The A.M.E position and the war on Iraq : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

I just received an email from the interfaith group I am a member. At Next week's meeting the group will discuss whether to send a letter to the editor saying the group is opposed to the war in Iraq. Each member is being asked to represent their denomination in the letter. I have written all the members to explain that matters such as this I would have to get a recommendation from my Bishop to find out what the A.M.E position is and what he would want me to say. The Episcopalians and Lutheran (ELCA) Bishops have drafted a denominational letter stating their respective denominations are against a war in Iraq. The interfaith group would like to use these positional papers as the heart of the letter to the editor of our local newspaper. I must say I am eager to listen to members from the various groups as to what their positions are. Meanwhile I will wait to hear what Bishop Bryant tells me to do regarding this matter. What are your thoughts about going to war with IraQ?

-- Anonymous, September 12, 2002


My thoughts about Iraq are succinctly summarized in my 9-12-2002 post entitled, Pax Americana. QED

-- Anonymous, September 12, 2002

Brother Bill, you stated your position very strongly in your post-- Pax Amercia. My concern is that 9-11 marks the first time in my lifetime that war has come to US soil and I didn't like it.

This country can not continue to fight against other people on their soil. Eventually, the fight will move to this nation...My question is...are we willing to pay the ultimate price? As a person who has lived on a base during a small attack (President Bush, Sr in Panama), being in a hostile situation brings strand on the family. We were under strict orders--something that the people of this nation don't understand. Soldiers walking around with M-16's, shooting, searching cars, monitored TV and radio. All that blood, guts and glory business went right out of the door, when my children were standing in front of the windows crying because of fear. Realistically, this nation must be willing to accept many more 9-11's if they're thinking about war with Iraq. The sword cuts both ways.

As civilized human beings that we must use our higher brain and find a peaceful solution. I think that this is the way the great teacher, Jesus, would have handled the situation.


-- Anonymous, September 13, 2002

Yes Brenda when we think realistically, it's coming. I believe if we are not prepared for such a time as that, then we need to do so. We can talk a great talk about the power of God in our lives; but when we go to war and it hits on our soil, our military (as powerful as they may be)cannot shield us from the terror that will effect civilians.

We have to really pray. We can have opinions, but truth is, God sets up who he chooses. President Bush is our leader, and we are obligated to pray for him. At this point, there is no one to cast any blame. All things are working together. Right now it doesn't seem like for the good of God's people; but I believe God. And His Word says all things work together for the good of them that are the called according to his purposes.

As far as war with Iraq...We have already slept with this enemy and I'm afraid we got up with fleas.

As the song says; "I trust in God, he will take care of me. On mountains bleak or on the stormy sea. Though billows roll, He keeps my soul. My Heavenly Father watches over me."

One particular verse says; "He makes the rose (I take that personal) an object of his care. He guides the eagle through the pathless air. And surely he will remember me. My Heavenly Father watches over me."

In Christ, Carmen Rose

-- Anonymous, September 13, 2002

Beautifully stated Carmen. Thank God that He placed Secretary of State Colin Powell in his position also. He is a warrior on a mission for peace.

-- Anonymous, September 13, 2002

"War! What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing!"

The bottom line is power and greed.

-- Anonymous, September 14, 2002

I am in Africa, the Republic of Namibia to be exact. I have followed with keen interst the events of 9-11. Even your media refer to this day as 911, your common number for helpline. Don't you think this is a wake up call for US to seek help from a higher authority.

I personally do not like wars because of its disruptive nature. Following also messages of Rev. haggee, Rev. Parrot, Bishop Blake, T.D. Jakes etc. wher they all boldly proclaim peace, I don't think that the majority of the American nation is ready for war.

The amicable solution is for US to engage into peace talks with Iraq to come up with an amicable solution. I am of the opinion that should US ultimately decide to go at war with Iraq, this excercise my trigger a third world war which I do not want, since I am enjoying my life in the JOB of Jesus and I am trying to have life in abundance as it was promised to me.

So the podition of the African Methodism should be that of advocating for peace and not war. In any case why are we always at the end of the queu when significant issues are on the table? Why is it that the AME rarely take it stand to such issues and boldly advocate our position?

But as Joshua says you may choose what to do, but as for I and my house we will continue to serve the Lord, come hell or high water.

