Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Human Rights and Telling the Truth

If you missed Lateline last night, than Tony Jones' interview with Geoffrey Robertson on the current state of human rights is worth reading (you might even be able to watch the interview). Robertson has this to say on the challenges facing President-elect Obama:
"I think Obama and Obama's people - he's got some of his leading people are human rights advocates, in a past life, and undoubtedly want to reclaim the moral high ground that has been so tragically lost by the Bush administration in the last eight years. But - and they do. And they will have to deal with questions like the admissibility of evidence obtained by waterboarding and indeed the problem of inflicting the death penalty. The ludicrous thing about inflicting the death penalty on people who pray for it every day. I mean, there's nothing that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and co. want rather than in their own mind a fast track to paradise by being executed by the Americans. So, this is really - the death penalty is really rather what the Briar Patch was to Brer Rabbit. And hopefully these considerations will be taken on board. But they are some of the problems that the Obama administration with all its goodwill and all its determination to retain or regain the moral leadership of the world will have to grapple."
This is one of the reasons I feel excitement for an incoming Obama administration in Washington. Although I have serious concerns about Obama (voiced best by Byron), for me it is the prospect of having a President who will uphold the rule of law, not support torture and not obliterate centuries worth of development in human rights and international law. It is the hope of abandoning policies that lead to Abu Gharib, Guantanamo Bay and the covert transport of prisioners around the world.

What the church much continue to do all the more urgently in the coming years is to bear witness to the government the Lordship of Jesus. Although speaking about the situation here in Australia, Andrew Errington summarizes this point quite well:
"The second way we help governments be good is different, but crucial: we help our governments stay on the right track by holding fast to the true Gospel and so bearing witness in our society.

The great danger that confronts the church is that it will sell out to government, that it will stop preaching the true Gospel and start preaching a Gospel that fits better with our society, that’s a little less challenging. Because the Gospel never sits very comfortably with those in authority: it is the message that Jesus Christ is Lord and no one else, that the Kingdom of God matters more than any other kingdom, and that no earthly society is ultimate. This is always going to be a confronting message, especially for those in authority. Yet it is a message that desperately needs to be heard; because the alternative is something truly terrible: the demonic social order we see in Revelation 13. A government that fails to realise that there is a higher authority will end up becoming an idol. In Australia, I think we run little risk of making individual politicians into idols (thankfully). But I do think we run a risk of making “Australia” into a kind of idol. Just think about the rioting that happened at Cronulla a couple of years ago, with people waving flags and talking about defending our country and the Australian way of life, and most awfully, “Christian values”. This was, I believe, an example of a kind of nationalism which is actually idolatry. When we start treating people badly in the name of “Australia” (or any other community), we know we’ve got a big problem. The church must help our society and our governments stay on the right track by holding fast to the true Gospel, by keeping on preaching that Jesus alone is King, that our citizenship is in heaven, and that therefore “Australia” can never be the Kingdom of God." - Andrew Erringon, Jesus and Government.


Mike Bull said...

Andrew is spot on regarding nationalism and the deification of the state (has anyone seen that picture of Jesus on a cross draped in an American flag?!) And of the church's role in speaking truth to power.

Without justifying Bush's witchhunt methods, (although dealing with terrorists is like trying to nail jelly to the wall) the U.S. hasn't had a terrorist attack since 9/11. His government truly has had an impact.

It was Democrat do-nothing policies that led to 9-11
(especially the last paragraph)

Turning soft is not the answer. Removing a government's right to sentence murderers to death is just the same as removing a parent's right to smack their kid. There will always be abuses, but this is not the way to deal with it. The perps at Abu Ghraib should be publicly flogged too. Heck, they do that in Singapore for vandalism - and they don't have a vandalism problem, do they?

And as for Obama's government trying to regain moral leadership, given his shifty record, how truthful will he be about his methods? Truth is even less important to the godless left than it is to the godless right. It seems Obama promised an end to the war in Iraq to gain votes, only to move troops into Iran (and elsewhere). I think the honeymoon's gonna be very short.

Moffitt the Prophet said...

The U.S. hasn't had a terrorist attack since 9/11.

Wh would they when you can roll out of bed in the morning and start sniping at US troops in Iraq or Afghanastan.

They've also spread the number of targets, which have ended up with attackes in the UK and Spain.

However, I'm not trying to support Democrate policy from the mid 90's, because I'm not a Democrate.