Friday, September 28, 2007
Students Walk Out on the Pledge
According to the Denver Post:
About 50 Boulder High School students walked out of class Thursday to protest the daily reading of the Pledge of Allegiance and recited their own version, omitting "one nation, under God."
Good for them. It's good to see young people standing on principle and refusing to participate in a nationalistic ritual that excludes large percentages of fellow Americans who don't believe in God (or who refuse to have their belief in God sullied by this idolatrous appropriation by civil religion). The students alternative pledge read as follows:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag and my constitutional rights with which it comes. And to the diversity, in which our nation stands, one nation, part of one planet, with liberty, freedom, choice and justice for all.”
While this pledge I think is significantly better than the current one, I still would not say it. As I've written about here before, my problem with the pledge has more to do with the "I pledge allegiance" part than with the "under God" part. As a citizen of God's kingdom and a follower of the Lord Jesus, I don't believe I ought to be pledging my allegiance to any political nation-state. As Jesus said, no one can serve two masters. In this case I could either pledge my allegiance to America, or to the God who rules over all nations, and who includes all human beings in his family. However, I cannot do both.

I know many Christians who think that you can, and would say that their allegiance to America is simply subordinate to their allegiance to Christ, but in truth, I've known enough extreme patriotic Christians (and been one once) to know that usually it ends up the other way around, with American interests taking precedence over the values of God's kingdom. So, in the interest of avoiding idolatry, I personally choose to not pledge my allegiance to any human authority.

via Friendly Atheist

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posted by Mike Clawson at 10:07 AM | Permalink |


42 Comments:


At 9/28/2007 12:59:00 PM, Blogger Jo Cool

Mike, I agree with your assertion that as Christians our allegiance is to the kingdom of God and His righteousness. I applaud your reasoned decision to withhold pledging allegiance to any human authority. Personally, I have not come to that point yet. The phrase "under God" is vital to my personal pledge as it helps keep my allegiances in the proper relationship. Without that phrase I would choose to join you in silent abstention.

 

At 9/28/2007 04:26:00 PM, Anonymous Mike

Interesting. I was invovled in a conversation a while back regarding early Christians. The debate was, "if we took a bunch of first century Christians to our time, would they say the pledge".
We concluded no. In their minds it would have seemed like praying to the Caesar.

 

At 9/28/2007 06:14:00 PM, Anonymous Miko

That's an interesting analysis. I've felt similarly about it in the past (or, as similarly as possible from a nontheistic viewpoint). I really like the fact that the students brought the Constitution into it, however. I'd agree that pledging absolute allegience to any authority is probably a bad idea, but I see the pledge to the Consitutional ideals as more of a pledge of shared community with the fellow residents of my country and as a commitment to work together to achieve our goals than as a jingoist ideal. It's not as perfect as doing it globally, granted, but it seems a step in the right direction at least.

 

At 9/28/2007 06:25:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

That's a good way of looking at it Miko. I think government at its best is about community and communal responsibilities to each other. However, since we are all one human family (which is true both from a Christian and a non-theistic point of view), I am still not willing to pledge myself solely to a community that excludes some members of that larger family as foreigners and outsiders.

 

At 9/29/2007 06:24:00 AM, Blogger Kay

As a Jehovah's Witness I did not say the pledge for 10 years. (They take allegiance to God rather than allegiance to Caesar very seriously.) Since I left the JWs I have not had an occasion arise requiring me to say it, but if I did, I still don't think I would.

Good post Mike.

 

At 9/29/2007 08:29:00 AM, Blogger C. L. Hanson

This post illustrates some common goals and reasoning among theists and non-theists as I was talking about in my post about my passionate secularism. In particular, your comment about "idolatry" is related to my point #2 about how mixing church and state harms religion.

Like you, I'm a little leery about the pledge in general, and not just the "under God" part that was added. My first objection is that children are often pressured to make this pledge -- effectively to give their word on something -- before they're old enough to understand it. My other main objection is that the standard pledge is vague enough that it can lend itself to an attitude that assuming your country's actions are always right is more virtuous than working to see to it that your country's actions are right, which ultimately can harm your country more than it helps. That is, I think patriotism should ultimately be subordinate to one's conscience. However, their new version -- emphasizing the authority derived from following the constitution -- seems okay to me.

