Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Evangeling Muslims Is Illegal Now—In the US

The Jesus of the flag-and-cross pins has shown that the only language he knows is violence. According to the New York Times, anyway, it is now

a crime to provide “material support” to foreign terrorist organizations, even if the help takes the form of training for peacefully resolving conflicts.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority in the 6-to-3 decision, said the law’s prohibition of providing some types of intangible assistance to groups the State Department says engage in terrorism did not violate the First Amendment.

Just this morning I was praying that God would give me the opportunity to meet with al-Qaedistas to assure them that Uncle Sam is no friend of the God of the Bible and that God is concerned with their legitimate gripes. There has to be a way better than terrorism of getting Americans and Christians (and maybe some of the vast majority of the US citizenry who are neither) to address those gripes. After all, if we don’t address them now, we will have to deal with them on Judgment Day, when nothing can be done about them.

(Would they listen? Probably not, but Jesus tells his people to speak, and that’s all I’m asking for the chance to do.)

But no, finding peaceful solutions is now a federal crime. Is it also a sin? I used to joke that evangelicals considered George W. Bush the vicar of Christ on earth; was he speaking ex cathedra when he said “We don’t negotiate with terrorists”? Judge Roberts, a Bush appointee, was heavily promoted by evangelicals, and he got the post, so he must be Jesus’ man for the job.

If teaching negotiating skills to terrorists is not a sin, then can we say that Uncle Sam and the God who is there are not on the same side? Is Uncle Sam’s prosecution of those who would teach (and learn from) al-Qaedistas a sin against God? If that prosecution is a sin, can a Christian participate in the arrest or detention of these “criminals,” or does God wink at them because they are employed by government? And if he winks at them, why should he not wink at tax-financed abortionists, tax-funded schools that do not teach, tax-funded health care that does not heal, and the gagging of pastors, closing of churches, and removal of children from the homes of competent, Bible-believing parents?

Either Jesus is Lord of all or he is not lord at all. If Uncle Sam is a rebel against Jesus, we need to avoid the impression of loyalty to him the same way we avoid the impression of sexual immorality. We are to love our neighbors, even our enemies, as we love ourselves and those who are important to us.

Al-Qaeda is our enemy, plain and simple, primarily because they are rebels against Jesus. They need to hear the good news of God’s offer of free forgiveness in Christ. Part of that message surely is that God’s common grace, which includes negotiation and reconciliation, provides better alternatives than terrorism for dealing with political problems.

But now Uncle Sam has made evangelizing al-Qaeda a crime. His only available strategy now is to kill them all. Is that the new Great Commission?

I’m not sure what cross is on those lapel pins with Uncle Sam’s flag, but I don’t think it’s the cross of Calvary.

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