-- Anonymous, September 16, 2002

Dear Friends in Jesus Christ

Millions of people all over this world understand the pain of the September 11 attacks on the USA, but still many millions all over the world are opposed to the American Foreign Policy! The fact of the matter is that outsiders can't determined American policies, but the American policies just continue to create more enemies and more bitterness! Yes, on presidential level America may have allies in the British Prime Minister and others who share the same sentiments, but although they may be the strongest in military and other strengths, they are small in numbers. Yes, we condemn the attacks of September 11th, but we want our brothers and sisters in the USA to know that we disapprove of your Foreign Policy that has killed and maimed billions all over this earth in all major continents. The fact of the matter is that today President Bush has unilaterally decided that President Sam Hussein is not good enough for Irak - Tomorrow President Bush may decided that President Sam Nujoma is not good enough for Namibia. War is not the appropriate measure/method in this case and the AME Church would be ill-informed at this stage to support the American Presidential attempts against Irak. Let us uphold peace and peaceful means to negotiate disputes all over this world, but the recent wars all over the world are driven by greed (oil in this case) and many other selfish agendas.

-- Anonymous, September 16, 2002

I would be very interested in hearing some peaceful proposals to the de-escalation and elimination of terror.

-- Anonymous, September 16, 2002

I believe with all of my heart that the situation with Iraq will have to have spiritual intervention. In my church we are praying for God's will to be done and we are Praying that God will guide the footsteps of those who are our leaders. We will be having discussions regarding war and what are responses as Christians can/should be. I encourage all who read and post on this board to pray and to ask all believers to pray. Ask that God's will be done and only his will.

-- Anonymous, September 16, 2002

Christian Friends,

Rev. Rogers, thank you for posting the concern. I love the AME Church and I am proud to be a living member of the same. It professes to be Chirstian and senstive to the aspirations and needs of the blackfolk, the poor, marginalised and oppressed. And, that has always been the very central ministry of our Lord. But, I am scarred that the bridge between thought and action has been a very difficult thing to cross. Yes, one Bishop there has been public about the issue of an imminent war. What has happened to the many others? It seems to me that much of our time is spent on looking inward and very little time looking outward and onward. As we pray, let us pray that God helps this Church to look elsewhere also. The greatest sin of Babylon, as they build the city and the tower, was not in the very act itself but the motif;

"And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth (Gen. 11:4- NKJV)."

And, this motif stood directly in opposition to God's, who said;

"Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth (Gen. 1:28-NKJV)."

We should be very cautious about what we engaged in as the AMEs when should be doing what matters most we do what matters least.

-- Anonymous, September 16, 2002

Dear Rev. Rogers,

I agree with Professor Dicken's position on war with Iraq. I might add that most Americans don't want to go to war with anyone unless it's absolutely necessary. I love peace just like most Americans and war is not this country's favorite pastime. However, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the leader of Iraq is an evil man. He has killed the Kurds in northern Iraq with poisonous gas, he invaded Kuwait, he launched scud missiles in an unprovoked attack at Tel Aviv during the same time period. He has systematically executed members of the Iraq regime who dissented with him. The posting of monolithic murals and statues of himself throughout his country suggests that he is an egomanical man. I know enough about human nature to predict that this man would acquire weapons of mass destruction like smallpox or nuclear weapons and produce them directly in his country or in another country and readily use them. I remember my days as a naval officer when we were at the end of the cold war. The US frequently tested Russia's response time to air and surface threats. Likewise, they also tested our air defense zones and sea boundaries. Unbeknownst to the general public,Russian submarines were frequently sited off the coast of Virginia Beach.

For the most part, before I joined the U.S. Navy, I was not aware of the constant foreign threat to the US by certain countries. Many of us Americans have taken the domestic tranquility of this country for granted. Even though, there is not evidence of Saddam Hussein having nuclear weapons according to Scott Ritter a former UN weapons inspector and a former marine, are we willing to stand by passively while this man devises yet another diabolical plan? Will this debate about whether or not to attack be taken to another level when he gets nuclear weapons? I would say that if Mr. Bush does not attack Mr. Hussein that he will go down in history as having made the biggest mistake in terms of foreign policy with a tyrant. He may well rank up there with Britain's Neville Chamberlain. I want peace also but evil has to be punished and destroyed .

