Obama’s foreign policies have been a disaster, but we need to think very carefully about what we are to do in the future. As a democratic republic defending democratic republican values, we do not need to inject ourselves deeply into the politics of other nations. The world is very sadly littered with failures from this process, the most notable probably being the 40 odd year civil war in Guatamala. Jimmy Carter was rightly repulsed by this, and attempted to have a foreign policy that instead of being anti-communist was based on human rights. This too, sadly was a disaster, as Carter was no master of Realpolitik.
We need to take very small baby steps. I see in Libya, especially, a repugnance for what happened to our ambassador and staff. We may not like the governments, nor what they stand for, but that is who the people have elected, and we must respect that. And, by recognizing these governments, we hopefully will have the power to persuade them. Especially in the case of Egypt, I see some signs of hope from the new president, and I know the Copts of Egypt are hopefully watchful.
Now Afghanistan and Pakistan are a whole separate question. I think we need to lay all the cards on the table and ask ourselves if we need to be in either country at all. I am not saying that we should or shouldn’t pull out completely, but that that is a fair question, especially in Afghanistan, now that Bin Laden is officially gone.
Now some real food for thought: Do we really want to change the Middle East for the better? Do we understand the problems there? I think the second question is no, since we no longer understand here in the USA that a Christian nation is built on Christian precepts. As we slowly disconnect our national morality from Christianity, we have a very hard time understanding a religion that is connected with a real way of life. Take premarital sex for example. Few Christians that I council think that is a problem until I lead them through the Bible. (In fact few Christians seem aware that Sunday is now the most important shopping day in the US, and that many young Americans are denied the opportunity to worship on Sunday because they have to work.)
So, then, in order to truly make changes in the Middle East, then it is time for the church to be the church. The Anglican Church used to have a policy that I think was excellent. When they found areas with an established church, instead of starting an Anglican Church, they would help better educate the clergy of that other church. They did this in Iran, and south India among other places. The Moravian church in its prime would only send missionaries to places where there were no missionaries, and in places where there were other churches around, once a church was started they would hand it over to the predominant denomination in the area, a far cry from how we do things today.
And what does it mean for the church to be the church. The church is given several direct commands in the Gospel. The church is to be salt to the earth and light to the world. In other words, we as Christians must love and obey Jesus, loving the things he would love, and hating the things he would hate. In the past Christians have demonstrated this in freeing the slaves, abolishing suhi in India, in child labour laws, in the change of status of women in the world and various other items. (a note in passing, the last country to officially abolish slavery was a Muslim country, Saudi Arabia in the 1940’s. That’s right, slavery was legal in Saudi Arabia until the eve of World War II.)
The other command given to the church is to: “go…make disciples…bapstise them…and teach them all that I have taught you. The church is barely doing this in the United States of America, let alone the Middle East, so first, we need to learn to be the church here, living by God’s word. Secondly, we need to learn to Evangelise. If we want to transform the Middle East, then they need to be transformed from the bottom up. We should support the churches that are already there, Coptic, Melkite, Jacobite, Assyrian, Catholic, Assemblies of God, Anglican. We need to remind them and help them, financially, and spiritually. All Christians are to be evangelists. It is time for these churches to quit being churches under siege, and to become powerful messengers of God. God is already working miracles in the Middle East. Many have come to know Yeshua, not through missionaries, but by dreams signs and wonders.
We too need to be evangelists here in the USA. If every Christian was to do his or her job, there would be virtually no Muslims in the United States. They would have met the living Lord. It is up to us to reach out to the Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Taoists, and teach them the love of Messiah. There should be waves of Middle Eastern Christians returning to their homelands and preaching the Gospel. Yes, there will be persecutions, but the church will prevail. We have that promise, but in order to prevail, we need to stand up and get moving. A thought: If every Christian were to go, lead someone to Christ and teach them to be a disciple, and a year later, he and his convert were to lead someone to Christ and on and on, the whole world would be Christian in something like 40 years. Well, what are you waiting for?