BTW, your contention that national loyalty should be subordinate to allegiance to the kingdom of God (and that national allegiance is inherently suspect because of the danger of confusing the order of importance) is an interesting one. It makes me wonder why anyone would suggest that atheists are the ones who aren't patriots. Logically they make better patriots since they have one less competing loyalty.

 

At 9/29/2007 12:25:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Oh, I totally agree C.L. Christians ought to make lousy patriots... that is, if they were really paying attention to the gospel of Jesus (e.g. if Jesus is Lord then that means "Caesar" is not). Unfortunately (IMHO) many Christians these days don't follow the gospel of Jesus so much as a syncretistic blending of Christianity and American civil religion.

 

At 10/01/2007 10:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous

Regarding students walking out, you said, "Good for them." On what grounds can you justify students walking out of class? Doesn't this mentality have the potential to create anarchy? If a student doesn't want to say the pledge, he or she is not obligated to do so. Why would it be justified for these students to create a "stink" in the presence of other students who DO want to say the pledge (and judging from the numbers, since only 50 walked out, the majority are either ambivalent or DO want to say the pledge). Furthermore, if the pledge REALLY is a sticking point for the families of these students, why not work through the proper channels like contacting the principal, school board, or even legislatures? I for one would not want my high school daughter to break the school's policy by walking out, especially when it comes to a matter like a pledge which is not something that would be forced on her (for the record, my daughter does not object to the pledge).

If this justification of students "walking out" is sound, then should conservative evangelicals have the right to walk out of class when evolution is taught? I say no. What do you say? Do they have the right to walk out when other issues are raised that are diametrically opposed to their faith? Heaven help us if any child in any school is encouraged to walk out of school for these matters. We cannot have the students in our schools living as in the days of the judges when "everyone did as he saw fit." (Judges 17:6 and 21:25).

-George C. Jensen
Enola, PA

P.S. - Although I do say the pledge, I am not arguing with your objection to the pledge. You have a valid point. I am arguing with the premise that it was good for those students to violate school policy and walk out.

 

At 10/01/2007 12:07:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Hi George,

IMHO peaceful protest and civil disobedience is a cornerstone of American democracy and essential to a free society. By staging this protest these students probably learned more lasting and valuable lessons about life and about politics than they ever would from the classes they missed. (I guarantee they will remember this walk-out far, far longer than they will ever remember anything taught in those classes.)

At any rate, I said "good for them" primarily because I think young people today (and not just young people) are often far too apathetic. We are distracted by our TV shows, video games, sports, work, etc. and don't take the time to ever speak out about the numerous important issues of our day. Where are the young people protesting this immoral war in Iraq like there were back in the '60s? Where are the young people to protest injustice and poverty and racism, and...? The fact that 50 teenagers cared enough about a cause to actually do something about it is a good sign in my book, since the default setting for most people these days is apathy.

As for your other hypotheticals (about students protesting evolution or whatever), yes, they have a right to stage similar protests if they like. In fact, some do. And the school has a right to not give in to them if they don't want to. (As it seems Boulder High will not give in to these students either.) Ultimately if evangelical students are that concerned about it, they also have a right to be homeschooled or go to a Christian school down the road if they so choose - just as these anti-pledge students have a right to leave too.

I don't think it's about everyone doing what's right in their own eyes. I think it's about young people standing on principle and using the only power they have available to them to make their voices heard.

Peace,
-Mike

 

At 10/05/2007 05:44:00 PM, Anonymous jazzact13

So, does this mean these kids have given up the rights they enjoy as US citizens? You know, the whole freedom of speech thing, and all that.

Or is this just a case of "We'll thumbs our nose at 'the man', but if we get in trouble, you'd better be there to bail us out"?

Yeah, when the heat is on, they'll be crying "I got my rights!!"

What that saying about dogs biting hands that feed them?

