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Gulf War II – Exposing the Hypocrisy
Secular Australia too often regards Christians as hypocrites. They mock us, among other reasons, for what they regard to be grandstanding acts of piety that are not infused by real Christian love.
Has Gulf War II shown the mockers to have a case?
Pamela Bone of The Age is not my favourite writer. She has a particular side interest in snide attacks on Christianity. Yet she has hit the mark with her latest commentary, “Why the Hypocrites are Right This Time”.
She’s not, this time, writing about Christians. The hypocrites in her article are actually those, like me, who reluctantly believe a war is – unfortunately – needed to free the long-suffering Iraqi people from one of the great tyrannies of our age. She finds herself in agreement:
Almost everything I write and think on this issue is coloured by having been in Rwanda in the aftermath of the genocide - a genocide that happened because the United Nations allowed it to.
…It is coloured by having been in southern Africa last year, where a silent holocaust of AIDS and famine is wiping out populations….No protest marches for them.
And it is coloured by, years before September 11, before most people had even heard of the Taliban, having listened to exiled Afghan women asking in anguish, why does the West not help us? It is the same question many Iraqi women and men are asking today.
Yet our clergy seem overwhelmingly to have decided that this liberation of the Iraqi people must be opposed. A leader of my denomination took part in a 10-day lunchtime peace vigil outside Melbourne’s St Paul’s Cathedral.
Our denominational newspaper reported his reasons: “I am here because of Jesus. I try to follow Him, and nothing I read or hear about Him allows me to condone these awful lies and threats of violence.”
Fair enough. But the question must be asked: Does Jesus only oppose those wars initiated by America?
Did this church leader attend a 10-day peace vigil when Saddam Hussein was gassing Kurdish villages? Or slaughtering tens of thousands of Shiites in southern Iraq?
Pamela Bone writes:
In Congo an estimated three million people have been killed in the past five years of war. More are killed there every month than in the past two-and-a-half years in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But though you'll see plenty of "Free Palestine" posters among the peace marchers, you won't see any "Free Congo" ones.
Nor will you see our church leaders, every one of them inspired by the love of Jesus, organising peace vigils for the people of Congo. Or for the suffering peoples of many other war-ravaged countries.
Perhaps it is as Andrew Sullivan wrote on his weblog recently:
These protests are about no-one but the protestors. It's their anti-Bush therapy. They're going to need much more of it in the near future.
But a more likely explanation comes from Melbourne journalist Andrew Bolt, who this week wrote about a cultural elite that “prefers orgasmic moralising to analysis” and which “stifles our arts, media, academia and clergy”.
Yes, once again, as so often in our history, it seems our church leaders have capitulated to the culture.
March 22nd, 2003