My Ethical Dilemma: Letter to Pope Francis

I am having an ethical dilemma. As leader of the Catholic Church, perhaps you have some answers.

I know you must be very busy leading, writing and speaking. If you do not have time to respond to my questions I will understand.

My dilemma: I pay income tax. Millions die because of the actions of the US government to promote and pay for abortion, Euthanasia, and war, which is paid for in part by my taxes. Should I cut my income and live on less so that I do not owe taxes and do not support abortion euthanasia and war by paying taxes? Am I morally culpable if I do not cut my income?

Many Christians earn a great deal of money. How does the church justify its members earning a larger than necessary income and paying taxes on that extra income, taxes part of which are used to promote abortion, euthanasia, and war?

My assumption is that the teachings and example of Jesus are the final authority on how people should live on this earth. Here is some of my thinking.

Military Service and War

Paying taxes that pay for war has been bothering me for some time. I have been doing research on a Christian position of war. Many Christians feel that supporting and participating in the military and war are acceptable Christian actions.

There seems to be nothing that I can find in the teachings and example of Jesus, the apostles and the first-century church that would allow Christians to participate in abortion, euthanasia, and war. There are many teachings and examples that demonstrate violence by Christians is wrong.

Taxes

It seems that Jesus would teach us to pay taxes if we owe them, but it would be perfectly acceptable to avoid owing them in the first place by cutting our income. Do we have a duty to avoid owing taxes?

Jesus said, 18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” 21 “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Matthew 22.

Paul said, 6  This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Romans 13.

One person told me I should not worry about the ethical implications of paying taxes and that I should make as much money as possible so that I could give more money to the church and missionaries. This seems like faulty logic. God owns the cattle of a thousand hills. He doesn’t need us to make money for him. Why would God ask me to finance killing on one hand so that I can finance the spread of the gospel of the Prince of Peace on the other?

Jesus said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26, 27

On the way to the cross, Jesus used no violence against evil. Why should we? We are commanded to carry our cross. If we follow Jesus’ command to carry our cross and we follow the example of Jesus, we cannot participate in violence while carrying our cross. Is earning unnecessary income and paying more taxes participating in violence?

Paul said, 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12. NIV

The Christian’s duty is to win souls for Jesus and to feed the hungry and visit the prisoner and love their enemies. The world and governments control violence with violence. Governments do not dispense justice. The judicial system does not dispense justice. Justice is making things right. The best governments can do is take revenge. Only God knows how to make things right and only God is capable of dispensing true justice.

Mercy can be defined as not punishing when punishment is deserved. Grace can be defined as giving a good gift that is not deserved. A Christian’s job is to give mercy and grace just as Jesus gave us mercy and grace. The justice we are to dispense is to help those who have been harmed to overcome the effects of evil against them. Violence creates more harm and creates roadblocks against forgiveness. Helping the harmed is how we fight against the spiritual forces of evil. We can only be involved in government so long as we do not break God’s law.

James said, what causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.  James 4:1 & 2

Paul said 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  2 Corinthians 10:3 & 4. Are we trusting the military and this world instead of God?

What is the real reason the US fights wars?

The US killed 200,000 in Guatemala to protect US banana Companies’ cheap labor and keep banana prices low in the US.

The US has killed millions in the Greater War of the Middle East to protect the interests of American oil companies. For 40 years the US has been bombing, maiming and killing in the Middle East, creating terrorists. Imagine if China sent their troops to take cheap Uranium from the US. Imagine if there were Chinese soldiers on every street corner and if they had killed aunts and uncles and cousins and children. Is it possible you would be a terrorist?

In his “Letter to America,” Osama Bin Laden gave a long list of grievances against the United States. His grievances included the 80 years of the US military invasions against the Middle East, US support of corrupt leaders in the Middle East, and the theft of oil at very low prices. He mentioned 1-½ million children who had been killed by the US and its partners prior to 9/11. Bin Laden also finds the sex trade, drug trade, usurious interest, gambling and immorality of the US very troublesome. He specifically mentioned Bill Clinton’s unpunished, scandalous affairs.

Many American Indian wars and the Mexican War were fought to steal cheap land.

Origen said “Nowhere does He teach that it is right for His own disciples to offer violence to anyone, however wicked. For He deemed the killing of any individual to be against His laws which were divine in origin. If Christians had owed their origins to a rebellion, they would not have adopted laws of so exceedingly mild a character. These laws do not even allow them on any occasion to resist their persecutors, even when they are called to be slaughtered as sheep.” Origen, Against Celsus, book 3 Chapter 7.

