Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Reply to Andy

Andy commented on an earlier post; my reply was longer than the allowed length, so I've posted it here.


Hi, Andy,

Good to hear from you again. Reasonable questions, as always. Let's see if I can give you reasonable answers.

Do we know that Osama "goes out of his way to kill noncomabants"? I've never heard him take credit for 9/11. The two versions I've heard are "I don't know who did it, but I'm glad they did" and "I regret the loss of innocent life—this kind of murder goes against my Muslim beliefs." And every explication of the reason behind his fatwa(s) in the 1990s had to do with the US being in the Mideast, killing Palestinians and Iraqis and occupying Saudi Arabia, not with Madonna's degeneracy or Bill Gates' wealth.

And even if he was responsible for 9/11, he wouldn't be the first in the exchange to shed noncombatants' blood; the Bush-Clinton sanctions against Iraq killed over 150 times as many Iraqi noncombatants as Americans died in 9/11. You're right that two wrongs don't make a right, but you can't consider someone who can't fight City Hall totally unreasonable for peeing on the steps.

The three recent almost-bombings have some interesting things in common, incompetence the most: why set your shoe on fire in your seat, where people can stop you, when you can do it in the bathroom in secret? Same with the underwear bomber. Had none of them heard of doing a dry run before trying the real thing? Why was the underwear bomber allowed on board the plane to begin with, let alone without going through security, when he didn't have the proper paperwork and he was on the watch list? Finally, either forty is younger than I think or the guy they arrested for the Times Square attempt is too young to be the guy described as the one who left the car there.

Both the Michigan "militia" and the New Jersey "homegrown terrorists" were given the idea for their would-be bombings by government agents who infiltrated the groups. "Hey, let's not sit here bitching. I can get you a bomb." "A bomb? I don't know." "Come on, I can show you how to use it. I have some great ideas where we can set it off. "Well, OK." Dud. "You're under arrest."

We've become accustomed to government agents lying people into crime because of the wars on vice—our friendly neighborhood hooker or dope dealer might really be an undercover agent. Hey, if it works for johns, it'll work for malcontents. Anything to be able to say "We're doing something about the situation, and if you just give up more of your money and freedoms, nothing bad will happen." I don't think it's unreasonable to think 9/11 was a false flag operation. Calvin Coolidge authorized the poisoning of US citizens during Prohibition and the CIA's Operation Northwoods would have included the killing of US citizens by false flag terrorists if Kennedy hadn't nixed the idea.

I don't believe the Taliban were righteous, though I was persuaded to believe in their cause back when they were the heroic mujahadeen (note the radicals for "jihad" in that word) fighting against the evil Soviets. (My point was that "righteous" Lot was no less wayward in his way than the Taliban is in theirs.) They were harboring a man who was accused of murdering noncombatants—accused by a government that has murdered far more than died on 9/11 and who today incarcerates and tortures far more innocent people than those it can even charge with a crime. Osama had already been found guilty in the press; what jury would ever acquit him?

It's one thing to say, "We'll never let you get to him," which is not what they said. It's something else entirely to say, "You prove to us that he will be given a fair trial and we'll hand him over to someone who can honor both your interests and his." If that's not what they said, then my sources were wrong, but given the moral state of our government and nation, I'm inclined to believe they did. If they thought they could protect a murderer from Uncle Sam, they were sadly mistaken; they couldn't even protect their own noncombatant citizens.

I'm glad you brought up Babylon and Judah. I think we are in an analogous position today. I don't know if our Babylonians are the Muslims or the Chinese, but our Baal is definitely Uncle Sam. Pins with both crosses and flags are ubiquitous, as are such institutionsa as God and Country Press, crosses draped with the flag, and other equations of Uncle Sam with God. I know a church that prays regularly and in great detail for "our men and women in the military" but only sporadically and generally for the missionaries they support. It's exaggeration, but not untrue, that if you want to engage a US Christian in an earnest discussion about eternal matters, you can tell him you're an atheist; if you want him to walk off in a huff, tell him you think Uncle Sam is a murderer and a liar.

I'd frankly love to preach to the Babylonians. Please, God, let some al-Qaedista put a bag over my head and take me their camp, not tell me where I am or their real names, and let me tell them that the God they need to learn to fear also has some bad news for Uncle Sam's lovers. But, like Jeremiah, I'm stuck in Jerusalem, and whatever the Babylonians do to my fellow Jerusalemites they will do to me. Meantime, I try to open my brethren's eyes by contrasting Uncle Sam's ways with God's.

And the lost aren't only overseas. I read authoritarian and libertarian atheist authors and bloggers who base their view that Christians are completely divorced from reality on Christians' refusal to recognize Uncle Sam's evil. And most of the time, they're objecting to Christians' support for unbiblical policies. For example, the left fears conservative Christians who want to keep certain teachings about sex or history out of the schools; they rightly don't want to pay taxes for schools that teach against their worldview. (That they're perfectly willing to make Christians pay for schools that teach against their worldview doesn't seem to bother them.) My question is, where does the Bible authorize us to vote tax money out of our neighbors' pockets to educate our children? Wouldn't we be better off to say to our neighbors "What's yours is yours; keep your money and educate your children as you see fit, and leave me to do the same"? But most Christians would rather go the political route. And the lost seem to be getting loster.

Thanks again for reading and for writing.

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