Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Pope doesn't grasp the threat we face

Pope critical of US handling of war on terror

In a recent address, the Pope seemed to aim criticism at the US for its handling of the war on terror, stating that it was important for states to reaffirm humanitarian law. He then followed by saying that it was never right to wage war in God’s name. Thanks for clearing that up.

No disrespect to the Pope, but this is none of his business. I doubt he’d have the same attitude if a few jumbo-jets had been flown into the Vatican rather than the twin towers. We’ve already seen how the Pope deals with Muslim extremists in the way he quickly capitulated to their apology demands earlier this year. So it doesn’t surprise me to hear him criticizing America, much the same way our terrorist enemies and the appeasers that empower them do. That’s right…it’s America’s fault. I’m sure their all agreeing from Fallujah to Darfur.

And who is he talking to when he says don’t wage war in God’s name? Is anyone doing that other than the Muslim extremists? Perhaps if he wasn’t so quick to give in to their demands he could make his message stick. Now, the extremists see him as nothing but a pushover that will likely give in whenever they feel "offended".

And what about that sex scandal? Was anything done about that? It seems to me that there is some tidying to do in the Pope’s house before he can turn and criticize others, but that’s another post. The Pope is just another in a long line of people who seem to be jumping on the "America’s fault" bandwagon. But that’s alright. Criticize away. We can take it.

The Pope should maybe stop and think for a moment that if America dropped its weapons and let the Muslim extremists have their way, then the Vatican would be the first place they plundered. Well, maybe the second, after Tel Aviv. And Kofi Annan needs to do the same. I’m wondering, who else would do anything to stop these people?

America is the ONLY thing standing between a free world and a radical Muslim world, and the world seems to be siding against us. Is it stupidity? Naivety? Envy? Let’s hope, for the world’s sake, that America continues this fight because we’re the only chance the world has. So, what’s it gonna be? Let us fight the extremists, or let’s all grab a rug and bow down towards Mecca.


Anonymous said...

I'm Catholic and even I think the Vatican just doesn't get it regarding the war. It's oversimplified. "War is bad," they say. Well maybe it is, but torture is worse, and we stopped Saddam doing that. Plus of course, the Pope is not a military man, and thus should really stay out of it.

Dan Trabue said...

Really stay out of it?

"No disrespect to the Pope, but this is none of his business."

None of his business?

As if global terrorism isn't the business of everyone in the world.

Do you understand that we (the Pope and I and a majority of the world, if polls can be trusted) are in favor of stopping terrorism and think the US is doing it in exactly the wrong way?

Thanks for your opinions, we'll keep expressing ours just the same.

Dan Trabue said...

"Now, the extremists see him as nothing but a pushover that will likely give in whenever they feel "offended"."

I can't remember if you're in the Judeo-Christian background or not, but given your "God bless America," I'm assuming you're a Christian.

Our pastor preached on the story of David and Abigail yesterday, and I thought of posts such as this one.

Do you recall the story? Probably not, as it's not told nearly as often as David and Goliath.

In it, King David asks a certain rich man (Nabal) to share some of what he has for a dinner for David and his men. David's army had been protecting Nabal's men in the field.

Nabal rudely rejects David's request. Outraged, David prepares his men to go wipe out Nabal's home.

Nabal's wife, Abigail, is not nearly so foolish or mean as Nabal. When she hears what Nabal has done, she quickly sends a bunch of food out to David and his men (without asking for permission from Nabal). She, herself, goes along the food and sings praises to David's name, asking for forgiveness for the stubbornness of her husband.

David thanks her for stopping him from committing a great evil, and Abigail is praised as a peacemaker for showing hospitality.

Seems that if Abigail were around today, she'd be call and appeaser and weak. What do you make of this story?

Anonymous said...

The fact is Mr. Trabue, the pope does not know the first thing about war or tactics. What right does he have to talk about it the way he does, especcily with the power he wields? He can of course, but he shouldn't be taken seriously, because, again, he's not the right person to say it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and as for your story, it is a flawed analogy. David, you see, would have been the aggresor. The US was not, and here your analogy falls apart. In fact, let's say David had gone and attacked the party (as the terrorists attacked America). Should the host have let his guests be slaughtered? Should the guests have allowed themselves to be?

Dan Trabue said...