Many early pastors would not baptize soldiers until they left the military. Some Christian martyrs died for refusing to join the military and other became martyrs for refusing to kill when they were still in the military after they became Christian.

Augustine in the “City of God” used arguments from Plato and Cicero to justify war but did not do a good job bringing it back to the teachings of Jesus. His Biblical arguments seem weak. Augustine attempts to rely on Romans 13, but a careful reading shows Romans 13 does not justify Christian participation in war.

Martin Luther: At the beginning of his career he seems to have held a pacifist position. The nobles who supported him wanted religious justification for the consolidation of their power and to fight against rebelling peasants. Luther wrote to justify their position. Luther and Augustine said we can use violence because we love our neighbor, but they did not explain how we can love our neighbor while killing our neighbor who may also be our brother in Christ. If we decide it is right to kill, how do we decide which neighbor to protect or which neighbor to kill? Perhaps Luther would agree with Ambrose and Gratian and say we must protect our associates.

If the neighbor we protect is our associate, then should we kill the neighbor who is not our associate when we disagree with him? Are Ambrose and Gratian saying its right to kill Christian’s who are not our associates? This seems like a confusing and weak argument to me. What about the Good Samaritan loving his neighbor from an enemy country? Or John’s comment, 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16.

Our Christian neighbor is unlikely to think we love them as we kill them. What if our neighbor would have become a follower of Jesus if we had not killed him? Would Jesus want us to love our neighbor, even if that neighbor will never become a follower of Jesus? If we kill our neighbor or brother or sister for cheap oil, what will Jesus say at our life review or at the judgment?

Thomas Aquinas attempted to use John the Baptist’s advice to the soldiers to justify participation in the military. Rome expected both tax collectors and soldiers to supplement meager incomes by taking extra from the constituents. We do not know that John the Baptist did not also tell the soldiers they should leave the military profession. John the Baptist is not Jesus. Using John the Baptist’s comment seems a very weak argument for violence, especially when we put John the Baptist’s comment against the strong arguments for non-violence found in the teaching and example of Jesus.

General Booth: When General Booth started the Salvation Army, many of the early leaders felt the SA should become a pacifist organization. General Booth decided against taking a position on Christian participation in war because he felt discussing pacifism and militarism distracted from the Salvation Army’s main mission of bringing souls to Jesus and helping the poor and the addicts. But what about the poor and addicts who are killed by war?

Just War: When I read the Catholic Catechism, I interpret it to say that the United States has never fought a just war. Obviously, US foreign policy is wrong and unjust. However, if it were possible for a war to be just, I cannot seem to tie the teaching of the Catechism for just war back to the teachings of Jesus. Can just war be tied back to the teachings of Jesus?

I read “The Just War Tradition” by David Corey and “War: Four Christian Views,” by Robert Clouse. It seems to me that neither book justifies Christian participation in war based on the teachings of Jesus.

Christian Arguments for Christian Use of Violence

Some Christians today say with conviction that Christians have the right to “self-defense”. Do they think the right to self-defense is a self-evident truth? Self-defense is not a reason for violence found in the teachings of Jesus. Jesus gave us the example of refusing to defend himself when he died for us on the cross.

Others say if we are involved politically we need Christian war and violence. This also seems contrary to the teachings of Jesus and Ephesians 6:12. (Quoted above) And do we need to use violence to defend ourselves? There are many stories throughout history of angels protecting people. Or maybe Jesus wants us to be martyrs?

Some Christian’s say they are fighting for freedom, but a Christian beheaded by the sword of Boko Haram has more true freedom than the average American.

Some Christians use the story of when Jesus told the disciples to obtain swords before his crucifixion. When Peter used his sword, Jesus admonished Peter and healed Malchus. Jesus is demonstrating that violence is not the way of the Kingdom of God.

Some Christians claim the Old Testament demonstrates that Christians are justified in becoming involved in violence. The Bible is the history of God reaching out to man. It is a growing relationship. Man’s relationship with God has grown to the point that when Jesus came, man was ready to begin practicing the non-violent sacrifice and peacemaking that Jesus taught and demonstrated through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Military recruitment advertisements say the military is fighting for everyone. I do not want the military to steal land, bananas, and oil for me. Am I giving my approval for the military to do these things for me when I pay taxes?

