Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Connecting Some Dots
There’s a rumor on the blogosphere that President Obama has a litmus test for military officers. He’s supposedly asking them if they would be willing to fire on US citizens and dismissing those who would not. Rumor has it that Snopes.com considers this just another tinfoil hat conspiracy theory—I can’t find it on Snopes—and they might be right. It could be that the President has not issued such an order and even that the question is not being asked in an official capacity. So, as Romans 13 says, if we’ve done nothing wrong, we have nothing to fear from the government, correct?
Ummm, not so fast.
Was God watching when President Obama took the oath of office last month? Did he care what went on? Specifically, did he notice that the Bible used in the swearing-in had belonged to Abraham Lincoln?
What is Mr. Obama’s relationship to God? Does he believe that he is a sinner who deserves eternal separation from God because of his sins and that the only way for him to escape that condemnation is to surrender his life to Jesus? Or is it more likely that to him (as to his predecessor) “God says: ‘What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips?’” (Ps 50:16)?
If the evangelical church in the US is going to offer its children to the military service of a man who misuses the Bible, can they not expect him to treat them as Abraham Lincoln treated his enemies? Mr. Lincoln was best known, and is indeed celebrated, for sending the military to fire on those he considered his fellow citizens. In the name of the Constitution, he violated the Constitution, suspending habeas corpus and jailing journalists and magistrates in the Union who expressed their putative First Amendment rights by disagreeing with him. Can we, the church of Jesus Christ, expect anything else from a man who openly and proudly follows in his footsteps?
Does Mr. Obama consider the Constitution the law of the land in anything other than name? (For that matter, do evangelicals who support the War on Drugs or Social Security or the extrajudicial killing of US citizens consider the Constitution the law of the land in anything other than name?) If the funds extorted from those who oppose abortion to pay for abortion through the Affordable Health Care Act are a “tax” (according to Bush appointee John Roberts) and taxes are necessary to fund the government that is essential to human life, what right do we have to protest having to pay it? Ah, silly me—we don’t have the right to protest, except in the free speech zones invented by Mr. Bush.
What reason do we have to fear that those free speech zones will be moved to the FEMA camps that are now being used to pasture goats? Can we expect that the guards being recruited and trained to staff those camps would actually get to put their training to use? And can’t those billion and a half hollow-point bullets have been procured for some other purpose than providing those who don’t want to go to camp with an alternative?
You reap what you sow. Mr. Bush declared that the invasion of Iraq was designed to provide Iraqis with the same freedoms Americans have at home. He gave them those freedoms courtesy of “shock and awe” and “collateral damage,” to the cheers of the evangelical church in the US. Though the mission was accomplished, at least according to the fanfare and photo op, I would certainly forgive Iraqi, Afghan, Syrian, Libyan, and Palestinian Christians (to say nothing of Muslims) for praying that US evangelicals have the privilege of living under the conditions they bless the rest of the world with.
So even if Snopes is right, I wouldn’t be surprised if we soon have the opportunity to enjoy the freedom the Iraqis and Afghans had under occupation by the US military.