The pope may not know anything about war or tactics, but he knows about peace-making (or at least one would hope) and what do we want? War or peace?

So, in that spirit, perhaps we shouldn't let our generals speak about peace? Or at least speak about it and be taken seriously?

The pope is exactly one of the right people to be talking about peacemaking and ought to be doing that more.

Dan Trabue said...

Flawed analogy? I don't think so.

You ask "Should the host have let his guest be slaughtered?" Well, that is exactly why his wife acted wisely as she did - to prevent a slaughter.

I'd welcome peacemaking efforts from those representing the terrorists or from Muslims in general, but that doesn't mean that we ought not be about peacemaking initiatives ourselves.

The point in the story is that there is more than one way to settle disputes - sometimes outrageous graciousness is a much more powerful tool than nuclear bombs.

Paul doesn't command us to "overcome evil with good" for naught.

John The Patriot said...

Dan, we can have peace right now. All we have to do is convert to Islam. All 300 million of us. If we do that then we are guaranteed world peace. Is it worth it to you?

The problem with your analogy is that David valued peace over destruction. If Abigail had done this with a Muslim extremist, she would have been raped and beheaded and then Nabal's home would have been overrun. The point is, seeking peace with a people who don't value peace is dangerous and futile. You're comparing apples and oranges.

Dan Trabue said...

Well now, Abigail did not know this, did she? David had quite a reputation as a soldier with a lot of kills under his belt.

Similarly, we don't know WHAT will happen with transforming peacemaking initiatives.

The problem you have with my analogy is your assumption that some people are beyond reach. That's not a problem with the analogy. Peacemaking always involves risk.

That's why sometimes you have an Abigail story, a Daniel in the lion's den story, a Shadrack, Meschach and Adbednego story - where there is a happy ending, and sometimes you have a Jesus story, a Martin Luther King story, an Oscar Romero story, with a bittersweet ending.

I'll remind you of the words of Shadrach, etc, right before being tossed in to the fiery furnace: "Our God will deliver us from this death - BUT even if not, we still must follow God."

That's the sort of bravery we need to find within ourselves today.

Can I get an Amen?

Anonymous said...

The pope may not know anything about war or tactics, but he knows about peace-making (or at least one would hope) and what do we want? War or peace?

We want peace. But the terrorists don't. I don't mean any diesrespect, but you have to live in the real world. America is the most peace loving country on Earth. Of course we want to talk to the terrorists, but every time someone tries they get thier head cut off. Unfourtuanatly these terrorists are the ones who don't want to talk. They don't want peace. We have to kill them. It is the only way, and I wish it wasn't. But if it's going to be America or them, they're the ones who have to go. That's just how it is.

Dan Trabue said...

"I don't mean any diesrespect, but you have to live in the real world."

No disrespect taken. I do live in the real world, thank you. As did Abigail (assuming you're a bible believer).

If she had not acted in this surprise outreach of peacemaking, in her real world, she likely would have been killed. Certainly her husband and home would have been.

That's one of the points of the story: Peacemaking initiatives work in the real world.

Don't believe it? Listen to David's own testimony:

"Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand.

"Nevertheless, as the LORD God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from harming you, unless you had come quickly to meet me, surely there would not have been left to Nabal until the morning light as much as one male.

In the real world, David is saying he would have killed them all (committing a great wrong, he seems to be saying) except for her peacemaking initiative.

I'm just saying that peacemaking comes in many - sometimes unexpected - forms and we ought not be so quick to dismiss those who'd bravely stand in the brink.

Anonymous said...

Again Mr. Trabue, your analogy is flawed. David was an Israelite. They were a peaceful people until goaded to war. The terrorists are not. They don't want peace. You cannot compare the two. In other words, had David been a terrorist, Abigail would have had her head cut off for daring to even speak to David.

We've seen peace initiatives fail again and again. War is necessary for peace. These terrorists don't understand peace, and unlike you and I, they are not good people who want peace. You have to understand what they would need in order to not kill us. Here's what they want.

1.) Israel destroyed.

2.) Jews exterminated.

3.) Everyone converted to Islam.

4.) Extreme taxation of "infidels." (Non Arabs.)

How do you go into a peace conference when the enemy asks for that? The sad truth is that you can't. The only way to end terrorism is to kill the terrorists. That's just how the world is. No amount of idealism will ever change that. It's been tried, and it doesn't work.

