Tuesday, August 09, 2005

What Moral Authority?


Today's New York Times has a story about Christian groups pressing Bush to put pressure on North Korea to end human rights abuses in that country. The Midland, Texas Ministerial Alliance, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Southern Baptist Convention and other groups are taking the lead in this effort.

I'm in complete accord with the efforts to call for an end to the human rights abuses by the government of North Korea. I also believe Christians need to call for an end to human rights abuses by the government of the United States.

What makes conservative Christians think that this administration and this country has any moral authority to put pressure on any country to end human rights abuses?

What are the Midland Ministerial Alliance, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the Southern Baptist Convention doing to put pressure on Bush to end the torture and abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib?

The eyes of the entire world are focused on conservative, evangelical Christians in America. History will give evangelical Christians full credit for unconscionably supporting this administration's pre-emptive war under false pretenses, it's criminal treatment of prisoners of war, and it's hysterical suspension of civil rights. Nothing has done more to undermine the credibility of the gospel in the eyes of the unbelieving world in my lifetime.

When are evangelicals going to start removing the logs that are in our own eyes?

16 comments:

Greek Shadow said...

Can anyone here hum the Elvis tune "Clean Up Your Own Back Yard"

Joshua T. Clark said...

Certain cirles of though have suggested that what right do we as Americans have in putting our noses in other peoples countries. I say that as a member on the United States Navy and as Americans we have a moral obligation to liberate the oppresed peoples of the world. Now about the abuses at Abu Ghraib and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

I do not condone the abuses of ememy combatants and detainees at these facilities and that as human beings they deserve to be treated with a little shred of decency. But do not forget that these people are the kind that if given a chance to be out in the world again that they would cease at no effort to murder innocent men, women, and children preferably Americans and anyone who professess a Jewish or Christian faith.

But as Americans we have moral fortitude to combat the atrocities that other nations (Saddam-era Iraq, Cambodia and other African nations, and North Korea) commit on their own people.

Who is to say what would have happened if we never got involed with the distruction of the murderous reign of the Third Riech and Adolph Hitler

greg said...

Joshua,

From where does this moral obligation derive?

Who is to say what would have happened had the nations of the world listened to Pope Benedict XV and invited him to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919?

Kevin said...

Joshua,

Liberation begins at home. The US gov't, and the supporters of the war in Iraq need to come clean about the abuses of detainees before lecturing the world on human rights.

kgp

Greek Shadow said...

Are we back to "White Man's Burden?" That is what led to England's Empire disentigrating and led to WWI & WWII.

TheGreenKnight said...

do not forget that these people are the kind that if given a chance to be out in the world again that they would cease at no effort to murder innocent men, women, and children

But it's well known that not all of the detainees are such people. There are small children there; some prisoners have already been released. In fact, the latest news is that many of the prisoners at Gitmo are going to be released to Afghanistan.

As for those who are in fact people who would murder the innocent, well, since they're in prison they aren't going to do that, and there is no need to torture them; doing so does not do anything further to prevent them from committing murder.

Who is to say what would have happened if we never got involed with the distruction of the murderous reign of the Third Riech and Adolph Hitler

Did we torture German prisoners? And remember, Hitler declared war on us.

Joshua T. Clark said...

Are you inmplying that I somehow condone the few acts of torture committed buy the hands of a very small group of service members at Abu Ghraib and GITMO.

All I am trying to say is that these people were captured trying to kill innocent people and our men and women in the armed forces.

Also there has been instances that detainees were released and then they were re-captured doing the same thing that they were put there in the first place.

Someone said where does this moral authority derive from. This authority I think derives from the fact that our Constitution is based on the natural rights philosophy the John Locke stated so many years ago.

Also who else will stand up against the purely evil acts of barbarism that totalitarium, despotic, and oppressive dictator ran regimes around the world. The "free" nations of the world either have no way of helping or for better use of the word "testicular fortitude" to dirty their hands up a little bit to make this world a better place.

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...

Joshua,

Our hands are certainly dirty in Iraq.

Whether this war has made either Iraq or the world a better place is questionable. Many are concluding that both Iraq and the world are more dangerous places than before.

Here's a link to a previous blog with comments pertinent to this discussion.

Joshua T. Clark said...

This world will continue to a dangerous place as long as the institution of terrorism exists. I do not deny the facts that the US's involement in the affairs of other countries ( Iran-Iraq conflict, the Mujahadid in Afganistan, and Vietnam) have been a prime example of the cliche " The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Our involement in these conflicts partially to blame for the current climate of these regions today. But by following the mantra of the left-leaning anti-war movement there would have not been a Revolutionay War to free this country from the grip of an English tyrant.

Instead of an American flag flying over the US Capital there might have been a red flag bearing a swaztika if it was not for our involement in destroying a regime with Adolph Hitler at the helm and his brutal slaughter of millions of Jews and other peoples just because they were not parts of his grand Aryan-Master race concept.

