|The Green Zone of Babylon|
(Mat 26:52,53 NKJV) But Jesus said to him, "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. "Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?
The Green Zone is a secured area in Baghdad were there is a security and protection in the midst of a war torn country with insurgencies, and civil wars. After 8 years of war to liberate Iraq, all that the Americans liberated and made safe is the green zone.
When the war started in Iraq, the tele-evangelist Benny Hinn prayed for the Armed soldiers going to war in Iraq at the background rendition of Onward Christian Soldiers. It was a "Christian" war to liberate the oppressed from their dictator who apparently was using WMD to maintain his rule. Eight years on, the local populance seems not grateful to their liberators, with insurgencies and civil strive a daily event. The Americans are locked in Iraq with no easy way out.
The war in Iraq begin on March 20, 2003. By 01 May 2003, President Bush declared victory in his "Mission Accomplished" speech onboard aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln operating near San Diego, California. The war was sold by President Bush as a move to neutralise the threat biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction. President Bush a devout Christian believed that God was on his side, and indeed the "initial" victory was swift.
Manufacturing half truths has been a hall mark of the Christian Right and the stories about the WMD was a classic example. The Centre for Public Integrity reported that the Bush Administration made a total of 935 false statements between 2001 and 2003 about Iraq's WMD. It is an irony that those who strongly claimed to be moral and religious are the most contradictory in their actions. Gays only know too well from the rethoric of Focus on the Family and Exodus etc. They had to emphasise their righteousness to cover the skeletons hidden within.
The WMD of course was there back before 1993 when they used it against the Kurds. Thousands died at the hands of the Sunnis against the Kurds exemplified by the Halabja poison gas attack in 1988 where 15000 kurds died. Yet, the sufferings by the Sunnis under the Amercians are now twenty times greater. Despite their adherance to major religions, in war, all the parties, the Americans, Sunnis and Shiites were quite merciless and Jesus warns us that those who lived by the sword shall die by the sword.
The Iraqis more than paid the price of using WMD against the Kurds, for the Americans under the conservative Christians begin to create stories about the existence of WMD, much like they spin half truths about gays. The WMD was never found, but the Iraqis suffered greatly with more than 100,000 documented civilian deaths. A Lancet survey gives a much higher estimate of violent deaths at 600,000. Truly the price has been heavy based on a lie to start the war.
Do the Sunnis and Shiites deserves our sympathy? when they are far worst than the Americans with their religious armies roaming the street in a search to find and kill gays in Iraq?
The Americans also paid a heavy price for the war. The notion of Christian morality seems lost when no WMD could be found. The truth about WMD seems to matter very little, for the war has been won. The end did indeed justify the means, but was it the end they wanted eight years down the road ? There were more than 4,500 deaths of US Forces and more than 30,000 injured.
The financial cost of the war is said to be more than 845 billion USD, and the total cost to the US economy at 3 trillion USD. This is 60 times more than what the Bush administration had estimated at 50 to 60 billion USD. We are often amazed how the people from the bible belt can declare half truths and get away with it. But America is now in the midst of a debt crisis and high unemployment due in part to her military adventures in Iraq and Afganistan.
The Christian Right is often eager to be the sword of God's judgement when true Christianity is instead founded on being the messenger of God's love, mercy and grace through Jesus Christ.
Jesus did not come with a legion of heavily armoured angels, He came as a harmless babe bearing a message of peace and reconciliation with God. A message that God cares and loves me this I know.
The greatest damage may be beyond the 3 trillion dollars, and the 100,000 deaths. It is the reputation and name of Jesus Christ in the middle east for whom America represented as a "Christian" nation. The backlash against Christians in Baghdad and Cairo is a reminder that it will take perhaps generations for the Gospel message to find fertile ground in the blood soaked Babylon! where all parties are guilty one way or another.
Similarly, as the churches in Singapore and America continue their anti-gay messaging, their "war" against gays, the church slowly takes on the spirit of Babylon, the heart of worship in the Holiest place replaced the worship of man, power, and the gods of this world where all that matters is victory. Truth and basic humanity becomes the casualty. The rethoric and action against gays changes the heart and soul of the church! and takes away the place of grace and truth.
God is a God of justice. What we sow against the innocent will one day come back to haunt us and can never be sustained. The Americans wanted to control Iraq, but they ended with only the Green Zone. Injustice and half truths can never prevail in the long term. The desperate attempts by the church to put gays in prisons, and later to stop gay marriages doesn't make much of a difference to gay rights at the end but it impacts the soul and heart of the Christian church where our conscience becomes hardened and our soul corrupted.
The Gay community cannot become like those coming against us in the name of God by spitting out religious hate and insults. We have to respond with a different spirit. For if we ever retaliate the same and let anger rise in us, we become no different that those who have used the sword. Let God arise, let God be our justice. Our role is never to win or retaliate in kind, but to create a "green zone" where the GLBT community can be safe to be. We are to march on to war, to a different drum beat from this world, to a drum beat to proclaim God's love, grace and mercy in Christ Jesus, our Saviour to bring back the lost to the Green Zone.