"A Conservative News Forum"
The Church and the Battle to Remove Hussein
Northern Illinois Conference - United Methodist Church ^ | 3/22/2003 |
Posted on 03/21/2003 11:31 PM PST by
After a series of anti-war articles in our church weekly that went beyond bad
taste into disrespect, my wife and I made the difficult decision to leave our
church. Below is my letter to the leadership. The church is the United Methodist
Church of Northern Illinois. I didn't post the specific article that came out in
our weekly newspaper, but suffice to say that it was riddled with anti-Bush,
anti-American diatribe that rivaled the worst of the San Francisco lot. It even
included ad hominem attacks against American for slavery, racism, Bush Sr.,
Cheney, and just about anything else the author could think of.
Pastor [Donald F. Guest],
It is with deep regret that I must inform you that Mary and I intend to
terminate our membership with the First United Methodist Church. I have grown
increasingly disturbed by the political statements being made by the leadership
in the FUMC over the last few months. While I respect the rights of others to
protest our nation's actions against Iraq, I do not wish to belong to an
organization that assumes it can speak for me, while insulting my religious and
political beliefs at the same time. I am, or course, referring to the articles
printed in the latest issue of the Northern Illinois Reporter.
In particular, I found the article written by [Donald F. Guest ] filled with
hate-mongering insults and anti-American dribble. I believe such an article does
not belong in a professional religious publication. When I read Dr. [Donald F.
Guest ]'s article, I thought I
was reading the latest Democratic National Committee press release, not the
opinions of a religious leader in my church.
I do not intend to respond in this email to the specific insults and
allegations leveled by Dr. [Donald F. Guest ], but I will provide a few links at the bottom of
this email that sum up why I believe we, as Christians, should actually be
SUPPORTING military action to remove Hussein, not attacking those who are doing
the "dirty work."
Independent evidence (from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, The
United Nations Human Rights Council) indicates we are encountering the same type
of evil in Iraq that we suffered under in the late 1930's, when Hitler was
beginning his campaign to rid the world of the Jews and anyone else that stood
in his way. Many chose to ignore the threat of Hitler in the late 1930's, even
going so far as to demand the disarmament of European nations while Hitler built
his armies. The "enlightened" in the United States and Great Britain took the
position that as long as their countries weren't directly threatened, they
shouldn't confront Hitler. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, in an
effort to achieve "peace in our time," negotiated away the Sudetenland to
appease Hitler and avoid a war. Many churches argued against the confrontation
of Hitler because of the potential loss of life that would come from a war.
Shame on them. While its true that the Allied Forces eventually ended Hitler's
reign of terror, I often wonder how many thousands, nay millions, may have been
saved if we'd had the courage to enter the war earlier.
We now find ourselves in the same situation today when we look to Iraq. We
know, because every human rights organization on the planet tells us so, that
Hussein is committing unspeakable acts of terror against his people. How dare we
stand by and allow this to go on simply because he is not committing them
against Americans. If we ignore the plight of the innocent Iraqis who suffer
under Hussein, simply because it doesn't affect us directly, what does that say
about us as a people and a as a nation? If we argue for negotiations, like
Chamberlain in 1938, how many more will die while we allow Hussein to continue
I am reminded of our church's recent activities during Black History month.
How can we celebrate the liberation of African Americans from slavery while
condemning those who would liberate an entire country from the same type of
atrocities, and say it is in the name of "peace?"
I am not saying that I want our government to interfere in every country that
doesn't practice our form of government. Nor do I believe we can police the
world alone. But lets face it, somebody has to do it, and the United Nations has
abrogated its responsibilities as a World body. How else can one explain the UN
kicking the United States off the Human Rights Council while placing Moamar
Khadafy of Libya in charge of the committee.
I believe we as Christians should demand our government stand up for all
people in the world, wherever they live, whatever their color, whatever religion
they follow. I am not suggesting we celebrate war or aggression, or even support
it. As a church, we must set an example of how peaceful people behave. But we
must not undermine the effort to free an oppressed people, or arrogantly assume
we have the right, by virtue of our religious beliefs, to insult those who do
take action against tyrants.
I thank God every day that my family lives in the United States, where we
enjoy the greatest riches and the most incredible freedoms that any country in
the history of the World has ever offered. As a member of our country's
military, I have fought for our way of life. But our country does not exist
without a price. Men and women like Mary and me defend the US every day, and
without our sacrifices, our country, even the free world, would not exist. I
don't want a pat on the back. But I do not think it is too much to ask that my
religion not insult me.
