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For at least 50 years, the United Methodist Church, America’s third largest denomination, has been unable to effectively apply traditional Christian teachings to issues of war and peace. The resolution called “Seeking Peace in Afghanistan,” originating with the New York-based United Methodist Women’s Division, and approved by the recent governing General Conference of the 12 million member global denomination, continues this sad tradition.
Ostensibly the resolution puts the church on record for peace in war torn Afghanistan. But actually it demonizes the United States, itself a 50 year tradition in United Methodism, while ignoring the evils of the Taliban and al Qaeda. And it materialistically assumes that peace can be purchased with ever more U.S. dollars. It never cites radical Islam, a chief cause for strife in Afghanistan, perhaps because liberal United Methodist elites cannot conceive of anyone taking traditional religion any more seriously than they do.
The resolution calls the U.S. presence in Afghanistan the “latest in a long history of foreigners trying to impose by military might their own agenda in Afghanistan.” So presumably the American led 2001-2002 overthrow of the Taliban Islamist dictatorship in response to 9-11 is morally on par with the murderous Soviet invasion of 1979, which created 30 years of war and strife. Oddly, but predictably, the resolution never mentions 9-11 or the Taliban, which might distract from its targeting the U.S. It also never mentions that the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan is scheduled to end in 2014.
Afghanistan is ever degenerating, thanks to the U.S. presence, the resolution claims. And it asserts that U.S. resources spent on war distract from “health care, education, and community development,” without acknowledging tens of billions already spent by the U.S. on these goods, or admitting that almost no spending or progress on health care, education, and community development would be possible under the Taliban. The resolution also condemns U.S./NATO unmanned drone attacks on insurgent/terrorist targets, likening them to “extrajudicial killings.”
Self-importantly, the resolution chides the U.S. for spending on “weapons and soldiers” (again without citing billions spent on civilian aid) while boasting, “By contrast, for more than 45 years United Methodists and other humanitarian organizations, in partnership with local Afghans, have supported health care and community development work in Afghanistan.” Of course, such church programs are impossible without some level of security.
Embarrassingly, the resolution recalls that in the immediate wake of 9-11, the United Methodist Women’s Division urged “diplomatic means to bring the perpetrators of terrorist acts to justice and to end the bombing of Afghanistan.” Even more laughably, it recalls the ostensibly prophetic words of California Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee who, after 9-11, was the “lone voice at that time in the U.S. government to question military action against Afghanistan.”
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