I'm a regular listener of Tony Campolo's podcasts and really appreciate the fact that he takes the teachings of Jesus seriously, through his ministry Red Letter Christianity. Obviously, if you take the teachings of Jesus seriously you're not going to be a very big fan of war, especially wars that don't measure up to the Christian Just War Theory and according to the National Council of Churches, the Iraq war does not fit into Christian Just War Theory.
So here's the direct quote from Tony Campolo's latest podcast, in response to the stat that while there were 1 million Christians in Iraq, now there are less than 200,000. Those 2000,000 are still leaving, in response to the recent attacks on Christians.
"It's about time that George Bush and Tony Blair issue a statement of repentance. We went in there, lives have been lost by the thousands, yeah, hundreds of thousands. Billions, yeah, trillions of dollars have been spent - for what? For what? The Iraqi situation is much worse today than it was during Sadam Hussien. Nobody is going to question that. The church, for the first time, is being persecuted.
What happened after the invasion was that there was a free election and the Shiites got elected. And you say, 'hurrah, hurrah, hurrah, we've got a democratically elected government.' You don't have a democratically elected government, if in fact you have the rule of the majority. You have a democratic society when the minority is safe. The Shiites have gotten elected. The Sunnis, who have aligned themselves with Al-Queda are attacking like wildfire because they were in control under [Sunni] Sadam Hussein.... Now the Sunnis are attacking the Shiites and this is going to go on and on. And we are responsible.
It's about time that George Bush, instead of writing a book that states, 'I have no regrets over any decisions that I have made' and Tony Blair states, 'I have no regrets, I think we did the right thing.'
You didn't do the right thing. It's about time to stand up and apologize. To go to the United Nations and ask for forgiveness because there can be no reconciliation of warring groups without repentance.
You know, in the US, we all love that verse (2 Chronicles 7:14), "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." It's actually on the Liberty Bell.
I believe it's time to with the Bible. I want repentance and I want restitution. But you've gotta do it the Biblical way."
Preach it, Tony!
And just for good measure, here are two quotes from a book I'm currently reading entitled "Rethinking the Good War" about WWII. It was written by Dr. Laurence Vance, a biblical scholar, history professor and Libertarian party author. "A president who cannot entrust the people with the truth betrays a certain lack of faith in the basic tenets of democracy" (speaking of Roosevelt's covering up of the US' aggressive acts that lead to Japan's preemptive strike in Pearl Harbor, maneuvering of Navy personnel into vulnerable positions and refusal to listen to and eventual firing of the Military leaders warning of the impending and eventually imminent attack).
Finally, "Japan made a preemptive strike against the US just like the US did in Iraq" (referring to WWII vets who still hold a grudge against Japan for Pearl Harbor).
What the heck, here's on more from that book, "Why is it that the 9/11 attacks on America are considered acts of terrorism but a 1,000 plane bombing raid on Tokyo after the dropping of the two atomic bombs isn't?"
"No country, army, or navy air force, terrorist organization, or individual aggresses against the US for no reason. We may not like or agree with the reason, but there is always a good reason, at least in the minds of the attackers. Japan did not attack the US because Japan was 'evil' and America was 'good.' Japan sought to gain control of Southeast Asian resources. The attack on Pearl Harbor would prevent the US Pacific Fleet from interfering. Secretary of War Stimson acknowledged after the war that 'if at any time, the US had been willing to concede to Japan a free hand in China there would have been no war in the Pacific."
Okay, so I got off topic. But what I want to see happen, what I believe Christians have the responsibly to do, is to call the government to accountability while at the same time, not believing the "we're good, they're bad" or "this war is for freedom" rhetoric. We must go beyond the emotional response and blind patriotism to the underlying reasons. As the saying goes, "Truth is the first casualty of war," but followers of Jesus must not let the truth of why we're killing fellow bearers of His image get swept away by our national leaders. While hindsight is 20/20, we can know that Bush was (at worst) lying or (at best) seriously misguiding in ordering the Invasion of Iraq. A couple hundred thousand civilian deaths later, the former president and our entire country owes the Iraqi people an apology.