As a devout Christian I cannot turn my eyes to the suffering of the world. Doing so would be ungodly. It is my duty as a follower of Christ that I do exactly what he did so many years ago by bringing hope and comfort to the downtrodden of the world.

But it is also my responsiblity as a Christian that there is pure un-adulerated evil that exists in this world and that real peace can never exist so long as the fallible nature of man continues.

People preach for world peace and such a peace can never exist. I do not glorify. War is a very awful thing. But war is a necessary evil that has been used for both good and bad reasons but I say that war has brought us the freedom that so many Americans take for granted. These people have completly forgetten or fail to recognize that if it was not for the sacrfices that this country and the people wearing the uniform of an Airman, Guardsman, Soldier, Marine, and Sailor have gone for throught the ages in support of the Flag that our country would not have existed.

greg said...

Joshua,

Sorry, you entered bizzaro world with this one: "It is my duty as a follower of Christ that I do exactly what he did so many years ago by bringing hope and comfort to the downtrodden of the world." You'll need to show me where he did that by means of weapons and violence against the Roman Empire, the main agents of downtrodding in his day.

And this: "pure un-adulerated evil..." No such thing. We're all adulterated by different motivations and passions--some good, some bad. Hitler loved classical music, especially Wagner, so you'd have to admit his aesthetic tastes were directed toward the good at times.

Not to be anti-American, and I'm certainly not, but you speak as if it were a moral and ontological imperative that America exist. What if there had been no Revolutionary War? Freedom would never have happened? That's what you're implying, despite the fact that the trajectory of liberty was already at work in many nations of the world prior to our Revolutionary War. I am grateful for the sacrifices that made us free, but I don't delude myself into believing America has the moral objectivity to carry out crusades for the rest of the world.

By a conservative estimate 30,000 innocent Iraqis are dead, a large percentage due to American bombs and guns. Are we to shrug those losses off as the cost of doing war, cause I bet those dead folk don't feel real liberated from the regime of the pure evil madman that the U.S. was happy to do business with as long as it benefitted us.

Marty said...

I've been reading this thread wondering what would have happened had America taken a non violent route. I couldn't help but think about Mahatma Ghandi. I learned in a non-violence class about his salt march and how he helped to liberate India from British rule all through non violent means. There is a website ...http://www.moreorless.au.com/. Perhaps some of you would be interested in checking it out. I found it to be quite interesting.

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...

Marty,

Thanks for your link to .

It is a very interesting website.

Pepper said...

Joshua,

I could have almost walked away from this discussion, until you wrote the words, But by following the mantra of the left-leaning anti-war movement there would have not been a Revolutionay War to free this country from the grip of an English tyrant.

You're in the United States military, yet you appear to know nothing about American history, short of what Bill O'Reilley and his ilk have blathered on about.

There was no "left-leaning anti-war movement" in the late 18th Century. The type of people you describe with post-World War II rhetoric did not exist. Those you consider "left-leaning" were the revolutionists -- the US's founding fathers of Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, etc.

Your anti-war movement at that time was made up of Torrie loyalists -- people of property, landed gentry in the North and South, who as long as they were comfortable under British Imperial rule didn't care about the rights/needs of their fellow colonists.

I'm not going to debate about the rightness or wrongness of the Revolutionary War. But it was England, not the relatively new nation of America, that abolished slavery decades before a Civil War brought us to that crossroads.

Without the money that Louis of France gave those "left-leaning" revolutionists, there might never have been a later French revolution, creating in effect the first Marxist state. And from whose ashes sprouted the 19th century equivalent of World War with the rise of Napoleon.

Every course of action in the history of the world has its later consequences. By training the Mujahadin to fight against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, we set the stage for the rise of armed, global extremist cells. Had the US not abandoned the Afghanis after the Soviet withdrawl, would we be experiencing the blow-back we are now?

Please, at least learn about world history, and learn that it's not some clearly defined white line between "liberal" and "conservative". Learn the true meaning of what conservative ideals were/are, as expressed by men like Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon (who have both been condemned by neo-con types).

Pepper

Joshua T. Clark said...

Pepper,

I am very proud to be a conservative and a member of the Grand Old Party. I am quite versed in American History and I am trying to make a parallel between the folks on the left side of the aisle and the Loyalist of the American Revolution. The anti-war movement would rather negotiate and appease these terrorists rather than put them six feet under. The Loyalists turned on there own families and turned them over to the British. I know my history and my family is a part of that (Abraham Clark, statesman from New Jersey whose name is on the Declaration). Good evening

Marty said...

I believe the anti-war movement would prefer to bring the terrorists to justice like we would to other criminials, working wtih other nations to do so, cooperating and sharing of intelligence and information. It is not the desire of anyone to "negotiate" with terrorists.

Marty said...

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children....This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from an iron cross."

Dwight D. Eisenhower
1953