-- Anonymous, September 16, 2002


Why are you so fearful?

Why did not Bush Sr. destroy Saddam's army when we fought Iraq?

When Saddam Hussein is removed whom will the American government place in his stead?

Do you honestly believe that the Iraquis will accept an American puppet as the leader of their country?

What happens when another country states that that an American leader is to be replaced for some unethical act? Whose judgement will it be?

Did not Jesus warn us of this very day? Did He not say do not be fearful?

-- Anonymous, September 16, 2002

The only position the church should take on the war with Iraq is on our knees.

-- Anonymous, September 16, 2002

Amen Elder Crawford,

The only peace we shall ever know lies in Him, who said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

Since I further expounded on this in Pax Americana. I will say no more but you can read my detailed thoughts in that string.

-- Anonymous, September 16, 2002

There will be wars, always, A just war or not, one can not say. But say this, a war against an enemy where it has not been proven they have the capability of mass destruction over others, when there is a clear and proven greater power is not war. It is genocide. God have mercy on the bringer of genocide.

The United States is now the only Super Power on this planet. God have Mercy. We know our shallow parts, and our high parts will be low in such a conflict. Because Pride go before the fall.

-- Anonymous, September 17, 2002

Dear Sister Brooks,

Thank you for asking these most pertinent questions. I am fearful that this evil egomaniacal man will stop at nothing to get more power. He has the power to get weapons of mass destruction and will certainly use them. I can tell you that George Bush, Sr. decided not to overthrow him because the US did not want to weaken Iraq to the point that the radical Islamic fundamentalism of Iran (Iraq's enemy at that time) would increase in the Middle East. There are some people in Iraq who fear this man and would much rather have another leader. However, Saddam Hussein is known for torturing the family members of his opposition and then executing them. I agree that the solution to this problem is prayer but I believe it is sinful for us to keep silent while evil flourishes.

-- Anonymous, September 17, 2002


I do believe the real sin is to keep silent while evil reigns. But the sad truth is the American populace allows our government to make extremely bad and short-sighted foreign policy decisions. It is very easy to place our heads in the ground, only to be concerned at a time of crisis and then cry panic. The American public was never concerned about Iraq as long as we were able to fill our SUVs to the brink with cheap gas. Instead of our country looking to be more energy efficient we became bigger and bolder. Instead of building smaller more energy efficient cars in the 1980s and 1990s, car companies rolled out large SUVs and increased the highway speed, despite the lack of safety to the public. Did it ever occur to the American masses to tie in our vanities with the events in the middle - east?

In a recent article in Newseek the following interesting points were made:

“In December of 1983 Donald Rumsfeld met with Saddam Hussein. Like most foreign policy insiders, Rumsfeld was aware that Saddam was a murderous thug who supported terrorists and was trying to build a nuclear weapon. (The Israelis had already bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak.) But at the time, America’s big worry was Iran, not Iraq. The Reagan Administration feared that the Iranian revolutionaries who had overthrown the shah (and taken hostage American diplomats of 444 days in 1979-81) would overrun the Middle East and its vital oilfields.”

The article goes on to state that the US was always aware of what Saddam’s intentions were. In fact, they assisted him by providing military intelligence, tanks and other military hardware, including the ‘dual use equipment’ from American suppliers. “This would even include bacteria/fungi/protozoa to the Iraq Atomic Energy Commission. The bacteria cultures could be used to make biological weapons, including anthrax. In fact, the helicopters provided, some American officials later surmised, were used to spray poison gas on the Kurds.”

Imagine, when he bombed the Kurdish rebels and civilians with mustard gas, sarin, tabun and VX in 1988, the US blamed Iran, knowing all the while it was Saddam Hussein. The Iraqis laughed about the gassing, saying “Who is going to say anything? The international community? F___ them!”

In 1987 an Iraqi missile hit the USS Stark in the Perisan Gulf, killing 37 crewmen. The US excused Iraq and blamed Iran. Even then, American congressmen Bob Dole and Alan Simpson met with Saddam trying to promote American farm business interests.

If Saddam Hussein is the devil, then what does that make the US, and,matter of fact, other countries involved? Did we really think he was our devil and that we could control him? Reminds me a little of Malcom, when he said "Sounds like the chickens coming home to the roost? What role does the American public share for not facing the uneasy truth?

