Anyone who has read my musing over the last few years knows my deep skepticism regarding going to war in Iraq. Nothing has convinced me it was a very wise or necessary thing to do.
No facts have come forward to prove war was the only way to help the Iraqi peoples. But it seems to have been the only thing given serious consideration.
Even President Bush’s own Methodist ministers were not given a chance to suggest another way. He did talk to some Protestants about the war, but they were of the fundamentalist war-like type.
The fundamentalists (like Jerry Falwell and the present leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention) told Mr. Bush what he wanted to hear. They are convinced, as are the “Left Behind” authors, that there must be a great war in the Middle East so Bible prophecy can be accomplished.
When I write such things it is not to disparage the Bible, but rather the extreme literal and sometimes weird interpretations some preachers put on prophecy–which is a minor part of the sacred book–and beyond my understanding. The Bible is not a roadmap; it is not a key to the future. It is an attempt to point us toward God, to better understand Him and become light and salt to our world.
Christian history is too full of war and hate. Nothing makes a man’s blood boil to the degree religion does. This is a perversion of the faith and has the opposite result of true religion. This is not the Lord Jesus’ fault, but the error of his followers in every age. And yet the people for the war are the ones proclaiming the need for “moral values.”
The Puritans did their best to kill off the Indians rather than try to convert them. The first Thanksgiving legend has blinded us to how the Puritans tried to set up a theocracy and did not allow any other view but theirs. No dissent was tolerated. (They also made it a crime to celebrate Christmas!)
Fortunately there were those who strove for liberty like Roger Williams. He made friends of the Indians rather than kill them. Roger Williams and later men like Isaac Backus and John Leland with Jefferson and Madison made sure the Constitution had a Bill of Rights.
These men knew what moral values were. Many had suffered in prison and died for such values as the freedom of speech and religion.
“Moral values” are what many voters claim as their reason for keeping President Bush in power.
War is against all moral values. War is the very opposite of good morals and common sense (especially when the “enemy” was no threat to us).
Moral values include more than a stand on abortion or single-sex marriage. (Single-sex marriage will not destroy America as much as lightly treated and even encouraged adulterous behavior.)
Moral values are clearly listed in the New Testament: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). These moral values are not getting much publicity these days.
Moral values are how we treat the homeless, the poor, the disenfranchised and caring about those we might not want to associate with. When we help someone who can do absolutely nothing for us, that is a good deed. Only doing what is in our own best interest can grow a very selfish life or nation.
This war of our very wealthy nation against a poor and dying country is possibly the lowest point in American history. It has been entered into and continues to be led by misguided and, at worst, deeply wrong-thinking people.
To cry for moral values, the whole scope of morals needs to be included. Not just a few pet peeves and politically correct slogans of, sincere but history-illiterate, fanatics.
Britt Towery is former Southern Baptist liaison to the China Christian Council. He now directs the Tao Foundation, an organization promoting integrity in missions, and lives in San Angelo, Texas. His column appears weekly in the Brownwood Bulletin.