Bible Studies
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Monday, 15 November 2004

It's wishful thinking to believe we can have true homeland security as long as we continue present national policies that anger and inflame public opinion, especially in the developing world.  Until we cease such damaging activity, we will never have true safety, even within our own borders.

                                HOMELAND SECURITY

By Jim Jordal

"And among those nations you shall find no rest….but there the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing of eyes, and despair of soul. So your life shall hang in doubt before you; and you shall be in dread night and day, and shall have no assurance of your life. In the morning you shall say, ‘Would that it were evening!’ And at evening you shall say, 'Would that it were morning!’ because of the dread of your heart which you dread, and for the sight of your eyes which you shall see."

Moses, warning the children of Israel of the fear that would arise should the nation forget God, Deut. 28:65-67 (NASB)


Lately we’ve been much concerned with threats of terrorism within our borders. We’ve gone so far as to create a cabinet-level department of Homeland Security, but the threats continue as our fear rises. President Bush defends many of his seemingly heavy-handed actions, especially in Iraq, by claiming they are vital to our national security. The latest slogan is "if we don’t fight terrorism abroad, we’ll end up fighting it here at home."

But what is the real story? Experts claim that there is no possible way to prevent dedicated terrorists from carrying out at least some of their missions in a society having great personal freedom and liberty. It is impossible to adequately survey the millions of shipping containers entering the United States every year. Nor is it possible to prevent all nuclear materials from being smuggled into ports and large cities. Neither can willing-to-die suicide bombers always be stopped.

So homeland security is more wishful thinking than fact.

If we were really serious about homeland security, we could begin by considering why disgruntled persons and groups want to attack us in the first place. It’s like in our personal lives. If we’re worried about people hating us and reacting violently because of their hate, perhaps we should stop doing the things causing this hatred.

Offhand, I can think of four American behaviors that contribute greatly to anti-American feelings, especially those promulgated by reactionary religious elements. The first is our long-time, blind, knee-jerk, undiscriminating support of Israel. Most of the world views the many Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the building of the wall separating the West Bank from Israel as at best naked aggression and at worst virtual genocide. By claiming a divine mandate from God to possess the land, Israel both justifies her aggression and gains favor and open support from many American evangelicals and other adherents of the Religious Right.

The second is our exporting of entertainment filth throughout the earth. It’s not without cause that Osama bin Laden and other Islamic fundamentalists label us "The Great Satan." It’s sad that we abuse our position as perhaps the world’s most dominant culture by exporting such garbage rather than justice, mercy, and truth. How can we expect fundamentalists of any religion to love and accept us when we seemingly do our best to poison their culture and children?

Third is our oppression and exploitation of the earth’s developing peoples through financial and economic policies administered by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), The World Bank, and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Granted, these organizations are not uniquely American, but we are their largest and most powerful member; therefore we bear a perhaps disproportionate share of blame for their policies. You’ve all heard stories of underdeveloped nations spending most of their national incomes to service international debt, with little or nothing left for health care and education. You’ve also possibly heard of the limited success of Jubilee 2000, the attempt to promote debt forgiveness among major creditor nations. Yes, much debt was forgiven or restructured, but much remains.

Fourth is the too-frequent use of our awesome military power, not to free oppressed peoples, but to guarantee they will remain in economic servitude. Over the past generation we have supported and armed cruel and oppressive dictators in many South and Central American countries, Africa, and Asia. Our justification before 1991 was that they were not Communist. Now it’s that they oppose revolutionary forces (usually the people demanding economic and social justice), or that they have some natural resource we need.

There is no such thing as Homeland Security apart from a national ethic including righteousness, justice, mercy, truth, and love for oppressed and suffering people. Scripture speaks hundreds of times about God’s blessings upon peoples who will honor His word, and His undying displeasure with those who will not. We will only be secure in our homes, businesses, and nation when we heed God’s word concerning our treatment of His children who now dwell under the yoke of oppressive, uncaring nations, multi-national corporations, political systems sold out to minions of power, and tyrants having no concern for their people.

We really have no choice. God promises to keep the pressure on until we turn, since His kingdom draws near.

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