-- Anonymous, September 17, 2002

Yesterday, I attended the Noon-Day Bible Study at my home church. The lesson focused on Ephesians 6:13-20 (Putting on the Whole Armor Of God). I have always found it interesting to read Paul's frequent usage of military metaphors in the development of his systematic theology. While it is indeed true as Paul declares that we "do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against powers and wickdness in high places", the fact remains that confronting, containing and combating evil elicits both an existentialist response (pacifist preferred position) and a military response (interventionists). Interventionists, like myself, recognize the sanctity of human life. War is reluctantly used when all diplomatic efforts have been thoroughly exhausted. I confess that my thiniking on this topic has been shaped largely by the writings of the Prussian military strategist Karl von Clausewitz. I have also benefitted from my past Pentagon professional expereinces which allowed me to come into contact and personally know many of our outstanding US military leaders. During that time I had a chance to meet then General Colin Powell and ask him tough questions about NATO and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. I also met an incredibly talented and attractive (can't deny this fact :-))obscure Stanford Univ. political scientist who was not only an expert on Soviet & Eastern Europe issues but talked my ear off about football, baseball, classical music (which I foolishly showed no interest)and her hometown of Birmingham, AL. Today she is recognized as the most powerful woman in foreign affairs. However, despite my professional background the Bible remains my source of reference. Regardless of the expert exegesis we develop about the two Books Joshua & Judges, they remain unquestionably a discussion about military conquests and lay the foundation of the "Just War" thesis. Even Jesus is depicted by several Gospel writers as being "hawkish" seen in the incident where He chases money-changers away from the Temple with force as well as His curious rejection of pacifist principles as recorded in St. Matthew 10:34-36. One of the most important works of 20th century literature is the novel War & Peace by Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. This classic provides a panoramic depiction of the impact of Napoleonic imperial conquests throughout Europe and particularly the lingering effects on early 19th century Russia. The history of the world is interwoven with war. Peace is war's alter ego. The familiar song, "Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me" should always be uplifted, even for interventionists. QED

-- Anonymous, September 18, 2002

If you feed and play with a Cobra and subsequently bitten by the Cobra, it is no one's fault but your own. David, who loved God, and was loved by God, was not allowed to build a temple to God because he was a man of war, he shed blood. Do you want to manipulate or build a temple?

-- Anonymous, September 18, 2002

This morning I was watching an interview with two female journalists who have written a book called "war torn" it is about their experiences in vietnam. It brought back memories of living in Cleveland, Ohio during the vietnam years. During the 60's I would watch white protestors against the war, on television on the evening news. And after the news went off, run upstairs to get dressed for yet another wake of a black serviceman from our neighborhood. I remember waking up in the middle of the night hearing screams from mother's on our block as they received news their sons were killed. Every other day we got word that someone else in our neighborhood had died in vietnam. After a while I went numb. I remember the discussions about a "just war" military strategies, but what I remember the most are all the dead bodies coming back to the neighborhood, I remember men returning home wounded physically or mentally. War is not pretty or a discussion about military might. War is about the death of God's children! It is also so paradoxical that Vietnam is now being marketed as a vacation spot. As I walk down the streets of my town I see the faces of young men, and now I wonder if I will see them alive again next year. We as christians have a power that is greater than any evil that exists on this world. We have God!! And it is to God we must turn for spiritual intervention. There are millions and millions of christians around this world. If we all prayed for spiritual intervention everyday. God's will would be done! Please I beg all of us no matter what our position is on this matter to pray and ask our pastors and churches to pray for peace. Iraq is not just a word it is home to millions of people, half of whom are starving because of the terrible regime of Hussein. They are mothers, sons, daughters, husbands and babies. Please remember they too are being held captive by evil. And lastly let us pray for our President and all that make decisions concerning war. Keep praying until there is peace on earth.

