Travis Jackson, CC
Being a Christian man, I am amazed at the number of other Christians and Christian leaders that refuse to support Ron Paul's campaign. Countless times I have heard men and women say that Ron Paul has good ideas but his foreign policy is crazy, or insane, or isolationist. I believe the failure to recognize the merits of his foreign policy is dangerous and that blindly going into war is completely incompatible with Christian doctrine. It is becoming apparent to me that fewer and fewer Christians actually understand the lessons that Jesus taught while on this earth.
The idea of pre-emptive war is not, in any way, compatible with what I believe to be the heart of the message of Christ. To deny this is folly and will only sink us deeper into the mess we are in economically, and further diminish the respect that we once maintained around the world. It is interesting to me that the biggest proponents of war are Christians themselves. Although most claim to be conservative, they are willing to spend this country into oblivion to "defend freedom." Economically, many understand that continued domestic spending poses a threat to the health of our nation, but readily support printing and borrowing money to keep America "safe" through the barrel of a gun. Some applaud at the thought of bombing our unnamed enemies. Some will even agree that the unintended consequence of killing innocent Iraqis, Afghans, or Iranians is simply a consequence of war and can be excused. I say, the biggest threat to our freedom is the continuation of a flawed foreign policy that will only result in the loss of the heart and soul of America.
Once upon a time we believed in the "Just War Theory." Ron Paul brings this up time and time again in his arguments of why we should have a sane foreign policy. His stance on war comes from his convictions. His convictions are born of his belief in Christian principles. Yet, these convictions are marginalized and questioned by some of the most ardent of "Christians."
For those of you who do not understand what Dr. Paul is talking about, the main points of the Just War Theory are as follows:
-A just war can only be waged as a last resort. All non-violent options must be exhausted before the use of force can be justified.
-A war is just only if it is waged by a legitimate authority. Even just causes cannot be served by actions taken by individuals or groups who do not constitute an authority sanctioned by whatever the society and outsiders to the society deem legitimate.
-A just war can only be fought to redress a wrong suffered. For example, self-defense against an armed attack is always considered to be a just cause (although the justice of the cause is not sufficient--see point #4). Further, a just war can only be fought with "right" intentions: the only permissible objective of a just war is to redress the injury.
-A war can only be just if it is fought with a reasonable chance of success. Deaths and injury incurred in a hopeless cause are not morally justifiable.
-The ultimate goal of a just war is to re-establish peace. More specifically, the peace established after the war must be preferable to the peace that would have prevailed if the war had not been fought.
-The violence used in the war must be proportional to the injury suffered. States are prohibited from using force not necessary to attain the limited objective of addressing the injury suffered.
-The weapons used in war must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants. Civilians are never permissible targets of war, and every effort must be taken to avoid killing civilians. The deaths of civilians are justified only if they are unavoidable victims of a deliberate attack on a military target.
Jesus did not come to this earth to force people to follow him; it was his example and his message that attracted people to him. It should be easy to understand that force is the least effective way to lead. It creates in the subjugate resentment and anger. This is why using force of arms to achieve peace is unnecessary and ignoble, and why ultimately, it will fail. However, the United States' foreign policy is built upon this very premise and it has created "unintended consequences," which Ron Paul and our own CIA has cited as blowback. It is our insistence on meddling in the affairs of other nations that stirs up resentment and hatred of our country. It is irrational to believe that these so called "terrorists" attack us because we are free and prosperous. If this were so, why are they not attacking other free nations? As Ron Paul has stated on numerous occasions, maybe we should take time to listen to our enemies' lists of grievances as to why they attack us. Perhaps we can learn something from them. Perhaps we can achieve peace through diplomacy and compromise. Perhaps we can come up with a solution that doesn't lead to war unnecessarily.
The truth of the matter is that wars of aggression will always create more enemies than are destroyed. With our current foreign policy, these new enemies will only be used as an excuse for more war. It is a never-ending cycle which will lead to never-ending war, with peace being unattainable. Such a foreign policy will only serve to erode the very foundation of freedom and liberty, not only for the world, but for us here at home. It should also be noted that economically it is unsustainable. Before long, much like Rome before us, our corrupt empire will fail from within.
