'Come Let Us Reason' with Iran
On May 20, The Jerusalem Post reported that "a senior member in the entourage of President Bush" said during closed meetings that Bush and Cheney "were of the opinion that military action against Iran was called for." The White House denied the story, which claims that the reservations of Secretaries Rice and Gates are the remaining levies holding back the floodwaters of war. Tensions mount as Senators McCain and Obama spar over appropriate engagement with Iran.
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The elephant in the room, of course, is what Mohamed El-Baradei, head of the IAEA, calls "the unworkable notion that it is morally reprehensible for some countries to pursue nuclear weapons but morally acceptable for others to rely on them." Even if most Americans agree that
Christians, however, are called to be faithful, not merely pragmatic. We must ask the hard question: What does our faith say about violence against our enemies? The prophetic book of Isaiah opens with a troubling word from God to the nation of
Just when it seems that God will not tolerate one more prayer from blood-covered hands, God beckons: "Come, let us reason together." Come, let us reason together. God wields power to open dialogue, rather than end it. In the United Church of Christ, we often say that "God is still speaking." And so long as God is willing to reason with us, though our sins are blood-red, then it behooves us to reason with one another.
Our scriptures do not deliver utopian heroes, families, communities, or political and religious authorities. They acknowledge the insidious nature of sin, because God's grace is most profound when it meets our broken places. Jesus' instruction to love our enemies is not simply for prosperous and peaceful times. Isaiah proclaims that precisely in the times when our "lands are desolate," God calls us to reason together. In In the Company of Strangers, theologian Parker Palmer contends that, "to let God mediate our relationships means that … one listens not with a sense of personal power … but with a sense of God's presence which alone can heal … When we allow God to be the third person in all our meetings, fear is replaced by hope."
It is our complicated task as Christians to discern what this word from God might mean in our present context when we hear of wars and rumors of war. As Christians whose faith informs our participation in public life, we are translators of biblical truth into ethical principles that can be applied to matters of public policy. God beckons us to come and "reason together." What will we choose?
Rev. Amanda Hendler-Voss is the faith communities coordinator at Women's Action for New Directions (WAND), minister of Christian education at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Asheville, North Carolina, and recent author of In Times of Great Decisions: How Congregations Can Take Part in Legal, Non-Partisan Election Activities.