Romans 13: Some Christians use Romans 13 to justify military service. When Paul wrote Romans 13 many zealot Jews were rebelling against Rome, Nero one of the bloodiest, was emperor. Paul is advising Christians not to rebel against Rome even if the Romans are unjust. Romans 13 is really an admonition not to use violence and in no way asks Christians to join the military or join in contributing to Rome’s injustice. I have read that a million Jews died in this revolt against Rome. The current US Empire has many similarities to Rome’s empire.

Is the US in danger? The US is fighting a 40-year war for cheap oil. Wherever our troops are stationed a booming sex industry flourishes. Abortion is rampant. Bombing, maiming, and killings occur every day. Many in America trust crystals for healing and speak to the dead. Many Americans trust the government military and police for physical protection. Many Americans trust government entitlement programs for daily food and Obamacare for medical care instead of turning to Jesus and the Church. The Assyrians took Israel into captivity. Babylon took Judah into captivity. Will America be taken into captivity?

Abortion and Euthanasia

Abortion and Euthanasia are obviously unethical and my letter is too long. I will not discuss the ethical reasons that I am opposed to paying for abortion and euthanasia.

I have many more arguments against Christian’s participating in violence and zero good arguments in favor of Christians participating in violence. My letter is already too long and I will stop.

Can the teaching of Augustine, or Gratian, or Aquinas, or Luther, or the Pope nullify the teachings of Jesus?

What am I missing about the thinking of Christians who say Christian violence and Christian’s paying for violence is acceptable?

Please point out any errors in my thinking.

Perhaps you can point out further reading that may be helpful to me?

Thank-you
Jon Kauffman
Fargo ND 58103

Professor Ardell Caneday of the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota, Professor of New Testament Studies and Greek made this comment.

Caneday, Ardel B <ABCaneday@unwsp.edu>
Mon 9/17/2018, 1:25 PM
Jon,
 
You are not alone with your ethical dilemma. It is necessary for every Christian to engage the same dilemma. Lamentably, many do not give the ethical issue much thought if any. I had to process the issues long ago. It is the age-old question asked of Jesus, whether to pay taxes to Caesar. Jesus’ answer stands true to this day, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” Of course, in truth, what belongs to Caesar also belongs to God.
 
So, your ethical dilemma will not be resolved by refusing to pay taxes, income or other kinds of taxes, and there are many ways you pay taxes to government entities.
 
You also do not resolve your ethical dilemma by reducing your taxable income. If you reduce your income you may reduce your tax liability, but you are still obligated to pay your taxes. You have not resolved your ethical dilemma. All that you have accomplished is to reduce your income and reduce the amount of funds from your earnings that the government will have to use on whatever nefarious causes it deems suitable. To reduce one’s income deliberately for such a notion runs contrary to all that is right, good, and Christian.
 
Here is the resolution to your ethical dilemma. It is really quite short and quite simple. You are not accountable for how governing officials use the tax dollars that you pay whether at a municipal level, a county level, a state level, or a federal level. Those who govern are accountable for their implementation of tax dollars. Of course, at every level of taxation, there is abominable waste. You are not accountable for that. You are also not accountable for the redistribution of your tax dollars to people who scheme and scam welfare programs. The same is true whether your tax dollars go to fund unconstitutional and unethical wars. Likewise, if moneys that you submit in the form of taxation go to fund abortions, you are not accountable for that.
 
If we do not acknowledge these truths and live in keeping with these truths, we will drive ourselves mad. Some have done so because they fail to understand that we are accountable only for what we endorse by our actions and with our resources. Any Christian has to go through the same process to serve within government at any level. A Christian county commissioner who votes against an immoral project that requires expenditures taken from tax dollars is not accountable for the immoral project if it passes on the votes of other commissioners.
 
I trust that this will set your mind at ease.
 
Blessings!
 
Professor Caneday, you make some excellent points. However, my question remains. Am I morally culpable if I do not cut my income when I can afford to live on less?

Copyright © 2018 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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Cain, Jesus and Super Heroes

Heroes are made through sacrifice. Cain’s sacrifice was unacceptable to God. In anger Cain killed the one he loved the most, his brother.

When King David was a boy, as a hero, he killed lions and bears. The shepherd David made the jungle a safe place for women to raise children. Then David joined the military. God had promised to fight for Israel and to drive their enemies from the land with hornets. King David took the defense against Philistines on his own shoulders. God would not allow David to build the temple because he had so much blood of men on his hands.

Saint Martin of Tours, a hero, joined the Roman military and acted as a policeman. When asked to go into battle, Martin refused to kill, because killing was contrary to his Christian faith.

