A reader advised me that in my blog yesterday, I had misinterpreted Sarah Palin’s statement to the Assembly of God Church in Alaska. The reader said that Palin wasn’t actually saying that the Iraq invasion and occupation were part of God’s plan but instead was simply requesting people to pray that the operation is part of God’s plan.
The reader might have a point, but isn’t it a distinction without a difference? Praying that the commission of sin is part of some plan of God is ludicrous. God doesn’t have plans that involve people in the commission of sin. Sinners, not God, are responsible for their sins.
The simple, undeniable truth remains: The U.S. government did not have the right to attack a country that had not attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. Therefore, the CIA and the troops did not have the right to kill any Iraqi, much less a million of them. Hoping and praying that such killings are part of some plan of God is ridiculous. Again, God does not have plans that involve people in the violation of His sacred commandments.
The problem is that all too many religious types in America have come to believe that the U.S. government is special. They honestly believe that it operates as an agent of God. It is not. Instead, the government is nothing more than a bunch of ordinary Americans, some of whom are religious, and some of whom are engaged in wrongful behavior.
To demonstrate how many religious types in America have elevated the U.S. government to holy status, consider the following scenario:
Suppose the Russia government, rather than the U.S. government, had done everything to the Iraqi people that the U.S. government has done.
Suppose it had been the Russians who had delivered weapons of mass destruction to Saddam Hussein.
Suppose it had been the Russians who had intentionally destroyed Iraq’s water-treatment plants with the intent of spreading illnesses among the Iraqi people.
Suppose it had been the Russians who had enforced a brutal regime of sanctions against the Iraqi people for more than a decade, contributing to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children.
Suppose it had been the Russian ambassador to the United Nations who had proclaimed that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the sanctions had been “worth it.”
Suppose it had been the Russians who had invaded and occupied Iraq, killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, causing millions more to go into exile, and sending the entire nation into conflict and chaos.
Suppose it had been the Russians who had murdered, tortured, and sexually abused Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison.
Suppose it had been the Russians who had proclaimed that they had done it all for the benefit of the Iraqi people, not for the sake of installing a Russian-approved puppet into power.
What would have been the reaction of many U.S. Christians? Would they be claiming or praying that the Russian government was operating in accordance with God’s plan? No, they would be screaming like banshees, condemning what the Russians had done, and rightfully so. After all, look at how they’ve reacted to the Russian invasion of Georgia, where the death and destruction is miniscule compared to what the U.S. government has done in Iraq.
Yet, since it is the U.S. government that has done all these things, it’s all okay because everything the U.S. government does to foreigners is holy given its exalted position as God’s agent on earth.
No Christian should ever claim or pray that the commission of sin is part of God’s plan. When someone is involved in the commission of sin, there is but one proper course of action: Stop it. The proper prayer after sin is a plea for forgiveness, after genuine confession and repentance. That is what should be happening with respect to Iraq.