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Posts Tagged ‘peace’

Open letter to TEA party patriots

In Recent Headlines on March 22, 2010 at 8:58 am

Foreword: This essay is a bit of a departure from my usual voice, but it’s an attempt to open some much needed dialogue. I hope you take it in that spirit. The intent is not to offend but rather to gather some alternative views. Thank you in advance.

Dear TEA Party Patriots, 

You can breathe a sigh of relief that the Constitution is safe. Many of you offered reassuring words amidst queries as to your motives for the recent protests over the Health Care Bill. Still others offer the “Taxed Enough Already” explanations. Sorry to the Taxed Enough-ers, you still have to pay taxes. Even contributions to your own organization, Tea Party Patriots, Inc., are not tax deductible. That must be a real kick in the pants.

Take heart, as long as Americans pay federal taxes, you have a long list of causes to protest. 

Might I suggest you stage one of your next protests at Yellowstone National Park? Can you believe that tax dollars finance its operation? How many of you have even been there? I have not, so why should I pay for some place I may never visit. Were the park privatized, we could have a corporately sponsored National Park. That would not take away from the natural beauty in the least. In addition, nowhere in the constitution does it suggest we are to have beauty; it is a privilege, not a right. 

Do you have any idea how many hundreds of miles of pavement our tax dollars finance? There are bridges that I will never cross. Why should I pay for roads I do not use? Yet another opportunity for corporate sponsorship to finance the roads! Suppose you could only drive on a road that was sponsored by your brand of vehicle. Consider the possibilities if General Motors sponsored all the roads. No bailout needed for them, because anyone who wanted to use the roads would have to buy their vehicles. Killing two tax drains with one stone. 

The list goes on. Tax dollars pay for so many things most people will never personally use. Privatize it so that only the folks who use it will benefit from it.

Who would sponsor our schools? Currently only 7 out of 10 students graduate from high school, so perhaps the fast food chains could sponsor the schools, ensuring a steady flow of employees when someone dropped out.

It is unfortunate that much of your message was tainted by accusations not so thinly disguised racism and hatred. It is unfortunate that your concern for the nation as a whole seems to only be about the part of the nation you need. It is unfortunate that some of your followers have resorted to brick throwing, spitting, name-calling, and calls for assassination. Thank goodness, however, they guarded Freedom of Speech. Almost every admonition of such behavior I’ve read or heard has also had a disclaimer.

You simply do not want to be forced to pay for programs that do not affect your life. The good news is, this battle may be lost but the war is just beginning.  The list of things to protest has only begun. The opportunities are boundless for creative, free market capitalists.

Who would sponsor war?

More importantly, would anyone sponsor peace?

 

 

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Book review: Alone with a Jihadist

In Church and State, Military on December 7, 2009 at 10:48 am

At the risk of being a spoiler, the last paragraph in Aaron D. Taylor’s book, Alone with a Jihadist, left me with such optimism, I must reveal it now.

“… why wait till the age come? The world is crying out for peace today. Let there be peace on earth – and for the love of God – let it begin with the Church!”

Last month, shortly after Cara and I founded Lifted on Eagle’s Wings, I was reading one of my daily newsletters and found a Sojourner’s column written by Aaron D. Taylor. I was so impressed with what he had to say, I sent him a short note of praise.

We communicated in short emails and I ordered his book. I must be clear from a personal place. I never thought for a moment this young Pentecostal evangelist, from the most conservative place theology could imagine, would resonate with me for an entire book. I ordered the book more so I could understand that “other side” of Christianity. It was a way for me to sit back with my maturity and my Christian confidence with my answers about God and be ready to refute every point this person made.

Taylor shocked me to the point that I am recommending his book to atheists. Yes. The wisdom, honesty and Biblical truth that he illuminates in his book astound me.

Taylor has traveled the world as a missionary. He answered a call to be part of a documentary called Holy Wars and spend a day with a radical Muslim jihad. His book touches upon his experience but expands upon the idea why Christians should never go to war. Never. Never kill, never fight with violence. Even after sitting down with a powerful extremist who considers it his mission to destroy our nation, our religion, and us, he still feels we should never go to war, to never fight violence with violence.

In the United States, we hold democracy side by side with our Christian teachings. We believe that we truly are One Nation Under God. We Trust in God and we fight for that freedom. Our flag waves side by side with the cross. It’s interesting to note that the largest democracy in the world is not the United States, but India. Yet, we Americans consider democracy our God-given right. It’s easy to trace the origins of such a mindset. Our currency, our pledge, our justification for our actions all refer back to God, from our earliest memories. Not much unlike the schooling of Muslim. They also learn at an early age about their faith and their nationalism.

One of the most informative statements from the first chapter reveals the views a jihad holds towards American Christians. “You still haven’t described how you would implement the Bible as a way of life or in government… What is godly government? I don’t understand… I don’t expect you to know the reason why you don’t know because the answer is not in there… Let me tell you what we do with homosexuals, okay? They are to be taken to the top of a mountain and thrown off and killed. It’s capital punishment. For the one who is an adulterer, if they are unmarried, a hundred lashes. If they’re married, stoned to death. This is Islamic Sharia. It’s comprehensive… I’m trying to be honest with you because you are holding a completely corrupted message that doesn’t tell you what to do in these situations.”

The jihadist’s point was that the Muslim religion is very clear how to deal with aberration. Christianity is unclear, therefore an invalid form of government.

The jihad continued, about America, “Nothing is addressed. Evil is allowed to run rampant, okay? And you just keep propagating peace and love and all that sort of thing and it’s not really good enough…”

With that sort of introduction, the book humbles the most militant Christian. As the book continues, Taylor examines why militant and Christian need not include violence.

Taylor repeatedly cites Biblical evidence to make the case for peace. Jesus turned the other cheek, preached for us to love our enemies, and even rebuked Peter for defending him. Jesus never endorsed violence. Instead, He gave us the gifts of scripture, worship, and love.

Taylor also juxtaposes the American Revolution for freedom from England with the peaceful non-violent evolution from Canada and Australia. He considers the financial cost of war versus peace. He addresses it all.

Highlighting peaceful revolutionaries such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and even American writer Henry David Thoreau, Taylor explains a different way, a truly Christ-like way. He probes our nationalism, our faith, and our core beliefs in a way that remind us indeed that Jesus did not just come to forgive our sins, but instead to teach us how to live.

I highly recommend his book if you’re a Christian who just doesn’t understand why we shouldn’t violently fight the evil forces of our world. I recommend this book to anyone who embraces the idea of peace, but doesn’t know why we bother. I recommend this book to anyone who has ever questioned why we are at war. 

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