 

At 10/05/2007 11:32:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

jazzact, I'm not sure what you mean, and I suspect that you're missing the point of their protest. You did read the part about their alternative pledge of allegiance to the flag and to the constitution, didn't you?

 

At 10/06/2007 09:36:00 AM, Anonymous jazzact13

Yes, I did, and I stand by what I said. Sorry, but pledging allegiance isn't like making your own wedding vows (I'm not sure I like that practice anyway, as I think the traditional vows say it quite well, but that's a rabbit trail...)

And read what they said, as least as recorded on your page. Their words are " pledge allegiance to the flag and my constitutional rights with which it comes." They don't pledge allegiance to the Constitution, but to the rights they receive from it. See, it's all about 'them' and what they can get.

And then there's this, "And to the diversity, in which our nation stands,". So we've replaced 'republic', a concrete thing, with 'diversity', an abstraction which can't be measured. How very PC of them.

"one nation, part of one planet, with liberty, freedom, choice and justice for all."

Choice? So, what is that suppose to mean? Is it an underhanded nod to supposed 'freedom of choice' upon which abortion is founded?

And "under God" is replaced with "part of one planet". Again, PC-ness.

Sorry, but this 'pledge' is garbage. It's meaningless. It's political correctness in all it's sorriness.

 

At 10/06/2007 12:23:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Well, as I said, I think both pledges, the original and their revision, are garbage. I refuse to pledge allegiance to anything but God's kingdom.

 

At 10/06/2007 03:48:00 PM, Anonymous jazzact13

One more little thought...

Granting these are high school students, so they probably wouldn't have too much dough on them, but I think it would have been interesting to have checked their billfolds and purses and seen just how much US money they had on them.

You know, that money with the words "In God We Trust" on it.

So, does their not liking the pledge mean they're not accepting or using US money either? Or do their conviction only go so far as their pockets and purses?

Not going to hold my breath waiting for the answer to that one.

 

At 10/06/2007 09:38:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

If it were up to me we'd take that idolatrous phrase off our money as well. What was it that Jesus said about not being able to serve both God and money?...

But of course we sometimes don't have as much of a choice as we'd like when it comes to participating in the systems of empire. Just like the early Christians we have to learn how to live and survive in the midst of empire without letting our imaginations and our values be taken captive by it, as so many here in the Pax Americana have. So while we may have to use the idolatrous symbols of civil religion to survive, we don't have to let ourselves be controlled by them.

 

At 10/08/2007 06:54:00 AM, Anonymous jazzact13

--If it were up to me we'd take that idolatrous phrase off our money as well.--

Well, then, we are all glad that it is not up to you.

--What was it that Jesus said about not being able to serve both God and money?...--

And that has...what...absolutely nothing to do with the phrase "In God We Trust" being on our money.

Funny, isn't it, how of all the things Jesus was critical of people like the Pharisees for, the one thing he didn't call them was idolatrous when he pointed out that their coins had Caesar's image on them. Instead, he pointed out their duty as parts of the Roman society to pay taxes.

--Just like the early Christians we have to learn how to live and survive in the midst of empire without letting our imaginations and our values be taken captive by it, as so many here in the Pax Americana have.--

Wow, you have drunk the kool-aid, haven't you. Granted, you link to Kucinich's web site, but I did have some hope...

For one thing, don't kid yourself. Comparing yourself to the early Christians is laughable. Last I checked, the worst Christians in the US have to put up with the mischaracterizations by Brian McLaren and nonsense by guys like Dawkins. Haven't seen any Christian bonfires or lion pits around recently here.


Another thing, calling the US an empire only reveals how wrong you are. Sorry to disappoint you, but we are not an empire.

 

At 10/08/2007 10:38:00 AM, Blogger Mike Clawson

"Sorry to disappoint you, but we are not an empire."

Really? How do you figure?

I mean, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and talks like a duck...

 

At 10/08/2007 10:59:00 AM, Blogger Mike Clawson

I should also point out that I didn't invent this language of American Empire. The neo-conservatives have been talking about the idea of American Empire (with a favorable tone) for over a decade now. Bush's entire foreign policy is based on this idea that we are and should be an empire that spreads "peace", "freedom" and "prosperity" to the whole world through our military and economic might.

