect us from (and slay) our enemies.
If you truly claim to be a child of God, then you must be a person of faith. If our leaders (Congressmen, Senators and even our President) believe in God, then why do we accept the propaganda of fear? If we have such great faith, than who better to trust than our God, the God of Elijah, the God of Daniel, Noah, Gideon, David, Shadrach, Meshaq and Abednego, and all the other saints throughout history that have been protected by such a great God?
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Joe Ortiz lives in Redlands, California. He has the distinction of being the first Mexican American to host an English-language talk show on a commercial radio station, KABC-AM, Los Angeles. He is also the author of two books that challenge right-wing evangelical politicos who support the Left Behind and Pre-Tribulation Rapture mythologies, The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation (Author House Publishing). Web site: http://sites.google.com/site/theendtimespassover/Home