Articles for your consideration:
- Human Rights Watch
- Amnesty International
- Sydney Morning Herald
I just had to post the original letter that precipitated this. I couldn't
find it online, so I scanned and OCR'd it. Here it is. From a senior church
leader in Chicago, no less.
Dr. Donald F. Guest 's Article
Our obsession with violence will ultimately be our undoing
violence that we sanction anywhere will ultimately undo us everywhere.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., referred to the United States of America as the
"greatest purveyor of violence in the world." All the broken Native American
treaties and slaughters, as well as the wholesale lynching and burning of black
men, women and children, bear witness to our violent history and nature. No
piece of paper, whether a law on the books or a sermon from the pew, has ever
stopped America from destroying, murdering, and stealing anything in its path to
We want to believe our President. We want to believe Dick Cheney, Condoleezza
Rice and Colin Powell. But no matter how sincere George W. Bush appears to be
and no matter how many times he refers to God and faith and truth and democracy,
the reality makes it impossible.
We were told with all certainty by Bush and Powell and Rice that Saddam Hussein
has gassed his people, We later found out that those charges were false. Prior
to his "State of the Union" address, the President told us that an independent
nuclear regulatory commissioned released a report showing that Iraq was close to
developing a nuclear bomb. Not only was this not true, but the regulatory
commission cited stated that it had never released such a report.
Don't take my word for it. All you have to do is to go to the web page for 60
Minutes or a dozen other national and international news agencies for
verification. We want to trust Our leaders, but it is hard to do so when they
have blatantly tied with no apology: not even a correction or retraction has
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has warned that if the United States attacks Iraq, it
the World Trade Center bombing as the most barbarous war crime of the 21st
century. He alleges that this is about oil and has nothing to do with the evils
of Saddam Hussein, nor the wounded pride of the Bush family. But as a nation we
(at least 47% of us) seem determined to embrace fiction over fantasy and myths
of macho and bravado over the forbearance, humility, love, and patience - the
values promoted by the Jesus that Bush so fervently claims to embrace - over
inspections and reasoned negotiations. The disrespect that our President has
shown Kofi Annan is without parallel. We wonder along with Bishop Tutu if this
disdain of the U.N, General Secretary would be as pointed and unapologetic if he
were European rather than African. We were recently told conclusive proof exists
that Saddam Hussein has definite ties to Al Qaeda. Assuming we are not being
lied to again, is this justification to plunge thousands of Iraqi and American
children into the bell of modem technological warfare?
It is a known fact that former President George Herbert Walker Bush is a
lobbyist for a large Saudi Arabian cartel that is dominated by the Bin Laden
family (many former presidents, senators, and congressmen have worked as
lobbyists for foreign interests in Washington as a source of income.). Since we
know that money does not grow on trees and no one is giving weapons away, Osama
must be getting or has gotten some of his money from his family's interests. So
should we also place the President's father under house arrest or call for an
inspection of the family holdings in Texas or Kennebunkport, Maine?
Newsweek (Feb. 10) reported that even as White House officials scrambled to pull
Colin Powell's case together about the latest so,-called intercepts of the
National Security Agency, the CIA said it could not confirm the material that
Pentagon officials said would be "killer points" for the Secretary of State's
presentation. (And we wonder why Harry Belafonte says the things he does about
Powell). Newsweek also reported that "the administration has drastically played
down nuclear weapons as a threat."
What happened to America's free press and free speech? Why are we not hearing an
alternative, voice to this mad rush toward violence from anyone anywhere other
than the Church? Thank God for the United Methodist bishops, laity and clergy
who are standing against this administration's war madness. If we don't begin to
contain the violence that emanates from the White House and the Pentagon, we
will never quell the violence in our schools and in our Streets.
On the same weekend as the Columbia disaster, the Rev. Gary L. Curt was savagely
beaten in his home as he fought to protect his wife, Marybeth, from the attack
of an assailant. We take no pleasure in reporting that this did not occur in
urban or suburban Chicago, but far north in the town of Antioch.
The violence we sanction anywhere will ultimately undo us everywhere. It is time
for United Methodists to take the call to non-violence and an end to senseless
wars seriously, even if we have to proclaim this to the most powerful Caesar to
date in the world's history.
By Dr. Donald F. Guest
Superintendent Chicago Southern District
This article was excerpted from the February edition of The Bridge, the
Chicago Southern District newsletter.
Chicago Southern District
The Rev. Donald F. Guest
11030 S. Longwood Dr., Chicago, IL 60643
Phone: (773) 298-0944
Fax: (773) 298-0974
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