So tell me, how is this any different than the rhetoric of ancient Rome, who also promised peace, freedom and prosperity by the force of Roman arms? And how is any of this not idolatrous to those of us who recognize King Jesus as the ultimate source of all peace, freedom, and sustenance?

 

At 10/08/2007 01:48:00 PM, Anonymous jazzact13

--Really? How do you figure?

I mean, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and talks like a duck...--

How do I figure? I'm not the one trying to call a democracy an empire based solely on my own little leftie biases.

And what you're doing is more like trying to stick a plastic duck's bill on a cow and telling everyone it's quacking.

--Bush's entire foreign policy is based on this idea that we are and should be an empire that spreads "peace", "freedom" and "prosperity" to the whole world through our military and economic might.--

Really? Did you hear words like 'empire' yourself, or is that moveon.org tells you they say?

 

At 10/08/2007 03:49:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Nope, not from moveon.org. From the neoconservative think tank "Project for a New American Century" (whose members include Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and John Bolton among many other Bush administration staff persons). In their 2000 statement entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New Century" they explicitly state:

"The United States is the world's only superpower, combining preeminent military power, global technological leadership, and the world's largest economy... America's grand strategy should aim to preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future as possible... Yet no moment in international politics can be frozen in time; even a global Pax Americana will not preserve itself."

Sounds pretty imperialistic to me. They are the ones using the term "Pax Americana" (an overt allusion to the "Pax Romana"). And what is the effective difference between an "empire" and a "superpower" anyway?

And you still haven't answered how you can reconcile America's claims to bring peace, freedom and prosperity to the world, when as Christians we believe those things can only come through Christ. Even if you don't want to use the word "empire" these kind of claims still constitute blatant idolatry.

 

At 10/09/2007 10:23:00 AM, Anonymous jazzact13

First off, I must thank you for introducing me to what looks to be a very interesting website. No doubt I shall find much in it rewarding.

And I shall look at what link to, though it is quite a large pdf and you provide no points of reference such as page numbers.

For now, though, here is something from another website, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century

PNAC co-founder Robert Kagan counters such criticism in his statement during a debate on whether or not "The United States Is, and Should Be, an Empire":

"There is a vital distinction between being powerful--even most powerful in the world--and being an empire. Economic expansion does not equal imperialism, and there is no such thing as "cultural imperialism." If America is an empire, then why was it unable to mobilize its subjects to support the war against Saddam Hussein? America is not an empire, and its power stems from voluntary associations and alliances. American hegemony is relatively well accepted because people all over the world know that U.S. forces will eventually withdraw from the occupied territories.

The effect of declaring that the United States is an empire would not only be factually wrong, but strategically catastrophic. Contrary to the exploitative purposes of the British, the American intentions of spreading democracy and individual rights are incompatible with the notion of an empire. The genius of American power is expressed in the movie The Godfather II, where, like Hyman Roth, the United States has always made money for its partners. America has not turned countries in which it intervened into deserts; it enriched them. Even the Russians knew they could surrender after the Cold War without being subjected to occupation."

 

At 10/10/2007 07:08:00 AM, Anonymous jazzact13

These failures are not without cost: already, they place at risk an historic opportunity. After the victories of the past century – two world wars, the Cold War and
most recently the Gulf War – the United States finds itself as the uniquely powerful leader of a coalition of free and prosperous
states that faces no immediate great-power challenge.

The American peace has proven itself peaceful, stable and durable. It has, over the
past decade, provided the geopolitical framework for widespread economic growth
and the spread of American principles of liberty and democracy. Yet no moment in
international politics can be frozen in time; even a global Pax Americana will not preserve itself.


So, this is what they meant by 'Pax Americana', the simple realization that the victories of the US and allies in recents wars and armed conflicts has lead to some level of peace in the world. Not that the US is doing some kind of Pinkie and the Brain "trying to take over the world" thing.

Btw, to find those paragraphs, look on p.13 of the pdf, though it is p.1 in the document itself.

