Last week the House passed yet another bill placing sanctions on Iran and Syria, bringing us closer to another war in the Middle East, just as sanctions led to war in Iraq and bombing in Libya.
Sanctions punish the poor and innocent, not the wealthy, insulated dictators.
Last week we learned that President Obama signed an intelligence “finding” directing the CIA to covertly assist rebels in Syria. Overt military intervention is surely next.
There is little argument about the Syrian dictator: he is a very bad man. But the Bible does not countenance the violent overthrow of governments.
Romans 13 — Nothing could be clearer from Scripture than that we should submit to government, pay our taxes, and not take up arms against Caesar.
Proverbs 24:21 — “My son, fear the LORD and the king; Do not associate with those given to change; for their calamity will rise suddenly, and who knows the ruin those two can bring?”
Exodus 23:2 — “Thou shalt not follow a crowd to do evil.”
In Syria we see once again how the interventionist policies of the secular regime in Washington D.C. backfire and make us less secure. Recent news reports point to ties between Syrian rebels and al-Qaeda (and other extremist groups). An al-Qaeda leader in Syria said that he meets with the main US-backed Syrian rebel organization, the Free Syrian Army, “almost every day.” So by promoting revolution in Syria, Obama ends up fueling al-Qaeda.
This raises the question of whether the US administration is supporting the same people in Syria that we have been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan (and in fact were initially aided by Washington D.C.).
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed these same concerns earlier this year when asked whether the US has been reluctant to arm the Syrian rebels. She answered, “To whom are you delivering them? We know al-Qaida. Zawahiri is supporting the opposition in Syria. Are we supporting al-Qaida in Syria?”
According to another recent press report, German intelligence services estimate that nearly 100 terrorist attacks have been committed by al-Qaeda or related organizations in Syria over the past six months. Last month a suicide bomber in Syria killed a defense minister and several top government officials. The US government, which has been fighting a “War on Terror” for more than a decade now, refused to condemn that act of terrorism. One man’s “terrorist” is another man’s “Freedom Fighter.”
The rebel forces in Syria need Christian missionaries to teach them what Jesus would do. Jesus would not be a terrorist. Jesus was not a revolutionary.
Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad is not the only problem in Syria. There are thousands of people who obey his violent commands. They too need to learn what Jesus would do. Jesus would not do what Assad orders his followers to do. Pleas for democratic reform have been met with lethal military repression. According to witnesses, soldiers who refused to open fire on civilians were summarily executed by the Syrian Army.
So who are those people who are “just following orders” and killing their neighbors? Soldiers and government officials who are loyal to evil governments are willing to kill, steal, kidnap, and commit other violations of God’s Law because “I have to feed my family.” They get a government job and a check. These people need Christian missionaries as much as the revolutionaries and terrorists. The Christian refuses to kill for the State. The Christian refuses to follow unjust orders: “We must obey God rather than man.” (Acts 5:29)
This is why God does not condone violent revolution against corrupt, oppressive, evil rulers: because evil rulers only exist and have their orders carried out when there are evil people. Simply overthrowing the dictator leaves millions of evil doers untouched. Revolution should never be supported by our tax dollars. We should fund reformation, regeneration, repentance, and Christian reconstruction.