Superman can catch a bullet with his hand and save the pretty girl from certain death.

Sidewalk counselors, as heroes, risk reputation and injury in front of abortion clinics to help young pregnant girls and rescue babies from death.

Many heroes in Las Vegas shielded the helpless from bullets with their own bodies and carried the injured to safety.

Jesus, the ultimate hero, conquered Rome, death and hell by dying on the cross.

When marines went to Honduras to ensure cheap bananas for the US, were they more like Cain or like Jesus?

When US pilots bombed villages in Laos because the Laotians would not send their 13 year old sons to fight against North Vietnam, were these pilots more like Cain or like Jesus?

When US pilots bombed every North Korean village, killing thousands of innocent men, women and children, were they more like Cain or like Jesus?

When American soldiers keep the Middle East in perpetual war killing millions of innocent people to ensure cheap oil and weapons contracts for the US, are they more like Cain or like Jesus?

Should a Christian fight for the US military?

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12. NIV

By Jon Kauffman

Copyright © 2017 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

Does 2 Timothy 2:3 & 4 Justify Christian Military Service?

 3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. 2 Timothy 2:3-4 NIV.

Some Christians would argue that these verses argue that Paul is permitting military service and putting military service in the light of an honorable profession with these verses.
However, verse 7 says to reflect on what Paul is saying for insight. Paul is simply showing that being a soldier in the military has qualities similar to the qualities required to teach the gospel.

These verses could be considered a warning to not join the military. If one is trying to please his military commanding officer, he will need to obey that earthly master instead of Jesus his heavenly master when his earthly master requires him to do something that is contrary to the teachings of Jesus. If a teacher of the gospel is serving his Commanding Officer Jesus, he cannot get entangled in military affairs.

Jesus said “Love your enemies.” Matthew 5:24 NIV. It is impossible to love your enemies when you are slaughtering them with bombs and killing their wives and children with drones.

By Jon Kauffman

Copyright © 2017 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

 

Revenge For 9/11

By Jon Kauffman

Jesus said, “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27,28.

Recently, in Sunday School class, we studied: Love My Enemies? By George Lyons.  Mr. Lyons makes excellent points in his study.

“Jesus claimed that those who observe the Golden rule for selfish reasons get no credit with God. Yet God will “reward” those who love, live, and give – even to enemies – out of sheer generosity. God takes note of those who treat others well, motivated only by love, with no expectation of reciprocity.” Love My Enemies? By George Lyons.

The early church did not take on Rome with violence. “It used subversive and counter cultural ways” to defeat the evil one.

“Luke’s account of Jesus’ trial, notes that He took His own advice. By refusing to retaliate, Jesus and His followers demonstrated the injustice of their enemies. (See 1 Peter 3:9, 15-17) They denied violent aggressors the power to determine their reaction or to turn them into powerless victims. Their unexpected response was not a sign of weakness, but of incredible strength.” Love My Enemies? By George Lyons.

I remember 9/11/2001 very clearly. I was at the Sportsman’s Lodge on the Rainy River near Lake of the Woods, taking an OSHA safety class when I heard about the attack in New York City.

In our Sunday School class, as we studied Jesus’ teaching on love of enemy, I realized that we as a nation did exactly the opposite of what Jesus taught us, both before and after 9/11.

The terrorists were from Saudia Arabia. The United States attacked Afghanistan and Iraq, taking great revenge, killing a million+ people in retaliation for the death of 3,000.  And we are still killing. So many of these people killed were innocent; men, women and children. We killed 2 year olds to satisfy our thirst for revenge. Bombs, drones, and missiles maimed and killed. Guns and tanks brought great slaughter.

Why did the terrorists attack? Did we even take that into consideration? In his “Letter to America,” Osama Bin Laden gave a long list of grievances against the United States. His grievances included the 80 years of US military invasions against the Middle East, US support of corrupt leaders in the Middle East, and the theft of oil at very low prices. He mentioned 1-½ million children who had been killed by US and its partners prior to 9/11. Bin Laden also finds the sex trade, drug trade, usurious interest, gambling and immorality of the US very troublesome. He specifically mentioned Bill Clinton’s unpunished, scandalous affairs.

The CIA said 9/11 was blowback from previous US military operations.

Are we fighting people who are fighting “Just War” as they attempt to defend themselves? Perhaps it is time for the United States to pull its troops out of the Middle East.