And you still haven't answered how you can reconcile America's claims to bring peace, freedom and prosperity to the world, when as Christians we believe those things can only come through Christ. Even if you don't want to use the word "empire" these kind of claims still constitute blatant idolatry.

Then I will answer you like this. You have already made clear your distain for even the most modest of national acknowledgements by the US of it's reliance on God--you seem to want to remove "under God" from the pledge and have plainly stated you would remove"in God we trust" from our money, and I wonder if you wouldn't remove or rephrase such things as "endowed by our Creator" from such documents as our Constitution. As such, I can safely assume that if US leaders were to say that they want to spread Christianity to the world so as to also spread peace, freedom, and prosperity, you would be one of those crying the loudest against such language, perhaps even bringing up the word 'idolatrous' again in regards to that.

As such again, I wonder what you complain about. If such language is being used as you claim, then why isn't it sufficiently non-religious or non-christian for your tastes?

 

At 10/10/2007 10:33:00 AM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Slapping a few pious phrases on our money or documents doesn't make a nation "Christian" and doesn't mean that all of its actions are thereby blessed by God.

American claims to bring peace and prosperity to the world hides the fact that its "peace" is built by means of violence and its prosperity is built on the backs of the poor, especially in the developing world. This is antithetical to the gospel of Jesus who said to love ones enemies and commanded us to give away our wealth for the sake of the poor.

 

At 10/10/2007 11:49:00 AM, Blogger Derek Berner

"endowed by their Creator" is in the Declaration of Independence, actually, not the Constitution, and was written by a Deist to assert the self-evidence of personal liberties in order to proclaim independence from Britain, and was NOT an invocation of the Christian God.

 

At 10/10/2007 11:57:00 AM, Anonymous jazzact13

Slapping a few pious phrases on our money or documents doesn't make a nation "Christian" and doesn't mean that all of its actions are thereby blessed by God.

Which has nothing to do with your previous contention.

American claims to bring peace and prosperity to the world hides the fact that its "peace" is built by means of violence

Yes, we have gone to war. And you should be glad we have. Yes, we have a military. And you should thank God we do.

After all, without them, you'd either be heiling the fuhrer, or bowing towards Mecca.

and its prosperity is built on the backs of the poor, especially in the developing world.

The problem with of the developing world are manifold--bad governmental leaders, bad communistic forms of government that have been shown time and again to be failures, various kinds of tensions in their borders, religious persecution, governments which do not allow freedoms, etc.

Most of which have nothing to do with the US.

This is antithetical to the gospel of Jesus who said to love ones enemies

Interesting. I hardly see why 'loving ones enemies' means not defending ourselves when they choose to attack us (remember 9-11?), nor will you find any kind of anti-military rhetoric in the Bible.

and commanded us to give away our wealth for the sake of the poor.

Really? Where?

Oh, Jesus did tell one young man to do that, yes. Strange that he didn't tell others to do it, though.

Nicodemus? Nope, no mention of his wealth (and being a Pharisee, he probably had more then two denarii to rub together). Jesus just told him to be born again.

The woman at the well? Again, no mention of her money either.

The Roman Centurion? Not only does this put paid to any anti-military rhetoric, but again Jesus says nothing about him impoverishing himself in order for his servant to be healed.

The man whose daughter was sick an dying? Nope.

Nor did Jesus condemn Mary, Martha, and Lazarus for having their own place.

Funny how a clear reading of Scripture just doesn't support that kind of socialistic mindset, eh?

 

At 10/10/2007 12:00:00 PM, Anonymous jazzact13

--"endowed by their Creator" is in the Declaration of Independence, actually, not the Constitution,--

As I said, "from such documents as our Constitution", although I do thank you for the correction.

 

At 10/10/2007 12:20:00 PM, Blogger jazzact13

And I think your assertion slightly missed the point, Derek. That being that the Declaration still makes mention of a religious idea concerning a 'Creator' who has 'endowed' us with things.

Whether what was meant by 'Creator' would have been the biblical God or not is for the moment irrelevant. It is still religious language, and as such I think it meets with the disapproval of such as clawson.

