Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sarah Palin’s Wrongheaded View of God’s Plans

by Jacob G. Hornberger| Hornberger’s Blog, Sept 8, 2008

In an address to an Assembly of God Church in Alaska, Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin suggested that church members pray “that our national leaders are sending [soldiers to Iraq] on a task that is from God, that’s what we have to make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan, and that plan is God’s plan.”

It would be interesting to hear Palin explain her understanding of how God’s plans can possibly involve violations of His sacred commandments.

The commandment is simple: Thou shalt not murder. God did not provide exceptions to that prohibition, not even for agents of the CIA and the U.S. military.

Lest we forget: Neither the Iraqi people nor their government ever attacked the United States or threatened to do so. No matter how many contortions that Dick Cheney and George W. Bush have engaged in (e.g., WMDs, the war on terrorism, 9/11, spreading democracy, UN resolutions, and radical Islam), the simple truth remains: The U.S. government attacked Iraq, not the other way around.

Thus, we should never forget: In the Iraq War, the United States is the aggressor nation and Iraq is the defending nation. That means that no agent of the U.S. government had any moral right to kill even one single Iraqi, much less the million or so that have been killed.

Some people calculate the wrongful Iraqi deaths only in terms of civilian deaths. They have it wrong. Since the U.S. government had no right to invade Iraq, U.S. agents, including those in the CIA and the military, had no moral right to kill any Iraqi, including Iraqis who were defending against the wrongful invasion and occupation of their country.

The standard neo-con religious position is that whatever the U.S. government does overseas against foreigners is right and moral as a matter of law because the government is operating as an agent of God and simply fulfilling His plans.

The hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children killed by the pre-invasion sanctions? A million Iraqis killed in the invasion? Well, you see, those killings can’t be murder because it was the U.S. government that did the sanctioning and invading. It would only be murder if, say, the Russian government committed those acts. Since it’s the U.S. government that killed all those people, it’s all good and moral because it must be all part of God’s plan.

Moreover, keep in mind that in the neo-con mindset the U.S. government and the American people are one and the same. Since everyone knows that the American people are kind, caring, and charitable, that means that everything the U.S. government does, including kidnapping, renditioning, torturing, and sexually abusing people, is all good and moral. It’s all part of God’s plan, you know.

This attitude, of course, is what distinguishes Christian libertarians from Christian neo-cons. Christian libertarians adhere strictly to God’s commandments, refusing to draw an exception for agents of the U.S. government. Unlike them, we hold that murder is murder, even when committed by agents of the U.S. government. Since the U.S. government had no right to invade Iraq, it had no right to kill any Iraqis, much less a million of them. The same principle holds true with respect to the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children killed by the pre-invasion sanctions. The same holds true for the murders, torture, and sex abuse committed by U.S. agents against Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison.

Christian libertarians, unlike Christian neo-cons, do not conflate the American citizenry with the U.S. government. As such, we are capable of recognizing immorality and wrongdoing committed by the U.S. government and we are unafraid to take a stand against it. Unlike the neo-cons, we don’t try to excuse away evil and immorality by claiming that they must be part of God’s plan.

Indeed, unlike the Christian neo-cons we Christian libertarians don’t view the government as an agent of God but instead as simply a bunch of ordinary people who use government force to satisfy their self-interests, including the ever-growing lust for more power and more money.

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