If peace through force creates enemies, should not the opposite be true? If Christ is our example, should we not look to scripture to guide us? John 3:16 says that "for God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son..." The question remains, did God save the world through force or through something quite different? It is love that saves us, and it is love that creates peace in all men's hearts. If we are truly concerned for others, would we needlessly bomb them? If we truly desired peace would we still cling to this idea of pre-emptive war? Why is Ron Paul mocked because he desires peace? Does scripture not teach us the following?:
Matthew 5:5 - "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth."
Matthew 5:7 - "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy."
Matthew 5:9 - "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall shall be called Sons of God."
When did we forget that we should be representing these basic tenets of The Law? Is gentleness, mercy, and striving for peace weak? Is it outdated? Is our love and mercy merely reserved to ourselves and fellow Christians? Is it only to be applied to Americans?
Matthew 5:43-48 - "You have heard that it was said, 'You should love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your father who is in heaven, for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect."
Ignoring such simple teachings has transformed us into a nation of Pharisees. Now, as we vote to elect the next leader of our once great nation, many Christians are ignoring the only candidate that represents the very ideals that Christ taught!
Tonight, in South Carolina during a debate, Ron Paul stated that we should apply the Golden Rule to how we deal with other nations and was booed by the audience! When is "doing unto others as you would have them do unto you" or "loving your neighbor as yourself" unpopular among Christians? Have we sunk so far that we cannot recognize the evils of pre-emptive war? Jesus was especially critical of the Pharisees in his time for ignoring "the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness...." (Mt 23:23) and it makes me wonder, what he would say today. Would he support Americans blindly following a policy of aggressive war and reprisal without considering the consequences? In Iraq, over 100,000 innocent people were killed based on the lie of weapons of mass destruction. Would Christ agree with our irrational fear of a helpless nation like Iran trying to defend itself from a meddling superpower? Iran has not attacked us in any way, and are incapable of doing so, yet, we want to drop bombs on them and start a war over possibilities? Is this just? Is this merciful? Is Iran worthy of our fear? Are you willing to risk killing another 100,000 innocent people to make a point? In Matthew 10:28 Jesus says, "Do not fear those that kill the body but unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Ask yourself, who should fear who?
I think it is time we re-think our position on foreign policy. I think it is time that we consider Matthew 5:14-16 where it says "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden...it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
Christians who do not stand with Ron Paul should be ashamed. Those who ridicule his positions without giving them proper thought are as guilty as our leaders and corporations that profit off of war and death. Even Solomon, the wisest of men said "When a man's ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him." (Proverbs 16:7)
Ron Paul, in 30 years of public service, has consistently warned of the dangers facing this nation. He has consistently stood for the American people and defended the Constitution. He predicted the economic collapse that we are currently facing and he was right when he warned Congress about overreacting in respect to Iraq. Despite this, he has been smeared and ridiculed, lied about, and ignored. Have we forgotten that Christ said we will be blessed "when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me...?" (Mt 5:11)
It is time to take a stand. Thomas Jefferson said, "Every country has the government it deserves." For too long, the people of this nation have elected leaders that were not worthy of being leaders. A vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for evil. Do not be fooled into thinking that this election does not matter. We deserve better and should demand better. The drums of war are sounding once again and we need to ask ourselves, can we really afford to be wrong again? Should we elect a leader who will mindlessly lead us into more war? Did Jesus not say in respect to Jerusalem "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes." (Luke 19:42) Would he not say these very words to us today?
To men of all faiths I make this plea. Open your eyes! Do not be like the Pharisees who Jesus considered to be "...whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness." (Mt 23:27) It is time to repent as individuals and as a nation. It is time to once again, through peace and example, become a city on a hill for the whole world to see. Jesus taught this, and our Founding fathers understood this. Ron Paul is the only candidate that has shown he believes it.