 

At 10/10/2007 12:55:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

I'm not going to get into a proof-texting war with you jazzact. The reality is that there are over 3000 verses in the Bible that speak to issues of economic justice and our responsibilities to the poor. How many can you find to support trickle-down economics and Free Trade?

 

At 10/10/2007 01:16:00 PM, Blogger Derek Berner

True, the DI contains a small amount of vaguely semi-religious language but considering Thomas Jefferson was probably a Freemason I doubt he was invoking any kind of state-sponsored religion as grounds for independence from England.

Our Constitution itself contains no overt religious language, except possibly for the first amendment specifying that there can be no state-sponsored religion.

Separation of church and state is a good thing. The church stays out of the state's business and the state stays out of the church's.

 

At 10/10/2007 02:20:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

BTW jazzact, which of America's four most recent wars would you describe as "defending ourselves when they choose to attack us"?

Or howabout the Spanish American War, or the Mexican-American War, or the numerous Indian Wars - wars fought explicitly for the sake of conquest?

And by what twisted logic could anyone describe our current policy of pre-emptive war as "defensive"?

You don't have to be a pacifist (which I am not) to know that most of America's wars have not met the criterion of Just War.

 

At 10/10/2007 03:02:00 PM, Anonymous jazzact13

The reality is that there are over 3000 verses in the Bible that speak to issues of economic justice and our responsibilities to the poor.

I did not say there was nothing in the Bible about helping such as orphans and widows, those who are largely unable to help themselves.

What I asked of you was where in the Bible we are "commanded (us) to give away our wealth for the sake of the poor".

No, clawson, don't try to redirect the discussion. You made that claim, so either support it or retract it.

Separation of church and state is a good thing. The church stays out of the state's business and the state stays out of the church's.

If you're going to say that, you're going to have to contend with Jefferson's other words about the 'wall of separation' being a wall keeping the state from interfering with the church, and not the other way around.

In other words, the Founders didn't see the church as some kind of voiceless adjunct to the state, without right to comment on anything the state does.

 

At 10/10/2007 05:04:00 PM, Anonymous monkeymind

"In other words, the Founders didn't see the church as some kind of voiceless adjunct to the state, without right to comment on anything the state does."
Well, I don't think Mike or other Christians with similar ideas on church and state, such as Mennonites and Quakers, are saying that the church doesn't have a right to critique the state. Rather, the idea is that taking the government's cheese -i.e. faith-based funding, enforcing the use of "under God" in the Pledge - seduces the Church into relying on the state's authority and blunts its critique of the state.

 

At 10/10/2007 05:18:00 PM, Blogger Derek Berner

At the risk of oversimplifying: The government is a secular body. The church is a spiritual body. To try and blur the two is to risk theocracy which is definitely a step backward in social evolution.

 

At 10/10/2007 07:06:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

To quote Rich Mullins:

"You can tell me that I have to be born again to be saved, because Jesus did say that to one guy. But then I can tell you that you have to sell everything you have and give it to the poor, because Jesus said that to one guy too...

...but I guess that's why they invented highlighters. So we can highlight the parts we like and ignore the rest."

So feel free to keep ignoring the words of Jesus if you find them inconvenient to your politics jazzact.

 

At 10/11/2007 11:38:00 AM, Anonymous jazzact13

How many can you find to support trickle-down economics and Free Trade?

You make it seem as if those things are somehow antithetical to helping the poor. Simply because there is much in the Bible about being charitable doesn't mean you have found some kind of case against capitalism.

Let's see...I can't recall anything in the Bible about penalizing the successful simply because they have success. There are verses about, say, not giving to those who are well able to work themselves. The closest I can think of to any kind of legal charitable giving had to do with tell those who reap in fields to not go over again so that the poor could gather behind them, I suppose that much like what was taking place in Ruth.

