The near-universal opinion of America’s military and diplomatic leaders is that Syria remains unstable. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — known by its acronym ISIS — continues to butcher innocent women and children, bomb civilian homes, and maintain a force of 20-to-30 thousand terrorist warriors.
In a head-spinning reversal, the President of the United States announced yesterday a unilateral withdrawal from Syria, sending U.S. allies into a state of confusion about American resolve. Sen. Lindsay Graham called the decision “disastrous” and a “stain on the [nation’s] honor.” He went even further, calling the President’s declaration that ISIS had been defeated “fake news.”
The whole ordeal reminds us of another letter from Northwest Arkansas. Dated Mar. 2, 2015, the letter to then-President Obama states:
“Since ISIS is a continuing threat to world peace in a way unknown to us since the Nazis of World War II, we humbly call upon you to use the influence and power of your distinguished office to take the necessary actions now in this urgent hour to bring an end to these human atrocities.”
Twice calling on President Obama to “lead forward” (whatever that means?) in an “historical (sic) moment,” the letter is co-signed by sixteen former presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention. In a telephone interview with a CBS-affiliate, the Arkansas pastor curiously stated that “we need to take action, whatever that action is.”
The pastor continues: “There are times that war has to be done. Things have to occur. And if that’s what it’s gonna take to bring finality to this, then obviously the president is going to have to decide that.”
Yes, dear readers, in 2015 the president of the Southern Baptist Convention “led forward” to call on the president to do “things” that “take action, whatever that action is.”
Pause for a moment while you let the weight of that profound moral certainty sink in.
So we’re left with a question:
If seventeen Southern Baptist leaders believed ISIS was the modern day equivalent to the Nazis, warranting a letter to President Obama seeking “finality” to ISIS, will these same Baptists send a similar letter to the current president denouncing his unilateral decision to withdraw American forces from Syria?
Or put another way, should the United States have pulled out of Germany after WWII once the Nazis were largely defeated?
Of course, we don’t advise such a letter. But we do think it’s worth nothing the kind of theological folly and moral confusion that occurs when partisan allegiances threaten to trump prophetic witness.
(Editor’s note: One of our faithful readers pointed out another curiosity of the silly ISIS letter from former SBC presidents. How’s this for good grammar: “…you will have the unequivocal support of the vast majority of America’s largest, and some say most multi-ethnic and multi-lingual, Protestant denomination in America.”
That’s right. America’s largest denomination in America. Did none of the signatories actually read this nonsense before signing it?)
4 thoughts on “Hypocrisyria?”
I’ve always thought that, if we don’t believe it proper for Government to tell churches what they should do, then churches ought not tell government what it ought to be doing, in conjecture or retrospect.
The Constitution says the government “cannot”…..
People who go to church vote. If they don’t like what their “employed” leaders they pay, say, then unemploy them or leave and take their donations with them. Church is voluntary. Govt isn’t.
There is a retrospective with 17 years in Afghanistan to consider.
“Mr. President, just as Esther led forward for the deliverance of the Jews in her day, we believe you also ‘have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.’ You have been given an historical moment to lead in protecting the people and the principle of religious freedom in the world. We are praying for you to have wisdom and courage in this hour.”
The condescension and you-ain’t-one-of-us really came through to me in this paragraph. When I compare the near hysterical macho boosterism that, for example, Pastor Jeffress displays for President Trump with Dr. Floyd’s equating President Obama with Esther, a young, powerless, Hebrew-in-hiding, I think the disrespect these SBC leaders had for Obama is hard to deny.
And a further grammatical quirk: Did I read it correctly that Dr. Floyd called on President Obama to “protect the people … in the world” by taking action in Syria? Yet, we see his boy Trump tweeting on one hand that we are bringing the troops home because ISIS has been defeated but on the other hand he tweets that Russia needs to now fight ISIS. Well, which is it? Has ISIS been defeated or does someone else need to fight ISIS because Trump doesn’t have the stomach for it? Some much for protecting the people and principle of religious freedom in the world.