One of the biggest mistakes of the church was to accept “Just War” theology. Each side feels their side is right and commit atrocities against the other. Then they each feel more justified. Christians from the Holy Roman Empire and Muslims fought each other for hundreds of years, conquering and reconquering land held by the other. The US fought the communists in Korea and Vietnam. Christians deceived by Hitler fought Christians from Russia. The US has been at continuous war in the Middle East for nearly 40 years. Everyone claims their war is just. How can it be?

Copyright © 2017 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

Christians Submit to Authority?

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. I Peter 2:13-17 NIV

The First Epistle of Peter was written to various churches in Asia Minor, suffering religious persecution from both Jewish and Roman authorities. It was written about 64 AD, while Peter was in Rome during the rule of the Roman Emperor Nero. In AD 64, Rome burned. Some accused Nero of starting the fire to burn the city. To deflect the accusations, Nero accused the Christians and killed many. It was during this time of great persecution of the church that Peter was writing this letter, as suggested by Peter’s references to persecution and suffering. If killing and rebelling against an unjust state were acceptable to followers of Jesus, surely this was the time.

But Peter is telling Christians to submit to authorities who are killing them and destroying their homes.

Isn’t that how Jesus overcame the evil of the world? He had the power to protect himself in any way he wanted and yet He laid down his life on the cross so that he could overcome evil, institute His Kingdom and make eternal life available to all of us.

When Rome demanded that early Christians worship the emperor they refused. When Rome wanted early Christians to join the military they refused.

The early Church did not use Peter’s Epistle to justify military action or fighting for ones rights. When early Christians were accused of rebelling against the Jewish state when following Jesus, Origen said “Nowhere does He teach that it is right for His own disciples to offer violence to anyone, however wicked. For He deemed the killing of any individual to be against His laws which were divine in origin. If Christians had owed their origins to a rebellion, they would not have adopted laws of so exceedingly mild a character. These laws do not even allow them on any occasion to resist their persecutors, even when they are called to be slaughtered as sheep.” Origen, Against Celsus, book 3 Chapter 7.

Many Christians incorrectly use the First Epistle of Peter to justify participation in the US military.

by Jon Kauffman

Copyright © 2017 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

Science and the New Atheists

By Jon Kauffman

New Atheists Say: Scientific Discoveries have not been later proven wrong using religion:

Both Christians and atheist believe this statement is true. Atheists insinuate that this statement somehow disproves the validity of Christianity or the existence of God. It does not.

Another true statement:

Scientific discoveries have not disprove validity of Christianity.

Or another true statement:

Scientific discoveries question the validity atheism.

Science is not the right tool for proving or disproving a religion.

Science can only be used to test the physical universe. God as believed by Christians is outside the physical universe and is unavailable to science. We must logically infer that there is a God, because Jesus said that God is His Father. If Jesus rose from the dead, then we can believe he has access to great power. We can infer that because of that great power he knows what he is talking about when he says that God is His Father.

The resurrection of Jesus, is one of the best attested to events in history. The historical evidence is so strong that many, many people have been convinced that it is true. Science and logic can be used to test the evidence for the resurrection. For example, science can be used to determine the age of the Shroud of Turin to determine if it may be a useful piece of evidence to support the historical fact of the resurrection. When we have collected the evidence, we can deduce that the resurrection occurred because of the evidence.

Man cannot reproduce the circumstances around the resurrection; therefore the possibility of the resurrection cannot be scientifically proven through experimentation. It is also impossible for man to know all the ways a resurrection may have occurred; therefore it is impossible to prove that the resurrection did not occur through scientific experimentation.

Science can also be used to support certain atheist positions, such as “the world is round.” Atheism has existed far longer than Christianity. The book of Proverbs in the Bible discusses atheism and was written hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth. In the past some atheists have most likely believed that “the world is flat.” Science can be used to easily debunk such a possible atheistic belief.

Science can also be used to call into question claims made by certain Christians. For example: The earth was created 6,000 years ago. Many books have been written to show how recent scientific discoveries in physics and paleontology are compatible with a trust in Jesus. For example:

1.       “By Design, Science and the Search for God,” by Larry Witham

2.       “The Genesis Enigma, Why the Bible is Scientifically Accurate.” By Andrew Parker. Demonstrates that the theory of evolution is compatible with Genesis in the Bible.

3.    “Undeniable,” by Douglas Axe. Demonstrates that the Darwinian theory of Evolution is statistically impossible without the presence of an intelligent designer. Axe proves his position, then says, “Functional coherence makes accidental invention fantastically improbable and therefore physically impossible.” Page 189.