BTW jazzact, which of America's four most recent wars would you describe as "defending ourselves when they choose to attack us"?
Let's deal with what has happened in Iraq in recent years, since I would guess that is what has you so off-kilter.

http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraq-042005.pdf

Links to terrorism, beginning on pdf page 85, document page 70

Although U.S. intelligence has no evidence to confirm direct operational
collaboration between Iraq and al Qaeda, both the report of the Senate Intelligence
Committee on Intelligence and the report of the 9-11 Commission have cited repeated
contacts between them throughout the 1990s. According to the 9-11 Commission report,
bin Laden initially took the lead in exploring possible cooperation with Iraq. By the late
1990s, the Commission found “the situation reversed,” with Iraq taking the initiative in
the relationship.239

According to the commission, follow-up meetings might well have occurred the next
year, leading to an offer from Baghdad to provide bin Laden with a safe haven in Iraq.
Intelligence reports “describe friendly contacts,” with relations grounded in “both sides
hatred of the United States."

Finally, one connection of particular note was senior al Qaeda terrorist planner Abu
Musab Zarqawi and Iraqi intelligence. According to the Senate intelligence committee
report, a captured senior al Qaeda trainer and recruiter “indicated he had heard” that
Zarqawi “and others had good relationships with Iraqi intelligence.”243 It is not
surprising then that after the fighting in Afghanistan, Zarqawi found safe haven in
Baghdad over the summer of 2002, and, according to General Tommy Franks, was
subsequently “given safe passage into northern Iraq by Iraqi security forces.”244
According to the Senate report, there was little doubt that Iraqi officials knew Zarqawi
was in Baghdad.

Iraqs violations.

pdf p. 32, doc p. 17

In 1969, Iraq ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligating it to use
nuclear technology for peaceful purposes only. On June 7, 1981, Israeli warplanes
destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor near Baghdad. According to Newsweek,
[t]he Osirak reactor was theoretically only for research purposes—but Iraq twice
refused a French offer to supply it with low-enriched uranium, insisting instead
on weapons-grade, 93 per cent enriched fuel. Iraq was also operating an Italianbuilt
“hot cell” lab for extracting plutonium, and had arranged to buy large
quantities of uranium from Brazil, Portugal and Niger—all without any
investment in a nuclear-energy program.


pdf p. 35, doc p. 20
Iraq would never comply with its obligations under Resolution 687 or numerous
subsequent disarmament resolutions. For twelve years, Iraq would undermine
international inspection efforts and commit acts of aggression inside and outside its
borders.

Iraq's threat was known even to the Clinton administration

pdf p. 14, doc preface p. x
With few exceptions, both the Bush and Clinton administrations viewed the threat posed by Iraq in
much the same way. The important and singular difference is that, after September 11,
2001, the Bush administration viewed the threat as no longer tolerable and decided to
address it decisively. Moreover, nothing that we have learned since the war’s conclusion
has altered the fact that the proximate cause for taking military action was Saddam’s
continued refusal to take all the necessary, UN-mandated steps to assure the world that he
had totally disarmed.

It is a very large document, with much information in it. What I've posted here is only a very small part of it.

 

At 10/11/2007 11:44:00 AM, Anonymous jazzact13

--So feel free to keep ignoring the words of Jesus if you find them inconvenient to your politics jazzact.--

Here, again, is your statement.

--and commanded us to give away our wealth for the sake of the poor.--

If you can't tell us where Jesus commanded us to do such a thing, then you had no right to make such a statement.

I provided you with several instances recored in the Gospels when Jesus didn't say that to people.

In short, I'm not the one "feel(ing) free to keep ignoring the words of Jesus if you find them inconvenient to your politics", clawson. You are.

So, get in a huff if you wish. It still doesn't change the fact that Jesus didn't say what you say He said.

Period. End of story.

 

At 10/11/2007 12:24:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Luke 18:22

But of course I'm sure you'll find a way to reinterpret it so that it doesn't actually mean what it says (or somehow doesn't apply to you).

 

At 10/12/2007 06:58:00 AM, Anonymous jazzact13

A bit ago, I had an encounter on a bulletin board I frequent. This other person had found one verse which he claimed told us that Christians don't sin, and if one does sin, then of course that would mean that one wasn't really a Christian.

Of course, one can imagine how...pleasant...that made him. After all, he was perfect, and those of us who were pointing out instances in the Bible which mentioned Christians sinning and repentend, well, that just proved we weren't really Christians. No, he had his little out-of-context verse, and not hell nor high water would move him from his interpretation of it.