Dan Trabue said...

"The only way to end terrorism is to kill the terrorists."

That's what the terrorists feel about the infidels. I disagree with both of you.

May Abigail's tribe increase.

Anonymous said...

That's what the terrorists feel about the infidels.

Exactly. You're finally getting it. So the question is, if someone wants to kill you no matter what, and you know it, what do you do? Do you try peace talks you know won't work and get killed? Or kill them in self defense and live? It's a pretty obvious answer to me.

Dan Trabue said...

I shall repeat again: I disagree with both of you, with all who'd use terrorism to further their ends.

(Keep in mind that we're not killing just terrorists in self-defense in the real world, we're killing innocent civilians, furthering terrorism, not defeating it.)

Abigail's message is that there are other ways to defeat wanton violence and Jesus' message is that these are the ways we should embrace.

Seems to me.

Anonymous said...

I'm having a hard time seeing where we use acts of terror. We don't target civilains and we don't attack to cause fear. Plus, we've killed a lot less civilains than Saddam did when he was in power. You might say we fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty. Doesn't that sound familair?

And doesn't the Bible allow for self defense too? Did the Israelites not fight for Israel time and time again, under God's instructions I would add.

Dan Trabue said...

We are certainly less terrorizing than some. We don't intentionally target civilians usually (there are many exceptions - not the least of which is WWII's firebombing and nuking of cities), we do usually offer aid around our destruction, etc.

Nonetheless, when we kill or cause the death of civilians intentionally or unintentionally (and we have by the thousands in Iraq), then we have in fact terrorized people, adding to the terrorism problem instead of taking from it.

As far as the comparison to Saddam, will it become terrorism or a mistake once we've killed more than he did? Or at what point has it become evil?

I say, with the first child who has his parents killed and arms blasted off, it has become an evil.

The New Testament does not make a case anywhere for self-defense. We are to turn the other cheek, overcome evil with good, choose to be wronged rather than retaliate. You know the verses, I'm sure. There's no case made for self defense in regards to Christians in the NT that I can think of.

And yes, Israel sometimes fought under God's direction (oftentimes under their own direction). But when God was doing the directing, God kept commanding them to rely upon God and not their weaponry. So, you have Gideon and 300 men facing down thousands of Philistines with horns, torches and swords. You have Joshua's army walking around Jericho and God delivering them the victory.

The rules for OT soldiering were typically: Use an extremely small volunteer army (called together in times of emergency) or none at all, underarmed and not using the latest in technology and let God deliver and just use the army to do the clean up work.

If Christians want to embrace the OT model instead of the NT model, I'd support it as a step in the right direction, at least.

John The Patriot said...

You know, I'm a little tired of people using the "turn the other cheek" command as a way of telling Christians to be doormats. Jesus was telling his followers that revenge is wrong. He was not telling them to ALLOW the evil-doers to run over us. When humans are given free-will, God knows that many will choose evil, and many will choose good. So why would He command those who choose good to submit to those who choose evil? I'm sorry, I don't believe that for a second.

As the man of my household, I'm endowed by God to protect that household - to shield my family from evil-doers. Does the Bible openly advocate self defense? Perhaps not. But it also does not command us to be weak and submissive to those who choose evil. I may be wrong. If so, I'll answer for it, but I will not allow these monsters to interfere in my part of the world and I would hope others wouldn't as well.

Dan Trabue said...

"it also does not command us to be weak and submissive to those who choose evil."

John, how many times have I corrected this misrepresentation? I have never said anything about being a doormat or allowing evil to go unchallenged. I have said that we must OVERCOME evil, with good. Actually, Paul said that (echoing Jesus), not me, but still.

We oppose evil in Jesus' terms by taking actions like Abigail, which was my original point. There are more ways to oppose evil than joining in with it. Preferable ways, for those of us who follow the Prince of Peace. THAT is what I'm suggesting.

Instead of embracing these other ways, of chasing after them and looking creatively with God's courage to find these other answers, we'd choose to denigrate and demonize anyone who'd act as Abigail did.

All I'm saying is that perhaps we ought not demonize those who'd try to find other solutions, but encourage them, join in with them.

In an effort to overcome evil (not allow it to go unabated) with good.