-- Anonymous, September 18, 2002

Dear Sister Brooks,

Thank you for responding to my posts. I understand the sentiment behind your comments. However, I want to challenge your thinking on this issue further. In the old testament, God did tell Israel to go to war against certain nations. As I recall, He punished them on one occasion for not completely destroying one group. I can't recall the specific nation but I am sure that there are bible students on this board who can. The fact of the matter is that evil is evil whether it be the US or Iraq. Evil should be punished. Yes, the US has done some unscrupulous things in the past in terms of foreign policy. However, the question remains, is it wrong for christian people to go to war or call for war against Iraq? Is it wrong because we don't have a "smoking gun" to incriminate Iraq as a supporter of Al Qaeda? I would say that to answer this question we have to pray to God. I would also encourage everyone to pray for the President and our leaders in regards to this decision.

A Christian stives to be nonviolent. As I recall, the Civil Rights movement in this country was based on nonviolence and civil disobedience. Dr. Martin Luther King had learned of this method from his training in theology and also from Mahatma's Gandhi's struggle against the imperialistic British empire in the 1930's. The manner in which our ancestors fought against the racism in this country has earned Dr. Martin Luther King global respect. Quite commonly, I have heard that old Negro spiritual " We Shall Overcome" sung by foreign groups who are oppressed by totalitarian governments. When human beings aspire to the lofty principles of nonviolence,peace,love,positivity.........etc, it ennobles all of mankind. When I listen to an individual who is espousing hate or discord, I know that the individual won't be revered in perpetuity as a champion of the human race. We won't long for his or hers presence years after they have gone. However, as citizens of the world community we must be concerned what other nations think about us. I might also add that world leaders have to be responsible with the power that they have as a member of the world community.

If one supports war against Iraq then one has to realize that innocent people will be killed and the aftermath of the war may result in a destabilized nation with three different fighting. factions. It is a scary thought to have a country with warring factions who possess chemical weapons. If one does not support warfare against Iraq, then one has to be willing to observe Mr. Hussein pursue a possible backpack sized nuclear weapon and possibly deploy it to the US to murder thousands if not many US citizens. I pray that Mr. Bush will make the right decision.

-- Anonymous, September 18, 2002

Rev. Denise:

Your entry brought back sad memories of the Viet Nam war for me also. I remember watching the news each evening while I was in high school. Newscasts kept a total of the number of soldiers that were wounded and killed. They showed men being lifted into helicopters, laying dead in a field, and weeping over their comrades. I remember going to a dance for vets who had their limbs blown away, and some who had lost their minds while in Nam. I remember them saying some things they saw were "too much." They looked so spiritually wounded I wondered if they would ever recover. It layed heavy in my heart then as it does now. I know some wars must be fought, but I pray each night that God will hold back the tide. Colin Powell said he is not sure the American public can stomach a war like Viet Nam again.

-- Anonymous, September 18, 2002

Sister Brooks:

Your reptilian reference about the consequenses of international meddling is quite intriguing. You may recall that prior to this country adopting "Stars & Stripes" as its official flag emblem, serious consideration was given to using a rattlesnake with the motto "Don't Tread On Me". The symbolism of the rattlesnake was to show the patient and determined resolve of a young republic, but, if threatened by impending danger, swift action would be used for defensive purposes. I wonder if we would still be saying the familiar expression- "a snake in the grass" if this was our flag? QED

-- Anonymous, September 18, 2002

Brother QED!

I have no idea what snakes would be referenced to if it was on our flag. Probably, it would be considered the best of creation.

I also want to let you know that I was with Mr. and Mrs. Colin Powell as well as the senior Bushes a couple of years ago. They visited the church. I did not get to meet Colin Powell as you did; however, I did get to hand the secret service agent a pitcher of water to give to Mrs. Bush. Oh well...what can I say?

-- Anonymous, September 18, 2002

One thing about our present national symbol, the eagle, is that it wastes little energy in flight. It simply glides on the currents and the wind carries it along. Thus, the Bible teaches us that if we ,like the eagle, rest in God instead of all our flapping in the breeze, the Lord will see us through and renew our strength. We may simply glide alone as we put our trust in Him. Since I have actually seen an eagle in flight I was made aware of the full meaning of these texts.

We don't actually know the translation of the term selah, but we know it is never read aloud and we think it may have meant to reflect while the musicians played. In other words, "If there be any virtue think on this:"

So let me borrow a quote from Psalm 46:6-11.

"Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. SELAH.

So amid all the rhetoric let us now be still and think on this!

-- Anonymous, September 18, 2002

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