In my exchanges with him, I thought this question, "What would it be like to follow this person around with a video camera for one day?" I wondered what we would learn--how did he treat the shop clerks, did he ever eye a woman in a not-completely-pure way, was he always scrupulously honest?

Actually, it didn't have to go that far. His insults were part of the TOS that he had agreed to abide by before being allowed to post on that board, so that was pointed out to him, and he was shown to be someone who had broken his agreement.

So, that little story has two points to this present discussion. One, I've already dealt with the passage about the rich young man, and how Jesus required of him something he does not ask of any other person. In the next chapter, we have the story of Zacchaeus, who gives only half of his goods. I suppose he was only half-saved, in your mind?

Two, I wonder what we would learn if we could take a look at your own life. If your going to try to pull the Pharisee stunt of requiring such a thing of others, I suppose it's fair for us to know if you live by it yourself. The picture with your posts seems to show that you and your wife aren't exact dressed in rags, after all. And you post on a blog, so it's likely that you have your own computer.

But don't worry, I'm not with the IRS, and have no desire to do any kind of audit on you. There is One who judges, and when we are before Him, may we both find mercy.

 

At 10/12/2007 10:34:00 AM, Blogger Mike Clawson

"So, that little story has two points to this present discussion. One, I've already dealt with the passage about the rich young man, and how Jesus required of him something he does not ask of any other person. In the next chapter, we have the story of Zacchaeus, who gives only half of his goods. I suppose he was only half-saved, in your mind?"

Who said anything about being "saved"? And who said anything about giving away all of our wealth? Jesus may have (tho' you apparently have your ways of explaining that away), but all I said was that Jesus "commanded us to give away our wealth for the sake of the poor". I said nothing about percentages. In fact, the Zacchaeus story is actually another proof of my point, of another instance where Jesus encouraged someone to give away their wealth for the poor.

Unless you want to claim that we should not give away any of our wealth for those in need, that Jesus never said anything like that, I don't see what you have to argue about.

 

At 10/12/2007 01:42:00 PM, Anonymous jazzact13

And who said anything about giving away all of our wealth? Jesus may have (tho' you apparently have your ways of explaining that away), but all I said was that Jesus "commanded us to give away our wealth for the sake of the poor".

Yes, you did say that, and in saying that, you did not say "give away part of our wealth..." or any such qualifier. No, you said "give away our wealth...", with the obvious meaning being "all wealth".

After all, isn't that what Jesus told the young man in the verse you referenced? And if you're going to use that as your source for your position, then to suddenly backtrack and say "Jesus didn't tell us to give away all of our wealth", well, you're just saying something similar to what I've been pointing out.

Unless you want to claim that we should not give away any of our wealth for those in need, that Jesus never said anything like that, I don't see what you have to argue about.

Then may I suggest that you phrase your position more carefully, and choose a more appropriate biblical example.

 

At 10/12/2007 02:07:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

You're in a real shaky position if you want to start telling me what I did or did not mean by the words I said.

And you've gotten completely off track from the main point, which is that ethic of God's kingdom is one of generosity and helping those in need, not one of exploitation and callous disregard for the plight of the poor.

 

At 10/12/2007 05:36:00 PM, Anonymous jazzact13

You're in a real shaky position if you want to start telling me what I did or did not mean by the words I said.

Clawson, if you go into a man's house, and tell him using these exact words, "Give away your stamp collection!", he is quite rightly going to understand you to mean all of his stamp collection. He probably going to be ticked at you, too.

And then if you say "I didn't say give away all of your stamp collection", he's going to then think that you have no idea what you're talking about. Or if he's feeling kind, he may think that you need a cup of highly caffeinated coffee to help your coherence.

And you've gotten completely off track from the main point, which is that ethic of God's kingdom is one of generosity and helping those in need,

And if you had said that, instead of pulling some kind of misapplication of Jesus' words, we could have reach a level of agreement a few posts back. Of course, we probably do have different ideas of what that means--I've noticed that liberals tend to be very generous with other people's money, for example-- but we could have at had that much agreement.

 

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