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War on Terrorism: Christians, Heads Up
by J. Grant Swank, Jr., Pastor
2 September 2003

Christian ethics teach that you should lay your life down for one another. That is precisely what we are doing in Iraq.

This is not for a diversified readership. Obviously, from the title, it is an exclusive message; however, anyone of course may read it.

Christians in particular are the focus for this missive. Why? Because it’s based on the Christian ethic.

Jesus Christ is God worshiped by Christians. His counsel as recorded in the Gospels provides spiritual hope and insight for daily living. He gave His disciples numerous words of wisdom by which to mold their thinking, then craft their actions.

For instance, Jesus said His own lay down their lives for others. Jesus laid down His life for all.

Giving up one’s life in love for another is counter to a self-absorbed life. It’s foreign to the worldly mindset. It’s meant to be for Jesus came to reveal eternal verities that cannot be discovered anywhere else. He is God; therefore, He as God speaks of the God mind, not the spiritually fallen world think.

Consequently, when it comes to such endeavors as Iraqi Freedom Operation, the Christian may approach this complex situation with some legitimate questions such as: Was there enough preparation for rebuilding? Did as much prep go into aftermath as went into conflict? Are human frailties evident in the present attempt to construct the New Iraq? And so on and so.

Yet in addition to these reasonable questions, there must come to realization the end result that millions have been liberated because others laid down their lives for that liberation. Iraqis otherwise would still be corralled into Hussein’s hellish caverns — maimed, murdered, and tortured. It’s fact that they’ve been freed from the dungeons.

Of course, there are other nations in the world where such liberties should be enjoyed. Of course, the United States cannot see through the missionary work of freedom-to-every-hamlet. Of course, there will be those Iraqis who still don’t get the big picture, particularly with the daily stress due to one spiritually fallen world factor or another.

But for the Christian, there should be thanks to God that through zigzag of human events there are scores now who breathe fresh air because humans laid down their lives for others. And those same Christians no doubt hold onto the faith that as time passes — given the Holy Spirit’s gift of patience — more New Iraq improvements will be forthcoming.

Naturally the Christian expects obstacles, intrigues, deaths, and onslaughts from the enemy. Why? Because the Christian believes that there is not only Almighty God at work but also Satan and his demons. Devils do not appreciate millions breathing freedom. Demons are not at all pleased that terrorists are put to flight daily. Therefore, as there is the light, so there is the darkness.

Then it is that the Christian particularly can take to heart the September 2 counsel of US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld when he said, "All over the world, people long for what we have, for what you, the men and women in uniform standing before us and their associates, defend: liberty, democracy and a future without fear. That is why we must prevail."

Further, Christians hear and understand especially the September 2 words of US Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to the American Enterprise Institute: "Terrorists have lashed out in Iraq and elsewhere not because we are failing, but because we are succeeding. ... every victory in far-away lands makes us safer here in the land of the free ... That is how important the global war on terrorism is to homeland security."

Through it all, Christians in particular understand the joy of laying down in love one's existence so that another can live, just as Jesus gave His all that we may live.


Joseph Grant Swank, Jr., is the Pastor of New Hope Church in Windham, ME.  He is a a graduate of an accredited college (BA) and seminary (M Div) with graduate work at Harvard Divinity School.  Pastor Swank has been married for 41 years and he has 3 adult children.  He is the author of 5 books and over 2000 articles in various Protestant and Catholic magazines, journals and newspapers. He writes a weekly religion column for PORTLAND PRESS HERALD newspaper, Portland ME.  His columns have appeared on,,,,,,,,, among others.

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