Science or historical-grammatical method may someday prove some of the assertions of these people wrong, but that will not invalidate the reasonableness of a belief in God. When I read “A Brief History of Time,” my belief in God was strengthened. While reading, I was amazed at the wonder of nature. I know that evidence for the resurrection makes belief in the existence of God logical and probable and I asked myself “How can Stephen Hawking be an atheist after seeing such natural wonder?” 

Science is quite compatible with the Christian belief in God.

Copyright © 2017 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

Yes for Bush, but No for Hitler?

By Jon Kauffman

“In a speech delivered by President Bush at the U.S. Military Academy on June 1, 2002, Bush made the case for preventive war. Back in 1946, the Nuremberg Tribunal had categorically condemned preventive war. ‘To initiate a war of aggression,’ it declared, ‘ is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole,’ No presidential administration since that time had dared to question this dictum. The Bush administration was now seeking to carve out exceptions that would be exclusive to the United States.”Page 244, America’s War for the Greater Middle East, by Retired Army Colonel Andrew J. Bacevich.

“America’s War” is a masterful telling of the war in the Middle East which has lasted almost unnoticed by American’s for nearly 40 years. Bacevich provides a myriad of details about the operations, policies and motivations for the long, expensive war which is creating enemies and failing to achieve objectives. He exposes reasons for failure and asks when it will end.

A few of the many campaigns and operations since 1980 include Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Desert Strike, Northern Watch, Desert Fox, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, Inherent Resolve, Restore Hope, Gothic Serpent, Desert Shield, Determined Force, Provide Comfort, Joint Endeavor and a multitude of other operations. Nice sounding names, but many were aggressive wars to line the pockets of military contractors at the expense of the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the Middle East.

Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barak Obama all took part. Bombing, ground troops, propaganda, mis-information and “blatant scare mongering,” arming rebels who became terrorists, drone warfare, creating enemies…tens of thousands of innocent men women and children have died, millions became refugees, homeless and hungry.

Clinton fought in Bosnia, Kosovo and Somalia.  The Movie “Black Hawk Down”, tells part of that story.

During the George W. Bush administration, General Wesley Clark claims the plan was to take out 7 countries in 5 years.

Saddam Hussein was a tyrant, but he was able to keep the different Islamic factions in line and hold a semblance of peace. In 2003 after George W. Bush took out Saddam Hussein, no one was able to contain the Islamic Extremists. Christians in Iraq suffered greatly. ISIS was born.

George W. Bush authorized the first drone attack in 2004. Obama greatly increased the attacks. By 2015 over 4,000 people were killed most of them innocent by-standers, including many children. Many of these drone attacks were in the country of our ally, Pakistan.

George W. Bush concentrated most of his war-making in Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama closed down the Iraq war but expanded the fighting in Afghanistan and began spreading the carnage to such places as Libya, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Sudan, and Somalia, and then returning to Iraq to fight ISIS.

And what happened to terrorism during this time. As Bacevich says, “Here was a disease deemed acutely lethal. Yet the treatment administered by the United States to reduce the presence of the disease in certain organs had accelerated it’s spread to others. In Africa, the infection appeared rampant.” In Africa the enemy included, “Ansar Dine, Boko Haram, and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,….all were offspring of the original Al Qaeda.” Page 337.

The War for the Greater Middle East began in earnest to protect United States oil interests. In 1948, the United States with 6 1/2% of the population controlled 50% of the world’s wealth. Today, the United States has 5% of the population and controls 25% of the world’s wealth. American’s have been ready, willing and able to use their military to protect their wealth, power and way of life. Today The Middle East War is a quagmire, without purpose, from which we cannot extricate ourselves. Today our oil interests lie closer to home, North Dakota, Canada and Latin America.

Bacevich closes by saying, “Perpetuating the War for the Greater Middle East is not enhancing American freedom, abundance, and security. If anything it is having the opposite effect. One day the American people may awaken to this reality. Then and only then will the war end. When this awakening will occur is impossible to say. For no, sadly, Americans remain in deep slumber.” Page 370.

Can a Christian in good conscience fight for a military who upholds such an unjust foreign policy? Can a Christian in good conscience fight for a military lead by men such as Bush and Obama who would be considered guilty of war crimes if judged by the Nuremberg Tribunal?  

Please read, “America’s War for the Greater Middle East, A Military History,” by Andrew J. Bacevich, Random House, April 5, 2016. It is possible that you will not be glad you did. Can America really be that evil?

Copyright © 2017 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.