Archive for January, 2007

Posted: January 24, 2007 in politics

There are crazy things happenning in St Petersburg, FL again. This time it’s not just the peace activists who are being attacked, but the homeless. I used to work in St. Pete with Rev. Bruce Wright. He heads a church called The Refuge, and works very closely with St. Pete for Peace. Right before Christmas, Mayor Baker closed down Tent City, which sheltered a pretty large number of homeless families and individuals. Days later, one of the evicted men was murdered on the street. Any person with a brain and a heart cannot help but realize that the man would not have been on the street if he hadn’t been evicted from his shelter. After the murder, activists stepped up the action.
It would be a crappy enough story if it ended there, but it goes on.
This is a video of the police slashing the tents of Tent City to ensure that the residents (who refuse the leave) will not remain.
It’s sad and it’s ridiculous, but it’s real…

Bakerschurchphoto01

To follow the story, see more footage, or help out click here: St. Pete for Peace

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Reflections on Saddam

Posted: January 24, 2007 in politics

As many Americans celebrate the hanging of Iraq’s former leader, I feel like we should take a moment and consider what has just happened. We cannot let this grave and historical moment pass us without proper reflection. I’ve listed a few thoughts. Take it or leave it …but give it some time to sit in your brain first.

+ If death is necessary, if evil can at times be used for good, if the world is indeed now a safer place at all… if, if, if… then we must take it (at the least) as a harsh reality. Even if this is productive, it is not “good.”

+ May we not celebrate Saddam’s death, but mourn for the Iraqi people. Let’s mourn because this horrific ordeal had to even take place at all. We live in a country that knows nothing of the cost of war (besides the bucks that come out of our pockets and health programs). They live in a place that knows nothing of season without war.

+ I offer that this may not have even been a beneficial thing… in the long run or short. We don’t know the Iraqi’s or how complex the situation is over there. Granted, some of us do, but still the majority of us don’t have a clue. I don’t have a clue. I am not just talking about the political situation, but the personal, internal conflict that must have arisen in these people. They have a different culture altogether. They generally have a more limited scope of global politics than we do. These things must have been violently interrupted as we arrived in Iraq, camped out for years and killed its leader. I offer that regardless of whether these acts of America were beneficial, the Iraq people see it far differently, and just maybe, far clearer than we do.

Here is an excerpt from a recent BBC report:

“…while it is possible that the troubles of the region could be affected by a single event – the execution of Saddam Hussein is unlikely to be it.

There is violence and instability in Iraq, continuing tension between Israelis and Palestinians, a peace process that (at best) is at a stand-still and an ongoing political crisis in Lebanon.

The optimism many felt this time last year that real political change may finally start to trickle through the Middle East has all but vanished.

The execution of Saddam Hussein may prompt some reflection and probably plenty of analysis, but there is little reason to think it will change much in a region that heads into 2007 in a precarious state.”

A different BBC report entitled, “Iraq Investigates Saddam Footage,” quotes what an adviser to Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, Sami al-Askari told Reuters news agency.

“There were a few guards who shouted slogans that were inappropriate and that’s now the subject of a government investigation.”

Can we believe that we are by any means justified, even as victims of Saddam’s atrocities, to take up our swords in revenge? Is that civilized, right, or just? I think we need to reconsider what justice is. Can “revenge” me a suitable synonym? Is justice simply an evening of the score? Can we really be satisfied as we lead others down the path of redemptive violence by our example? I would argue that this is not our call, as christians, as humans, as evolving and progressing creatures.

May God give us grace to consider,
Courage to act,
And peace to result.

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